ANALYSIS and COMMENTARY

Deconstructing Peter May's "The Open Question" - Part 2: Factual Errors

hogan as it happened Jun 16, 2021

Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters.

- Albert Einstein

 

This is the second article of two concerning Peter May's book, The Open Question: Ben Hogan and Golf's Most Enduring Controversy, his recounting of the 1942 Hale America National Open Golf Tournament and Ben Hogan's "fifth Open" claim. May Part 1 analyzed and commented on the misrepresentations, omissions and myths that underlie May's arguments in favor of the "fifth Open." This article is an errata of May's misstatements of fact as well as minor omissions not covered in Part 1, listed by page.
 
ERRATA

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 chairman...

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Deconstructing Peter May's "The Open Question" - Part 1: Misrepresentations, Omissions and Myths

hogan as it happened Jun 16, 2021

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. 

For those who haven't already, I recommend first reading the "Hogan, the Hale America and the Myth of the 'Fifth Open'" series, linked here: Myth Part 1  Myth Part 2  Myth Part 3

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...

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An analysis of Ben Hogan's driving during the 1948 PGA Championship Final

hogan as it happened May 25, 2021
 

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...

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Hogan, the Hale America and the Myth of the "Fifth Open" - Part 3: The Advocates

hogan as it happened Apr 12, 2021

We wuz robbed.

- Joe Jacobs, Madison Square Garden, June 21, 1932

 

Part 3 concludes this series and examines the arguments made on Hogan's behalf by supporters of his "fifth Open" claim. The other two parts of the series are here: Part 1  Part 2

June 16, 2021 update: Hogan's "fifth Open" claim has a new advocate, Peter May, whose recently released book is deconstructed in a two-part analysis:  Deconstructing The Open Question 

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...

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Hogan, the Hale America and the Myth of the "Fifth Open" - Part 2: The Claim

hogan as it happened Apr 12, 2021

I have come to claim what's rightfully mine.

- Unknown

 

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.

June 16, 2021 update: Hogan's "fifth Open" claim has a new advocate, Peter May, whose recently released book is deconstructed in a two-part analysis:  Deconstructing The Open Question 

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....

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Hogan, the Hale America and the Myth of the "Fifth Open" - Part 1: The Facts

hogan as it happened Apr 12, 2021

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

June 16, 2021 update: Hogan's "fifth Open" claim has a new advocate, Peter May, whose recently released book is deconstructed in a two-part analysis:  Deconstructing The Open Question 

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...

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"Never Walk Again" - What Hogan's Doctors Actually Said - Part 4 - The Return to Hogan's Alley

hogan as it happened Mar 16, 2021

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...

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"Never Walk Again" - What Hogan's Doctors Actually Said - Part 3 - The Long Recovery

hogan as it happened Feb 24, 2021

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...

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"Never Walk Again" - What Hogan's Doctors Actually Said - Part 2 - The Blood Clots and Vena Cava Surgery

hogan as it happened Feb 18, 2021

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...

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"Never Walk Again" - What Hogan's Doctors Actually Said - Part 1 - The Accident and Immediate Aftermath

hogan as it happened Feb 02, 2021

Ben was hospitalized for months. More bones in his body were broken than left intact. He was told he would never walk again...He had been so cut up that he could only use his legs by starting all over again and retraining his brain as well as his nerves and muscles of his arms, legs and hands.1

There have been some great comebacks in golf. Most notable, perhaps, was Ben Hogan, who won the U.S. Open in 1950 after lying near death in a hospital bed for six months after an automobile accident.2

This is Part 1 of a four-part series. The other three parts are here: Part 2  Part 3  Part 4

Many view Ben Hogan's dramatic comeback from the horrific auto-bus accident of February 2, 1949 as the greatest in golf history, if not in all sports. As popularly retold, doctors at first feared for Hogan's life and, if he did survive, feared he might never walk again. Completely ruled out by his doctors was a return to golf of any kind, let alone tournament golf. But the...

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