Ben Hogan

Ben-Hogan

Born: August 13th, 1912 in Stephenville, Texas
Died: July 25th, 1997 (at age 84) in Fort Worth, Texas
Nationality: American
Famous For: Being the winner of all four major championships
Awards: Vardon Trophy, Hickok Belt, World Golf Hall of Fame, Bob Jones Award

William Ben Hogan was one of America’s greatest professional golfers. He is noteworthy because of his important influence on the theory of the golf swing, as well as his renowned ball-striking ability. He won nine major championships during his career. He is one of just five golfers to win the PGA, British Open, U.S. Open and Masters.

In 1953, Hogan won three majors and missed playing in the PGA tournament because the dates interfered with his play at the British Open. The U.S. Open was one of his best events and he won the tournament four times: 1953, 1951, 1950, and 1948. For twenty years starting in 1940, he finished in the top ten at the U.S. Open.

Early Life

Hogan was born in Dublin, Texas, on August 13th, 1912. His father worked as a blacksmith and committed suicide when Hogan was nine years old. His family then moved to Fort Worth, and he started earning money to support the family as a caddy. He worked at the Glen Garden golf course with another young caddy, Byron Nelson, who later became a successful professional golfer.

He dropped out of high school during his senior year to become a professional golfer and played at San Antonio’s Texas Open in late January of 1930. In April of 1935, Hogan married Valerie Fox when he was a club pro in Cleburne, Texas.

Career

In 1932, Hogan became a member of the professional circuit. He was not very successful, despite being a long hitter because he had problems with hooking the ball. Hogan went broke twice during his early career, and was struggling with finance problems right before the 1938 Oakland Open. Actually, he had given serious thought to giving up at this point. Instead, Hogan finished second in the tournament and won $380 which prevented him from quitting.

Hogan did not become really great until he discovered a feature of his swing that let him play golf with a power fade. Over the next several years, he almost won several major championships. He won his very first major in 1946 at the PGA. Three weeks later he won the U.S. Open. At this time, he said he was at his best.

Serious Car Accident

On February 2nd, 1949, a bus crossed the center divider and then crashed into Hogan’s car. His wife had been with him and he almost died from this accident. He suffered a double fracture of his pelvis, left ankle fracture, fractured collar bone, a chipped rib as well as blood clots that nearly killed him. He spent two months in the hospital recovering from his injuries and doctors thought he would never walk again. Hogan suffered with physical limitations such as permanent leg injuries and circulation problems the rest of his life.

Legacy and Death

In November of 1949, Hogan resumed golf activities. Hogan won the U.S. Open in 1950, in a playoff with Lloyd Mangrum and George Fazio. Although he only played a couple of tournaments a year after that, his best golf days were still ahead. Hogan won his first Masters in 1951, and another U.S. Open. He had his best year in 1953, when he won his first British Open, fourth U.S. Open and his second Masters. Hogan played his final official golf event in 1971. On July 25, 1997, Ben Hogan passed away in Fort Worth, Texas.