Re: Why do people revere Ben Hogan so?In many ways, the OP's question of "Why do people revere Hogan?" is really spot on. There was so much about the man that wasn't likeable. The man was enigmatic, totally self centered, obsessed beyond reason, was a complete curmudgeon even when young, and had little respect for others. He didn't play up to the fans, and usually didn't even acknowledge them. But on the other side, his obsession enabled him to become perhaps the best ballstriker the game has seen, created a competitive fire that is matched by only a few people in any sport, and he fought through adversary several times in his career to reach the top again each time. Off the course, he had (apparently) a long and successful marriage to a woman who appeared to adore him, and he proved his business accumen by building a successful club company which many thought was a huge mistake.
He overcame tragedy as a child (watching the suicide of his father), and used this pain to create an inward focus and drive that probably helped him in his career - it is quite possible that with a normal childhood he wouldn't have reached the incredible self-obsession that enabled him to master the golf swing perhaps better than anyone. It is interesting to me that this seems to be a theme common in so many of the superstar entertainers. We see so many great athletes, actors, commedians, etc. that suffered significantly in their childhood, and this seemed to actually be the catalyst or creation of their inner talent that would go on to surpass their peers or competitors.
So why do we revere any athlete? It appears to me that those that truly reach the pinnacle of their sport, such as Hogan or Tiger in golf, or perhaps Jordan, are self centered almost off the charts, and they combine this with a total obsession to be the best and to win. If they can truly pull it off and use those personality flaws to achieve the highest performance levels, then we revere them for what they are able to accomplish, as they are something we know that we will never accomplish. As Iacas had previously pointed out, "revere" doesn't mean worship or to deify them - it only means that we admire them for their accomplishments.
As we look back at Hogan's life in this thread, debate the morals and ethics of Tiger in other threads, or even discuss some of the less kindly parts of people like Trevino, I keep thinking that there is one athlete in our sport that not only deserves to be revered (and he is), but should almost be worshiped. That is Arnold Palmer, a man who lived his whole life as if his purpose was to make other people's lives better either through his compteitive exploits or simply how he treats others. Arnold pretty gave us everything Hogan did with his competition, off-course businesses, a long and thoroughly succesful marriage, and yet he managed to not only avoid being the ass that Hogan was but was a truly lovable person who I doubt ever made an enemy his whole life. I never saw Hogan play in person, but I have been lucky enough to play a round with Tiger when he was younger and to spend a dinner with Arnold, and for me it sums up very simply: I revere Hogan, I revere Tiger, I revere and greatly admire Nicklaus, but I pretty much worship Palmer.
By the way, I recommend that people who enjoy the game of golf seek out and read many of the great books about the game and its characters, and not rely on the internet and forums to form their opinions of the players and others who have influenced the game. Regarding Hogan, two of the better books are by Sampson and Dodson (I like the Dodson one a little better, but both complement each other). Also read The Match by Mark Frost; it gives you further insight into Hogan in his later competitive years, and also gives you a nice perspective of some of the other great characters of the game.