by Jeff Skinner
This week on the PGA Tour it’s another stop on the Texas swing. You can’t find consecutive weeks that honor such distinguished golfers as these three weeks. Last week it was Byron Nelson, this week it’s Ben Hogan and I don’t care what they call it, Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial or whatever, this is Hogan’s tournament, he won it five times. Next week it’s Jack’s Memorial Tournament and no one honors the game and its traditions like Jack. Hogan has been called the best ball striker ever by guys like Nicklaus and Player. Hogan and Nelson were caddies, rivals and friends all their lives. The two of them could not have been more opposite. Nelson was likable and friendly while Hogan was cool and difficult to get close to. Nelson had the unbelievable “streak” in 1945 of eleven consecutive wins. No player has come close to matching that record. Hogan was a winner of nine major championships and is one of only five men to win all four majors. In 1953, four years removed from his catastrophic car accident, he was the first man to win three majors in one season. He won the Masters, the US Open and the British Open. It was the only British Open he ever played in and if the PGA wasn’t contested at the same time as the British he may have one all four in one year. He turned forty two that year and never won another major. That year has to be considered one of the best in the history of golf. Many overlook his ’53 year and think his comeback from his injuries to win the 1950 US Open was his greatest accomplishment. Hogan’s 1953 season is one of the most prolific years in golf. Only one other golfer has duplicated it. Tiger Woods won the US Open, British Open and the PGA in 2000 on his way to completing the “Slam”, Tiger or other, with his 2001 Masters win. Hogan is hailed as one of the best players of all time and his 1953 season has to be given that same recognition.
“A straight ball will get you in more trouble at Colonial than any course I know.” – Ben Hogan
Check out the “Memorable Moments” video from the PGA Tour. You get a little Hogan, Nicklaus and Player. Ian Baker-Finch strips to his boxers (not boxer-briefs like Stenson), Tom Watson in his old “Ram” hat, Sergio’s first win, Kenny Perry’s double and Phil the Thrill with his crazy shot to win in 2008.