A MAN OF COURAGE AND CONVICTION
The son of a blacksmith, William Ben Hogan was born Aug. 13, 1912, in Dublin, Texas. After moving to Fort Worth, Hogan began caddying and playing golf at the tender age of 12. It was then when he switched from his natural left-handed stance to hitting right-handed.
Despite having an uncontrollable hook, Hogan turned pro when he was 17 and joined the tour at age 19. But even the greatest golfers have setbacks, and it was no different for Hogan. Joining the tour just didn’t work for him. Neither did another attempt two years later. Hogan returned to the tour in 1937, but it was a few years before he started cashing checks regularly. Soon, the checks got bigger and bigger, and he was the tour’s leading money winner in 1940, 1941 and 1942.
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 another PGA and his first U.S. Open.
From the time of his discharge from the Army in August 1945 to 1949, Hogan won an amazing 37 tournaments and twice was the leading money-winner for the year. A controlled left-to-right ball flight and sound course management contributed to his success.
A major turning point in Hogan’s life came on February 2, 1949, when he was traveling with his wife, Valerie, through West Texas. On a country road about 150 miles east of El Paso, a Greyhound bus, swinging out to pass a truck, met Hogan’s car head on. The impact drove the engine into the driver’s seat, and the steering wheel into the back seat. While Valerie received only minor injuries, Hogan suffered a broken collarbone, a smashed rib, a double fracture of the pelvis and a broken ankle. Sadly, he would suffer lifelong circulation problems and other physical limitations. His doctors said he might never walk again, let alone play golf competitively. He left the hospital on April 1st, 59 days after the accident.