• PGA Philadelphia Section Hall of Fame •

William Ben Hogan
Class of 2003

           

Ben Hogan was born in Dublin, Texas in 1912 and grew up caddying with Byron Nelson at the Glen Garden Country Club in Ft. Worth. He turned pro in 1931 and tried the PGA Tour without success. Several times he failed to make expenses on the tour and came home to work on his game some more while his contemporaries, Nelson and Sam Snead, were winning tournaments. In 1938 he finally began to win enough money to stay on the tour. That year Henry Picard invited Hogan to play in the Hershey Four-Ball. He was the only entrant without a tournament win and most of the field had won majors but Hogan and his partner Vic Ghezzi won the event by a large margin. Hogan now had his first win but it took until 1940 for him to gain his first individual win, when he won the North and South Open. He went on to win two more times that year and he led the tour in money winnings. The next year he signed on with the Hershey Country Club as their golf professional. Milton Hershey, the president of the Hershey Chocolate Company that owned the golf course, only required Hogan to be at Hershey for certain special occasions. From 1941 through 1942 he won a total of eleven times and led in money won each year but then his golf career was interrupted for almost three years. In late 1942 he quit the PGA Tour to enroll in a private flight school and then he enlisted in the Army Air Corps. In the late summer of 1945 Hogan was discharged from the army in time to win five tournaments and the next year he won thirteen times and topped the money list again. After that he cut his schedule some but he still won 18 tournaments in the next two years. In early February of 1949 Hogan and his wife Valerie were involved in an accident with a bus and the doctors didn’t expect him to ever play golf again much less win tournaments. One year later Hogan entered the Los Angeles Open and finished in a tie for first with Sam Snead, only to lose an 18-hole playoff. Later that year in June he won the U.S. Open at Merion Golf Club and showed the golf world that he was back. The next year he won the Masters and the U.S. Open. The day after winning the 1951 U.S. Open his contract with the Hershey C.C. ran out. If Milton Hershey had still been alive Hogan would have probably been with Hershey for a few more years. Hogan had problems with his legs and his tournament schedule was quite limited after that but he picked his spots and went on to win the Masters, U.S. Open and the British Open in 1953. Soon after that he started the Ben Hogan Golf Equipment Company, which was a big success. Hogan won 63 times on the PGA Tour with 53 of those coming while he was Hershey’s professional. Nine of his wins came in the majors. He won four U.S. Opens, two PGA Championships, two Masters Tournaments and the British Open. He was a member of four Ryder Cup teams and the captain of two of them. Hogan won the Vardon Trophy five times, topped the money list five times and he was the “PGA Player-of-the-Year” four times. In 1953 Hogan was elected to the PGA Hall of Fame and in 2003 he was inducted into the Philadelphia Section PGA Hall of Fame.
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