Ben Hogan: A Brief Bio of the Golf Legend

Ben Hogan in 1940
Ben Hogan at a tournament in 1940. Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Ben Hogan is one of the giants of golf history, a steely perfectionist on the course whose career included a remarkable comeback from a horrific auto accident.

Date of birth: Aug. 13, 1912
Place of birth: Stephenville, Texas (Many sources list Dublin, Texas, as Hogan's birthplace. Hogan grew up in Dublin, and it is his hometown, but he was born in the hospital in Stephenville, 10 miles away.)
Died: July 25, 1997
Nickname: "The Hawk" (sometimes referred to as "Bantam Ben")

Hogan's Victories

PGA Tour: 64

(List of tournament wins appear below Hogan bio down the page.)

Major Championships: 9

  • Masters: 1951, 1953
  • U.S. Open: 1948, 1950, 1951, 1953
  • British Open: 1953
  • PGA Championship: 1946, 1948

Awards and Honors for Ben Hogan

  • Member, World Golf Hall of Fame
  • PGA Tour money leader, 1940, 1941, 1942, 1946, 1948
  • PGA Vardon Trophy winner (low scoring average), 1940, 1941, 1948
  • PGA Tour Player of the Year 1948, 1950, 1951, 1953
  • Member, U.S. Ryder Cup team, 1947, 1951
  • Captain, U.S. Ryder Cup team, 1947, 1949, 1967

Quote, Unquote

  • Ben Hogan: "I hate a hook. It nauseates me. I could vomit when I see one. It's like a rattlesnake in your pocket."
  • Ben Hogan: "I play with friends, but we don't play friendly games."
  • Dave Marr: "Hogan plays one game and the rest of us play another."

More Ben Hogan Quotes

Ben Hogan Trivia

  • Ben Hogan's first PGA Tour event was the 1932 Los Angeles Open. He finished 38th to win $8.50.
  • Hogan won 30 tournaments before winning his first major (1946 PGA Championship). That's the record for most wins prior to a first major.
  • Three locations in the golf world are nicknamed Hogan's Alley because of Hogan's success there.
  • The PGA Tour's developmental tour, later called the Nationwide Tour and Web.com Tour, was originally named the Ben Hogan Tour when it was founded in 1990.
  • There are two Ben Hogan Awards in golf. One is presented to the male college golfer of the year; another is presented to a golfer who overcomes injury or handicap to remain active in golf.
  • A common golf betting game called Hogies is named after Hogan. It involves hitting the fairway, the green, and 2-putting for par.

Biography of Ben Hogan

In 292 career PGA Tour events, Ben Hogan finished in the Top 3 in 47.6-percent of them. He finished in the Top 10 in 241 of those 292 events.

Hogan was born near Fort Worth in 1912. Hogan and Byron Nelson were childhood acquaintances, caddying at the same Fort Worth club. They even squared off one year for the club's caddie championship (Nelson won).

Hogan's childhood was rough - his father committed suicide, and it is believed that Hogan witnessed the tragic event.

Hogan turned pro in 1929, at age 17, to play pro events in Texas. He didn't join the PGA Tour until 1932. Much of his early career, Hogan battled a hook. But through a tremendous work ethic, he changed his game to a controlled fade (in his famous words, he "dug it out of the dirt"). In 1940, he began winning, and often.

He missed a couple years on Tour due to World War II, but returned full-time in 1946 and won 13 times, including his first major, the 1946 PGA Championship.

From August 1945 to February 1949, Hogan won 37 times. But in 1949, he suffered terrible injuries in a car crash, and was never again able to play a full schedule due to circulatory problems in his legs.

Sixteen months after that crash - in which Hogan threw himself across his wife to protect her as their car collided with a bus - Hogan returned to win the 1950 U.S. Open. That victory is sometimes referred to as "the miracle at Merion," because Hogan won despite severe pain and having to play 36 holes on the final day.

In fact, from 1950 on, Hogan never played more than seven PGA Tour events in a year. Yet, he won 13 more times, including six majors. Until Tiger Woods did it in 2000, Hogan was the only man to win three professional majors in one year. That was in 1953, when Hogan won the Masters, U.S. Open and British Open.

(He didn't play the PGA Championship because that tournament's dates conflicted with the British Open's.) From 1946 to 1953, Hogan won nine of the 16 majors he played.

Hogan brought his same quest for perfection to the golf clubs made by the company that bore his name, and Ben Hogan Golf produced many of the finest clubs available over the years.

His demeanor on the course was quiet and focused. With others, Hogan was often distant and aloof. But he had everyone's respect.

Ben Hogan was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1974 as part of the inaugural class.

More reading about Ben Hogan:

Hogan's Instructional Books

Ben Hogan wrote or co-authored two golf instructional books. The first one listed here is still considered a must-read by other golf instructors today.

List of Ben Hogan's PGA Tour Wins

Hogan won 64 tournaments that today are credited as PGA Tour wins, with nine majors among them. His first PGA Tour victory happened in 1938, and his last was in 1959. Hogan achieved those 64 wins despite his career being interrupted by World War II and by an automobile accident.

Here is the list of Hogan's career wins, by year, from the first to the last:

1938

  • Hershey Four-Ball (team tournament, partnered by Vic Ghezzi)

1940

  • North & South Open
  • Greater Greensboro Open
  • Asheville 'Land of the Sky' Open
  • Goodall Palm Beach Round Robin

1941

  • Miami Biltmore International Four-Ball (team tournament, partnered by Gene Sarazen)
  • Asheville Open
  • Inverness Four-Ball (team tournament, partnered by Jimmy Demaret)
  • Chicago Open
  • Hershey Open

1942

  • Los Angeles Open
  • San Francisco Open
  • North & South Open
  • Asheville 'Land of the Sky' Open
  • Hale America Open
  • Rochester Open

1945

  • Nashville Invitational
  • Portland Open Invitational
  • Richmond Invitational
  • Montgomery Invitational
  • Orlando Open

1946

  • Phoenix Open
  • San Antonio Texas Open
  • St. Petersburg Open
  • Miami International Four-Ball (team tournament, partnered by Jimmy Demaret)
  • Colonial Invitational
  • Western Open
  • Goodall Round Robin
  • Inverness Four-Ball (team tournament, partnered by Jimmy Demaret)
  • Winnipeg Open
  • PGA Championship
  • Golden State Open
  • Dallas Invitational
  • North & South Open

1947

  • Los Angeles Open
  • Phoenix Open
  • Miami International Four-Ball (team tournament, partnered by Jimmy Demaret)
  • Colonial Invitational
  • Chicago Victory Open
  • Inverness Round Robin Four-Ball (team tournament, partnered by Jimmy Demaret)
  • World Championship of Golf

1948

  • Los Angeles Open
  • PGA Championship
  • U.S. Open
  • Inverness Round Robin Four-Ball (team tournament, partnered by Jimmy Demaret)
  • Motor City Open
  • Reading Open
  • Western Open
  • Denver Open Invitational Championship
  • Reno Open Invitational
  • Glendale Open Invitational

1949

  • Bing Crosby Pro-Am
  • Long Beach Open

1950

  • U.S. Open

1951

  • The Masters
  • U.S. Open
  • World Championship of Golf

1952

  • Colonial National Invitational

1953

  • The Masters
  • Pan American Open
  • Colonial Invitational Tournament
  • U.S. Open
  • British Open

1959

  • Colonial National Invitation
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Kelley, Brent. "Ben Hogan: A Brief Bio of the Golf Legend." ThoughtCo, Jun. 2, 2017, thoughtco.com/ben-hogan-profile-1563698. Kelley, Brent. (2017, June 2). Ben Hogan: A Brief Bio of the Golf Legend. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/ben-hogan-profile-1563698 Kelley, Brent. "Ben Hogan: A Brief Bio of the Golf Legend." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/ben-hogan-profile-1563698 (accessed November 24, 2017).