Ben Hogan

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Ben Hogan

Post by robopz on Tue 23 May 2017, 4:57 pm

With Colonial on Tap this week... seems a good time to do a little recap on Ben Hogan's career.

Ben Hogan Career Synopsis

Most avid golf fans are well aware of Ben Hogan's 64 wins including 9 majors and his incredible 1953 "Hogan Slam" season. But here's a little more "breakdown" on his career accomplishments.

Playing in the 30's through 50's, Hogan's career has some of the same "issues" that Nelson's and Snead's records of the same era has. But IMO overall Hogan's record is generally "cleaner" than the other two.

OFFICIAL WINS
Hogan is officially listed as #4 on the PGA Tour's all time winners list with 64 wins.. And 60 of those wins were considered official at the time he won them. That's a pretty high % in comparison to Sam Snead, where only 65 of his 82 official wins were "official" at the time he won them. The unoffical wins that were later added to Hogan's total were the 1947 World Championship of Golf, 1948 Inverness Round Robin Four-Ball, 1949 Crosby, and the 1953 Open Championship

TEAM WINS
Hogan's record includes 8 Team wins, one more than Sam Snead (5) and Byron Nelson (2) combined. 4 of those team wins were in the Inverness Four-Ball (8 two-man teams), 3 in the Miami International/Biltmore Four-Ball (16 two-man teams), and one in the Hershey Four-Ball (8 two-man teams).

ROUND ROBINS & SHORT FIELDS
Hogan also had two wins (1940, 1946) in the short field Goodall Palm Beach Round Robin. These were premium fields of the Tour's top players but only 15 were invited in each of the two years Hogan won.

An interesting note, starting in 1948, several of the short field events like the Goodall RR, along with the Inverness and Miami Four-Balls were deemed to no longer be "official" events. The reason was the "rank and file" were protesting these high dollar premium events with fields of only 8-16 individual or teams skewing the money list in favor of the top players. By that time the money list was big season honor to be won, award money would likely be a key measure for the new Player of the Year award that was going to start being awarded in 1948. Since they were no longer official... three of those events (Goodall RR, Inverness FB, and Miami FB) folded pretty quickly and and were off the schedule by 1951. At some point later on (but no later than 1986) all those events were given official status again.

WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP OF GOLF
Similar to the other short filed events mentioned above, Hogan's 1947 World Championship of golf was an 8-man two round tournament that was unofficial at the time Hogan won it, but was later deemed to be an official event (even though the money doesn't count in his season or career totals). By 1951 when Hogan won the event again, it had been expanded to fuller field of 72 players and 4-rounds which contained most if not all of the "who's who" in professional golf of the time.

GREENBRIER
The Greenbrier Pro Am, Invitational or Sam Snead Festival were unofficial events put on by the Greenbrier and Sam Snead. They were unofficial then and remain unofficial today. The event was played 10 times between 1949 and 1961. 5 times Snead the winner and one time Hogan. The event was unofficial because it did not have Tour approval and played on the same date opposite of another "regular Tour" event (pissing match over that one is a story in itself). Most of the Greenbrier's had good fields with lots of big names, but upon close examination, in all but maybe 2 years, the Tour's opposite event usually had better money and a better field (using History of the PGA Tour book's annual player rankings as a guide). Hogan's 1950 win was one of those where Greenbrier probably had the better field.

My thoughts are these Greenbrier's were at least good enough fields that all of them probably should be counted as official wins for these players (so that would increase Snead's total by 5 wins as well). I understand the politics of why they aren't official today, but if about a dozen very short field events like the World Championships, Round Robins and 4-balls, were unofficial when played but later made official, then IMO it's hard to justify not giving the same status to the Greenbrier's. So if it were my magic wand, I would add one win to Hogan's total.

CUT STREAK
Hogan is not listed on the PGA Tour's list of 6 longest cut streaks (142 Woods, 113 Nelson, 105 Nicklaus, 86 Irwin, 72 Finsterwald, 53 Kite). But it's "likely" Hogan should be on that list, maybe even listed 1st.

Sports Illustrated did an article in 2003 suggesting Hogan might have had a made cut streak of 177 (35 more than Woods 142). The issue is many of the old PGA Tour records show only who cashed, but not necessarily those who made cut but did not cash, or those that did not make the cut. So it is difficult to pin down exactly what the old cut streaks are. One Hogan WD after the 1st round in 1948 has been found since that SI article which would lower Hogan's cut streak to 155 (still 13 more than Woods), but it would take a tournament by tournament search from 1939 to verify Hogan might not have missed a cut somewhere else. And no Hogan biography that I have ever seen claims any kind of cut streak record.

WAR TIME WINS
One of the issues many discuss with Nelson's 1945 record setting season was the number of Nelson's wins in 1944 and 1945 "war years". And I believe that to be a very legitimate discussion as it is true and verifyable that close to half of Nelson's career 52 wins were against significantly "war reduced" fields. That would include all of Nelson's 11 consecutive streak, and about 13-14 of his 1945 record of 18 wins. Later in 1945 players were returning from the war in droves, so the fields were getting much better by late 1945, but still not at full strength.

But Hogan's win record doesn't have near the "issues" of Nelson's. Contrary to popular belief, most the PGA Tour players who went into WWII did not do so immediately in 1942. They were taken in stages through 1942 and into early 1943. Through about June 1942 (and the Hale America), the PGA Tour was still playing with somewhere around a 75% compliment of it's best players. 5 of Hogan's 6 wins that season were before or through the Hale America. But after the Hale America and by the Tam O'Shanter a month later, the bigger names were disappearing in droves. And Hogan's last 1942 win was in August was against a more diminished field. So that last win would probably be classified "significantly war affected". When Hogan returned for his 5 late wins in 1945, more of the players had returned from war, but still not a full compliment... maybe 50-60% at most. But 2 of Hogan's 5 late wins that season included both Nelson and Snead, and 2 more included one or the other. (Contrast that to Nelson's 8 1944 wins and about 12-14 of his 1945 wins being played against​ perhaps 30-35% of the Tours best players)

1953 SEASON
Hogan's 1953 season is considered by many to be the best season ever played by a golfer, pro or amateur. Hogan only entered 5 events that year that are considered official today and he won all 5 of them. 3 of those are considered majors today, Masters, U.S & British Opens. There is a date conflict with the PGA and the British so Hogan could not have played all 4, but Hogan wouldn't have played the grueling Match Play PGA anyway even without the conflict. Hogan did play two more events that year, the unofficial Palmetto Pro-Am where he finished T8 and the unofficial Greenbrier where he finished T3... but they don't count in his "official record" as tournaments played.

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Re: Ben Hogan

Post by Shotrock on Tue 23 May 2017, 6:08 pm

This is an excellent read. Thanks for the effort. And didn't Hogan at one time own the course record at Cypress Point? 63 I think. Achieved in the famed "Match" where he and Byron Nelson took on Ken Venturi and Harvie Ward the week of the Bing Crosby Clambake.

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Re: Ben Hogan

Post by puligny on Tue 23 May 2017, 6:32 pm

Thanks for this - excellent piece. It's easy to overlook or at least not take sufficient note of great players from past years. I recall reading something similar about Byron Nelson and being blown away.
Delighted to say Hogans book on the golf swing, and the authorised biography are on a book shelf behind me right now.

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Re: Ben Hogan

Post by Be_the_ball on Tue 23 May 2017, 8:29 pm

clap clap clap

Cheers Robo great write up. Hogan did so much for the game of golf from work ethic to understanding the swing, his legacy lives on thats for sure. Tigers most successful years were with Haney where he modelled aspects of his swing on Hogans, and why wouldn't he Hogan was one of perhaps only two golfers (the other being Moe Norman) to truely "own" their own swing. Hogan was not as naturally talented as Nelson when they met at Glen Garden but he famously dug a world beating swing out of the dirt and achieved legendary status in the game. Bob Torrence was also famously an advocate of Hogan and his teachings.

Couple of great books on him, which have already been mentioned -
Ben Hogan, An American life: James Dodson.
The Match: Mark Snow.
Five Lessons: Herbert warren wind.

The famous match he played v's Snead at Houston CC for Shells wonderful world of golf where he didn't miss a fairway or green, superb display of ball striking. Genius golfer.

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Re: Ben Hogan

Post by robopz on Tue 23 May 2017, 8:42 pm

Shotrock wrote:This is an excellent read. Thanks for the effort. And didn't Hogan at one time own the course record at Cypress Point? 63 I think. Achieved in the famed "Match" where he and Byron Nelson took on Ken Venturi and Harvie Ward the week of the Bing Crosby Clambake.
IIRC... Hogan's 63 was the record at CP and held up for quite some time

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Re: Ben Hogan

Post by robopz on Tue 23 May 2017, 8:47 pm

puligny wrote:Thanks for this - excellent piece. It's easy to overlook or at least not take sufficient note of great players from past years. I recall reading something similar about Byron Nelson and being blown away.
Delighted to say Hogans book on the golf swing, and the authorised biography are on a book shelf behind me right now.
Incalculable how the likes of Nelson, Snead and Hogan were impacted by the war. Probably cost Snead some wins, Hogan a lot of wins, but maybe not so much for Nelson, in fact Snead and Hogan's absence may have inflated Nelson's totals a bit.

Probably the next most "war affected" American great was Hagen who lost lots of playing opportunity during WW1.

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Re: Ben Hogan

Post by JAS on Tue 23 May 2017, 9:47 pm

Excellent piece Robo, love reading the stories and anecdotes about Hogan, incredible how he managed to come back after the car crash.
Who else has a 100% record in the Open Championship? and has a hole named after them?
I love the story about him playing his approach on the 9th at Carnoustie and a train sounds it's horn right at the top of his backswing and he still stiffs the shot. Somebody says to him, "Mr Hogan didn't the train put you off?" "What train?" Was the curt reply.

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Re: Ben Hogan

Post by Be_the_ball on Tue 23 May 2017, 10:00 pm

JAS wrote:Excellent piece Robo, love reading the stories and anecdotes about Hogan, incredible how he managed to come back after the car crash.
Who else has a 100%  record in the Open Championship? and has a hole named after them?
I love the story about him playing his approach on the 9th at Carnoustie and a train sounds it's horn right at the top of his backswing and he still stiffs the shot. Somebody says to him, "Mr Hogan didn't the train put you off?" "What train?" Was the curt reply.
Laugh  Laugh  Laugh

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Re: Ben Hogan

Post by puligny on Tue 23 May 2017, 10:11 pm

Favourite Hogan tale - though don't know if it's totally true. Playing in Masters with Claude Harmon, who holes in one at 12. Crowd excited, but Hogan says nothing. Puts his own tee shot on the green, and during walk from the tee still says nothing. Hogan drains his putt, and on leaving the green says to Harmon "I've never had a 2 there before!"
Even if not accurate, it's a good story!

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Re: Ben Hogan

Post by super_realist on Tue 23 May 2017, 10:12 pm

Did he not say once before that he never played two rounds in a day because he didn't want to play out of his own divots?

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Re: Ben Hogan

Post by puligny on Tue 23 May 2017, 10:36 pm

I suspect back in the day some of his majors might have been 36 in a day? Surely he could miss a divot!

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Re: Ben Hogan

Post by SmithersJones on Tue 23 May 2017, 11:02 pm

JAS wrote:Excellent piece Robo, love reading the stories and anecdotes about Hogan, incredible how he managed to come back after the car crash.
Who else has a 100%  record in the Open Championship? and has a hole named after them?
I love the story about him playing his approach on the 9th at Carnoustie and a train sounds it's horn right at the top of his backswing and he still stiffs the shot. Somebody says to him, "Mr Hogan didn't the train put you off?" "What train?" Was the curt reply.

That story's a bit like the old 'harder I practice the luckier I get' - attributed to loads of different players. I first heard it about Joyce Wethered at Sheringham Golf Club, where the railway runs alongside the 17th

When Wethered entered the English Women's Championship at Sheringham, in Norfolk, in 1920, the outstanding favourite was the holder, "Cecil" Leitch. "People either adored Leitch or they didn't," Wethered told Golf Monthly. "She was the big noise in women's golf when I came on the scene and what made her stand out was the fact that she had so dominant a personality. Perhaps because I had an ability to disappear in a cocoon of concentration, I was never mesmerised by Cecil to the same extent as others."

At one point in their match, Wethered was six down in the final and responded with a succession of threes before winning on the 17th. The penultimate hole runs alongside a railway line and as she stood over the putt for the match, a train rattled past. Asked if it had disturbed her, Wethered replied: "What train?"

From her obituary in the Independent
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Re: Ben Hogan

Post by Roller_Coaster on Wed 24 May 2017, 9:12 am

Nice read, thanks.

golfwrx has/gad a writer/contributor that worked for Hogan at the club manufacturing business and (relatively) recently he penned a series of anecdotal pieces about his time there and the man himself.

They were pretty interesting, being away from his playing career.

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Re: Ben Hogan

Post by Roller_Coaster on Wed 24 May 2017, 9:15 am

Cue a bit of nosing...

Tom Stites is the contributor

First of the articles I referred to in prior post


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Re: Ben Hogan

Post by raycastleunited on Wed 24 May 2017, 10:10 am

puligny wrote:Favourite Hogan tale - though don't know if it's totally true. Playing in Masters with Claude Harmon, who holes in one at 12. Crowd excited, but Hogan says nothing. Puts his own tee shot on the green, and during walk from the tee still says nothing. Hogan drains his putt, and on leaving the green says to Harmon "I've never had a 2 there before!"
Even if not accurate, it's a good story!

He sounds like a tw@t. Good golfer though.

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Re: Ben Hogan

Post by MontysMerkin on Wed 24 May 2017, 10:26 am

Probably changed his shoes in the car park with the other popular guys....
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Re: Ben Hogan

Post by beninho on Wed 24 May 2017, 10:29 am

I'm no real golf historian. But I assume the really big names from years ago, must have been some players. I would assume the courses were pretty poor, in comparison to today anyway. Obviously the clubs were vastly different. Surely the game has got easier over time, so when was the "hardest" period?

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Re: Ben Hogan

Post by Roller_Coaster on Wed 24 May 2017, 11:42 am

raycastleunited wrote:
puligny wrote:Favourite Hogan tale - though don't know if it's totally true. Playing in Masters with Claude Harmon, who holes in one at 12. Crowd excited, but Hogan says nothing. Puts his own tee shot on the green, and during walk from the tee still says nothing. Hogan drains his putt, and on leaving the green says to Harmon "I've never had a 2 there before!"
Even if not accurate, it's a good story!

He sounds like a tw@t. Good golfer though.

clap

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Re: Ben Hogan

Post by McLaren on Wed 24 May 2017, 12:13 pm

Thanks Robo, that was a very interesting read on some of Hogan's achievements.
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Re: Ben Hogan

Post by wiretapper on Wed 24 May 2017, 1:56 pm

Excellent article robo, best lunchtime read in a long time

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Re: Ben Hogan

Post by robopz on Wed 24 May 2017, 4:13 pm

beninho wrote:I'm no real golf historian. But I assume the really big names from years ago, must have been some players. I would assume the courses were pretty poor, in comparison to today anyway. Obviously the clubs were vastly different. Surely the game has got easier over time, so when was the "hardest" period?

I guess it all depends on how you define hardest.

When we talk about players within any era, the types if equipment they played with or the types/conditions of courses is relative in one sense because they were all playing the same equipment. But IMO back in the old days it was actually easier for the best players to differentiate themselves from the "rank and file". The inferior ball strikers were penalized far greater with mis-hits, thus the better players benefitted more by having less of them.

But today, the equipment has had such an equalizing effect, the superior ball strikers don't get near the ratio of benefit. Then add in the dramatic increase in the world's talent pool throughout the eras and more bunching of the top world players in common events... I'd have to say the hardest period is TODAY.  It's simply a case of today's players facing more players in any given field that can beat them than ever before.

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Re: Ben Hogan

Post by raycastleunited on Wed 24 May 2017, 6:24 pm

robopz wrote:
But today, the equipment has had such an equalizing effect, the superior ball strikers don't get near the ratio of benefit. Then add in the dramatic increase in the world's talent pool throughout the eras and more bunching of the top world players in common events... I'd have to say the hardest period is TODAY.  It's simply a case of today's players facing more players in any given field that can beat them than ever before.

Very well articulated. Totally agree with this.

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Re: Ben Hogan

Post by beninho on Thu 25 May 2017, 9:42 am

Good points Robo, so its harder to win nowadays but was harder to play in previous eras, and therefore the better players would win more often.

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Re: Ben Hogan

Post by navyblueshorts on Fri 26 May 2017, 11:56 am

Thanks for the read Robo. Excellent.

He was clearly some ball striker, but sounds a bit grim in some ways. Probably the times. "Five Lessons" is something pretty much all golfers should read.

Only downside is people still call him Mr. Hogan, even the millions who never met him.
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Re: Ben Hogan

Post by Diggers on Sat 27 May 2017, 11:57 am

Obviously a great golfer, on terms of who's the greatest you can only beat who you played and he was obviously great at doing that.
The anecdotes are amusing but don't exactly endear him to me though generally I do like a bit of arrogance in a sportsman.

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Re: Ben Hogan

Post by Be_the_ball on Sat 27 May 2017, 12:52 pm

I would normally roll my eyes and think aw ffs at some of the gushing that goes on for sports people, but I think for all his achievements and what he's done for the game I think he deserves that little extra respect. Calling him Mr Hogan is just a tip of the cap to one of golf's greats.

He gets a bad rep because of his on course demeanour, but to him that was his work place, he didn't have time for messing around. He was actually very generous in life off the course. A bloke I know wrote to him requesting he sign a picture as a present for Dermot Gilleese (Irish golf journalist) for his 50th birthday. He received the picture back signed and included a note....

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Re: Ben Hogan

Post by navyblueshorts on Sun 28 May 2017, 1:45 pm

Be_the_ball wrote:I would normally roll my eyes and think aw ffs at some of the gushing that goes on for sports people, but I think for all his achievements and what he's done for the game I think he deserves that little extra respect. Calling him Mr Hogan is just a tip of the cap to one of golf's greats.

He gets a bad rep because of his on course demeanour, but to him that was his work place, he didn't have time for messing around. He was actually very generous in life off the course. A bloke I know wrote to him requesting he sign a picture as a present for Dermot Gilleese (Irish golf journalist) for his 50th birthday. He received the picture back signed and included a note....
Fair enough I guess. Better make it Mr. Nicklaus, Mr. Hagen, Mr. Sarazen, Mr. Watson, Mr. Player, Mr. Snead, Mr. Woods, Mr. Jones, Mr. Ballesteros, Mr. Norman, Mr. Varden, Mr. Cotton etc etc then as well...
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