Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters.
- Albert Einstein
Page xiii - May writes about the last hole of the playoff at Olympic in 1955, where Hogan drove into thick rough:
It took him two shots just to get his ball back into the fairway...
Hogan needed three swings to escape the rough.
Page 10 - May writes:
The Masters vowed to continue in April 1942, with tournament...
You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time.
- Slogan popularly attributed to Abraham Lincoln
"Part 3: The Advocates" of the "Hogan, the Hale America and the Myth of the 'Fifth Open'" series examined the arguments made on Hogan's behalf by supporters of his "fifth Open" claim. On May 12, Peter May joined the "fifth Open" advocates with the publication of The Open Question: Ben Hogan and Golf's Most Enduring Controversy. This article is the first of a two examining May's work.
Disclosure: I first became acquainted with Peter May in November 2017, when he contacted me and asked for some assistance on this project, which I provided and he...
Trust, but verify.
- Russian proverb
Some of you may have seen a video posted online by the PGA of America in 2018 titled “Ben Hogan at his finest at the 1948 PGA Championship,” with a subheading that reads “The 1948 PGA Championship was one of the last looks the world got of Ben Hogan at his very best.”1 The video fetes Hogan's second major championship of what would eventually total nine. You can view it on Facebook where I first saw it: Hogan - 1948 PGA - Facebook, or on YouTube: Hogan - 1948 PGA - YouTube
In the video several notable authorities on golf and Ben Hogan join forces: Martin Davis, the publisher of two popular coffee-table books about Hogan; Ron Sirak, a senior writer at Golf Digest for twenty years; Guy Yocom, a thirty-year veteran of Golf Digest who has written often about Hogan; Bob Denney, the PGA's historian; and golfing legend Gary Player. As you'd expect, the five speakers lavish...
We wuz robbed.
- Joe Jacobs, Madison Square Garden, June 21, 1932
Other than Jimmy Demaret's biography My Partner, Ben Hogan published in 1954, there were few, if any, public endorsements or defenses of Hogan's "fifth Open" claim made by third parties until the 1960s and '70s. One was included, in a peculiar way, in Tom Harmon's film biography of Hogan. The segment begins with Hogan, in an interview with Harmon, stating he still hopes to win a fifth US Open. Then Harmon appears alone and, speaking directly to the camera, adds this:
The record book shows he's won four [Opens] and tied for another. Actually, he has won five Open championships. In 1942, when the tour was called off because of the war, Ben won the Hale America tournament, played in Chicago and recognized as the...
I have come to claim what's rightfully mine.
In Part 1, the history of the Hale America National Open Golf Tournament was reviewed, including the reactions by the press, the winner Ben Hogan and his colleagues to what was widely described as Hogan's breakthrough victory in a major championship. Part 2 discusses Hogan's claim, first asserted in his post-tournament interview, that the Hale America was de facto the 1942 US Open, and should be counted as one, a claim that would then remain dormant for a decade. The series concludes with Part 3.
In public statements to reporters and non-public statements attributed to him, Hogan made four distinct appeals in arguing his claim. They are:
1. If this wasn't an Open, I don't know what it could be.
2. The competition was as strong as any other Open.
3. I have five medals and the president of the USGA has presented each one of them to me.
4. It's unfair for the PGA to count Sam Snead's PGA...
The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.
― Omar Khayyám
This three-part series examines the claim made by Ben Hogan and others that his victory at the 1942 Hale America tournament ought to count as his "fifth Open." The other two parts are here: Part 2 Part 3
The Hale America National Open Golf Tournament was held at Ridgemoor Country Club in Chicago, Illinois, over four days in June 1942, the 18th through 21st, the same week selected for the 1942 US Open that had been canceled by the United States Golf Association (USGA) in January, shortly after the Japanese had attacked Pearl Harbor.1
This replacement event was conceived by Tom McMahon, president of the Chicago District Golf Association (CDGA). Shortly after McMahon learned the USGA had canceled the US Open, he traveled to New York and met with the USGA to enlist their participation...
In case you missed it last November, I joined Connor Lewis in Episode 54 of the TalkinGolf History podcast to discuss the Masters. When did the Masters become the Masters? And when did it become a major championship? Those burning questions and more are answered in this podcast.
Link to The Masters: The Making of a Major
During his convalescence, people said he would never walk again. When he started walking, they said he wouldn’t be able to play golf again. When he started golfing, they said he would never play competitive golf again. When he started back on the tour they said he would never win again.1
Part 1 of this four-part series reviewed the contrast between what Hogan's doctors actually said on the record during the first two weeks following the accident and what biographers claimed they said. Part 2 compared how Hogan's biographers portrayed the challenges posed by the radical treatment undertaken to address life-threatening blood clots and what Hogan's vascular surgeon actually said on the record. Part 3 chronicled Hogan's long recovery and his eventual return to golf, as reported on the record. Part 4 concludes the series and covers Hogan's return to competitive golf at the 1950 LA Open, again relying on contemporaneous, published...
Part 1 of this four-part series reviewed the contrast between what Hogan's doctors actually said on the record during the first two weeks following the accident and what his biographers claimed they said. Part 2 compared how Hogan's biographers portrayed the challenges posed by the radical treatment undertaken to address life-threatening blood clots and what Hogan's vascular surgeon actually said on the record. Part 3 chronicles Hogan's long recovery and his eventual return to golf, as reported on the record. Part 4 concludes the series.
THE LONG RECOVERY
Despite the unequivocal optimism expressed by Dr. Ochsner after the vena cava surgery, biographers present Hogan's quest to return to competitive golf as flying in the face of the opinions of the "best medical experts," who said it couldn't be done.
What biographers wrote:
Jimmy Demaret, 1954 - Back home, [Ben] would start off nearly every conversation with "When I play golf again...," and Valerie...
Part 1 of this four-part series reviewed the contrast between what Hogan's doctors said in the first two weeks following the accident and what his biographers wrote. Part 2 compares how Hogan's biographers portrayed the radical surgery undertaken in response to life-threatening blood clots and what Hogan's vascular surgeon actually said on the record. The other two parts are here: Part 3 Part 4
THE BLOOD CLOTS AND VENA CAVA SURGERY
Just as Hogan was about to be discharged from the El Paso hospital on February 18, blood clots broke loose from the deeply bruised area of Hogan's left hip that doctors had not highlighted in their reports. With the benefit of hindsight, the El Paso doctors had perhaps foolishly immobilized the area by placing Hogan in a hard plaster cast surrounding his fractured pelvis. For the next two weeks, life-threatening blood clots became the doctors' primary concern.
Doctors treated Hogan with blood thinners, but the clots persisted...