MAY 28, 2012
There’s as much mystery as mystique
about Ben Hogan, which is why 41 years
after his playing career was over, golfers
of all stripes are inexorably drawn to his
story and his swing. And that’s despite the
fact that probably no one on today’s PGA
Tour ever saw Hogan play, other than the
odd You Tube video.
Hogan would have been 100 this year
and there’s no place more associated with
Hogan than Colonial Country Club in Fort
Worth, Tex., where he grew up. Hogan
won the Colonial National Invitational five
times and the place is called Hogan’s Alley
for legitimate reason.
In a few weeks, the U.S. Open returns
to The Olympic Club, the stage where the
great Hogan was upset in a playoff in 1955
by unknown teaching pro Jack Fleck. After
Hogan’s final round, he handed his ball to
USGA Executive Director Joe Dey and said,
“This is for Golf House,” thinking that he
had won a record fifth Open. Fleck would
come in later to tie Hogan and win the
We are fascinated with Hogan because
he represents as close to perfection as
anyone has ever achieved in this game.
We all know perfection is the ideal and
untouchable and we look at Hogan much
the same way.
Mainly it’s because he led us to believe
that he had a secret to unlock the myster-
ies of the golf swing for all of us. It is golf’s
search for the Holy Grail. In truth, he must
have wanted us to think the secret existed
and all it accomplished was to keep him
in the conversation, long after he had
stopped making headlines.
1949 was to hit a low fade.
And after many thousands of golf balls
on the range, he succeeded. And six major
championships later, he was and contin-
ues to be thought of as the greatest
ball-striker of all time and the subject of
So deep is the fervor among the devo-
tees, a tattoo parlor in Seattle will do for
you an image of Hy Peskin’s famous photo
(above) of Hogan hitting a 1-iron to the
18th green at Merion in 1950.
Get that tattoo and Hogan won’t be the
only one who has a secret. l
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