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Ben Hogan and The Colonial

by Jeff Skinner

It really doesn’t matter what the PGA Tour calls the tournament in Fort Worth Texas this week, it’s still The Colonial.  The title sponsor may like to hear “The Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial” but we all know it as “The Colonial” and that means one thing: Ben Hogan.  Most of the older players still refer to it as “The Hogan.”  Last week it was The Nelson, this week it’s The Hogan. Sorry Crowne Plaza, to me it’s the Hogan.

Hogan’s legacy carries on at Colonial Country Club and his legendary stories are still passed on from those older players that had the chance to spend some time with him.  Jeff Rude has an excellent article on Hogan in this week’s Golf Week, the magazine only; it’s not on the website yet. Call me old fashioned but I still love getting the print magazine.  Anyway, Rude quotes D.A. Weibring in the article and here’s a link to his “Hate to be Rude” segment where he talked to Weibring.  He recalls both Nelson and Hogan and says that it was “Byron” for Mr. Nelson but Hogan was always addressed as “Mr. Hogan.”  Nelson was a little more approachable than The Hawk.  He got to know Hogan because he played his clubs and he was very helpful to anyone that played the Hogan Brand.

Weibring recounts how Hogan would address all his staff players each year and be moved to tears when he spoke of the effort and dedication that his company put into his products.  He also tells the story of how Hogan borrowed Nelson’s backup driver and liked it so much he kept it and even had “Ben Hogan” painted on it.

Hogan was serious about his equipment.  When a young Gary Player called Hogan to seek some advice on the art of the swing Hogan asked him what clubs he played.  When Player said he played Dunlop, Hogan told him to call Mr. Dunlop and hung up.  That’s was vintage Hogan: short and to the point.

The video below has some classic moments at The Colonial.  Nicklaus calls Hogan the best ball striker he has ever seen, that’s good enough for me.  Ian Baker Finch gets down to his boxers long before Henrik Stenson ever thought of dropping his pants.  Tom Watson wins it with a shot from the bunker.  Sergio’s first win and Phil’s shot through the trees on eighteen that we still can’t figure out how he pulled that one off.

It’s The Colonial, it’s The Hogan, and it’s a classic.

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