ABOUT BEN HOGAN
“If there’s anything more remarkable than Ben Hogan’s record, it’s Ben himself.” – Reverend Granville Walker, 1953
Ben Hogan’s storied golf record is the stuff of legend. But while fellow golf giants like Sam Snead, Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer can similarly claim record wins and stellar performances, Ben Hogan set himself apart with a lived example of incredible perseverance, dedication and integrity both on and off of the golf course.
BEN HOGAN – Son, Brother, Husband.
On August 13th, 1912 Chester and Clara Hogan welcomed their youngest child, William Ben Hogan, into the world. Their small family lived in Dublin, Texas and included Ben’s older sister Princess and older brother Royal. Tragically, adversity entered the Hogan children’s lives early when they lost their father to suicide in 1922 – a tragedy that necessitated a move to Fort Worth and which meant the young Hogan boys would need to find work to help support the family. Ben sold newspapers for a bit but then heard that caddies were making .65 cents a game at Glen Garden Country Club just seven miles from the Hogan home. It was then, at the age of 11, that Ben took a job that would change the trajectory of his life–becoming a caddy and beginning what would become a world famous love affair with the game of golf.
In 1932 the most important love of all entered Ben’s life. While working as a club pro in Cleburne, Texas, he reacquainted with Valerie Hogan, a 21 year-old woman that he’d originally met in Sunday school when the two were both children. In 1935 he married the young woman he would eventually call “the real PGA and Open Champion” and thus began, Team Hogan.
MR. HOGAN – Golfer, Survivor, Legend.
After serving in the Army during World War II, Hogan won his first major, taking the PGA title in 1946. Two years later, he won yet another PGA and his first U.S. Open. From the time of his discharge from the Army in August 1945 until 1949, Ben Hogan won an amazing 37 tournaments and was the leading money-winner for the year, twice.
It was in 1949 that a seminal moment arrived in Hogan’s life while traveling with Valerie on a country road in West Texas, courtesy of some very dense fog and an impatient Greyhound busdriver. Returning home to Fort Worth from Phoenix, where Hogan had lost a playoff to fellow Texan Jimmy Demaret, a bus pulled out to pass a truck and met the Hogans’ newly purchased Cadillac head-on. The impact drove the steering wheel into the back seat. Fortuitously, Ben had protectively thrown himself in front of Valerie and out of the way of the steering wheel’s trajectory, saving himself from certain death. While Valerie received only minor injuries, Hogan suffered a broken collarbone, a smashed rib, a double fracture of the pelvis and a broken ankle. Initially doctors weren’t sure that Hogan would survive. If he did, they doubted he’d ever walk again let alone return to top-tier professional golf. In the face of such devastating injuries, a professional career seemed utterly impossible for 1948’s “Golfer of the Year”.
Impossible to everyone but the relentlessly driven Ben Hogan, of course. By May he was able to walk 3 holes on a course. By September he fulfilled his duties as Ryder Cup captain in England where the Americans rallied in singles for a 7 – 5 victory. In December of that same year, Hogan played his first 18 holes at Colonial Country Club with head pro Raymond Gafford.
It was in January of 1950 that the public began to glimpse the legendary story that was about to unfold. Marshaling his famously steely-eyed determination, Ben returned to competitive golf at the Los Angeles Open at Riviera Country Club and just 5 months later – 16 months after the accident – Hogan held off Lloyd Mangrum and George Fazio in a three-way 18-hole playoff to win the U.S. Open. An achievement in golf history known throughout the sport of golf as “The Miracle at Merion”. The legend was born, but not yet complete. In spite of pain, lifelong circulation problems, and other physical limitations, Hogan went on to claim 5 more majors during the remainder of his impressive career.
A LEGACY OF COURAGE. A FOUNDATION OF HOPE.
The Foundation was established in 2006 to ensure that in Ben Hogan’s absence, the characteristics that he personified throughout his life; resilience, courage, determination and perseverance – are recognized, rewarded and encouraged in the young people and veterans of today. We accomplish this work through tournaments, scholarships and programs and with the incredible support of our ongoing partners and sponsors. We also could not continue the work we do without our loyal members who provide the regular funding that a non-profit needs to maintain daily operations.
If you’ve been personally impacted or inspired by Ben Hogan’s lived example and career, consider helping us see to it that his legacy continues to impact future generations by becoming a Ben Hogan Foundation Member! Or, if your company or organization’s mission statement aligns with our work, reach out to us about becoming a partner or sponsoring our events and scholarships.