The professional career of Fort Worth's Ben Hogan is legendary. He is one of only five men to win all four major tournaments at least once. In 1953, he accomplished the seemingly impossible, winning the Masters, the U.S. Open, and The Open Championship in Great Britain in the same year. He also set course and tournament records in each one, and he accomplished all this while also working to start his own golf equipment company before the year’s end.
Overall, in a career interrupted by a horrible auto accident, Ben Hogan won 64 PGA Tour events, including nine of the 15 majors he played in between 1946 and 1953. Here's a brief chronology of the major events in the life of one of the most captivating figures in all of sports.
On August 13, 1912, Ben Hogan was born to Chester and Clara Hogan of Dublin, Texas.
In 1920, the Hogan family moved to Fort Worth, where Mr. Hogan ultimately became a fixture, and will forever be revered.
In 1924, at the age of 11, Ben Hogan takes a job as a caddy at Glen Garden Country Club.
In 1932, Mr. Hogan decided to give professional golf a try, and as with most, it did not go as well as he had hoped.
In 1935, Mr. Hogan marries Valerie Fox of Fort Worth, TX.
In 1940, after years of struggling to find his way on the professional tour, Mr. Hogan finally breaks through with his first professional win at the 1940 North-South Open at Pinehurst.
1946 was a year of firsts. Mr. Hogan won the inaugural Colonial Championship. He would go on to win five during his career. He also won his first major championship with his win at the PGA Championship in Portland.
1948 was the first year that Mr. Hogan won two major championships in the same year. He won his first US Open at Riviera in L.A., and won the PGA Championship in St. Louis, MO.
In 1949, Mr. Hogan and his wife were in a head on accident with a bus near El Paso, TX. Just before the vehicles collided, he threw himself over the lap of Valerie to protect her, and doing so, ultimately saved his life. He was critically injured in the accident, and was unable to play golf the entire 1949 season.
In 1950, Ben Hogan returned to competitive golf at the L.A. Open at Riviera following the accident. Later that year, he went on to win the US Open at Merion where he hit the iconic 1-iron shot that has been immortalized.
In 1951, Mr. Hogan won his first Masters Tournament. He also repeated as US Open Champion. Later that year, the movie Follow The Sun starring Glenn Ford as Mr. Hogan, detailing Mr. Hogan's comeback after his car wreck.
1953 was a big year, a great year, for Mr. Hogan. He won all three major championships he entered into. He won the Masters Tournament by 5-shots, he won the US Open by 6-shots, and the Open Championship by four. Mr. Hogan did not play in the PGA Championship, because it was held at the same time as the Open Championship. Winning these three majors in the same calendar year had never been done before, and has never been done since. In addition to all of his on-course success, in 1953, Mr. Hogan also founded the Ben Hogan Company.
In 1955, Mr. Hogan finished second in both the Masters Tournament and the US Open. In the US Open, he ultimately lost in a playoff to Jack Fleck. The 1955 US Open will go down as one of the biggest upsets in US Open history, as Fleck was a virtual unknown. Fleck ended up beating Mr. Hogan to keep him from winning a record 5th US Open title, and did so using a custom made set of Ben Hogan irons.
In 1959, Mr. Hogan won his 5th and final Colonial Championship. No other golfer to this day has won more than two Colonial Championships.
In 1967, Mr. Hogan played in his last Masters Tournament, and also Captained the US Ryder Cup team. Team USA beat Team Great Britain by a score of 23.5 to 8.5.
Mr. Hogan played his last professional tournament in Houston, TX. Over his career, he won 64 PGA Tour Events, 9 major championships, and is only one of five golfers to complete the career grand slam.
Mr. Hogan was inducted into the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce Hall of Fame.
Mr. Hogan led an extraordinary life on and off of the golf course. His contributions to the game will never be forgotten.