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post #19 of 86

Re: Why do people revere Ben Hogan so?

Originally Posted by Chas View Post
My point? There's talent/skill, and then there's the person as a whole. Never confuse the two (easier said than done of course).
Is anyone here confusing the two? Ben Hogan is revered as a golfer just as Tiger Woods is.

I've can't recall ever reading something from someone "revering" Ben Hogan that talked about him as a husband or a guy. It's always golf-related. I've been interested enough in Hogan to read up on him and to read some books - quite a few, really - and even I don't go so far as to say I like the guy or anything.

I revere his knowledge of the golf swing and the game of golf. That's where it begins and ends. To assume I care about him as a person - or to assume anyone else does - is silly.

I revere artists and photographers for their work, but don't give a lick about them as people. It's not uncommon.
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post #20 of 86

Re: Why do people revere Ben Hogan so?

People revere Hogan so much because he is considered by many to be the greatest ballstriker of all time.
post #21 of 86

Re: Why do people revere Ben Hogan so?

I admire Ben Hogan because he started from extremely humble beginnings in Fort Worth, worked his tail off to become a major champion... after his car was hit head on by a bus in West Texas in '49 and he nearly died, he was told he would never walk again much less play golf again... Then he worked his tail off and won the '50 U.S. Open at Merion... And the next year won the U.S. Open again... In '53 he won The Masters, U.S. Open, and Open Championship... All on legs that were so badly injured he had to wrap them in bandages from crotch to foot to keep them from swelling... He started his own golf club company that built, in many people's opinion, the best forged irons ever... Those are just a few reasons I admire Ben Hogan... I've had people who knew him tell me he was a great guy, I had other people, including my uncle, who knew him and said he was an ass... Doesn't matter to me what his personal relationships were like, I admire his golf swing and his golf career.
post #22 of 86

Re: Why do people revere Ben Hogan so?

Originally Posted by iacas View Post
I revere his knowledge of the golf swing and the game of golf. That's where it begins and ends. To assume I care about him as a person - or to assume anyone else does - is silly.
I certainly do not make that assumption about you. If I had, I would have learned by now that it was mistaken.
Originally Posted by iacas View Post
I revere artists and photographers for their work, but don't give a lick about them as people. It's not uncommon.
And that's fine. We have a different attitude when it comes to top golfers then - there's room for both I would have thought.

You've clearly learned more about Hogan in your reading than I have as yet. I plan to read more myself when I get the chance, he's an intruiging fellow.
post #23 of 86

Re: Why do people revere Ben Hogan so?

Originally Posted by Chas View Post
I certainly do not make that assumption about you. If I had, I would have learned by now that it was mistaken.

And that's fine. We have a different attitude when it comes to top golfers then - there's room for both I would have thought.

You've clearly learned more about Hogan in your reading than I have as yet. I plan to read more myself when I get the chance, he's an intruiging fellow.
I admit to watching Tom Watson as kid with a sense of hero worship. Now that he's admittedly stopped drinking (he was not a good drunk) I may again.

As far as quality of golfer and quality of person goes, there are golfers I'd like to emulate. They may not have been perfect and/or always nicey nice - some of them are complete unknowns off the course. Is that a bad thing?

- Steve Stricker
- Bernhard Langer
- Tom Watson
- Mike Weir
- Jose Maria Olazabal
- et cetera
post #24 of 86

Re: Why do people revere Ben Hogan so?

Originally Posted by apex53 View Post
I admire Ben Hogan because he started from extremely humble beginnings in Fort Worth, worked his tail off to become a major champion... after his car was hit head on by a bus in West Texas in '49 and he nearly died, he was told he would never walk again much less play golf again... Then he worked his tail off and won the '50 U.S. Open at Merion... And the next year won the U.S. Open again... In '53 he won The Masters, U.S. Open, and Open Championship... All on legs that were so badly injured he had to wrap them in bandages from crotch to foot to keep them from swelling... He started his own golf club company that built, in many people's opinion, the best forged irons ever... Those are just a few reasons I admire Ben Hogan... I've had people who knew him tell me he was a great guy, I had other people, including my uncle, who knew him and said he was an ass... Doesn't matter to me what his personal relationships were like, I admire his golf swing and his golf career.
Amen to that. If he beat up his wife or played around, we don't know about it. Better not to know or to inquire. He was an unsually private person--maybe more so than Tiger, who does let a few people under his guard --and Hogan's walls were, mostly, figurative and not manned by security guards. (Actually, I seem to remember he built a bunker-like house in the tony section of Ft. Worth. No guards there though. In the pre-paparazzi era, there was more respect for privacy and space; we have since become celebrity-mad..)

My fav irons are Hogan branded. Even though he didn't design them, didn't even like the model, I enjoy the link to that tradition, smile at the characteristic dowel pin connecting the hosel to the shaft, and pride myself on a somewhat Hogan-like swing if not Hogan-like results.

In some ways I see myself as a watered-down version of Hogan, on and off the course. Guess there are plenty of young people who think of themselves as a weaker version of Tiger Woods and like to play with clubs he advertises.

(Tell the truth, I prefer the look and feel of Mizuno blades. The old Hogan Apex blades all feel and look odd to me, except the lack of offset, which I much prefer.)
post #25 of 86

Re: Why do people revere Ben Hogan so?

Sean,

Good point. And no it isn't (a bad thing), I do it myself. I follow more sports than just golf and no way can I (nor wish to) know much about many sportsmen/woman as personalities. Of course you are then only judging what you can see - how well a sculler performs in the final stretch, if a tennis player can make any sort of a comeback from 2 sets down against Federer, etc etc.

But when I learn more about certain players, esp. those who benefit enormously from massive public exposure, I am going to form judgments to some extent. Unless they are fools they should expect it. No wonder Tiger was so obsessed with privacy, he needed it more than anyone I can think of.

Comes with the territory - no tears from me.

Ole_Tom: you're right about Mizunos.
post #26 of 86

Re: Why do people revere Ben Hogan so?

I grew up a Nicklaus fan for obvious reasons considering the time frame of my youth. In later years I've become fasinated with Hogan and what he went through and what he achieved!

Basically to me, Hogan was pure "Old School". Keep your mouth shut, keep your nose clean and just do your job! I have no idea if I would have liked Hogan as a fellow human being, but I can say I respect him as a man and as a golfer as he endeavored to persevere!
post #27 of 86

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.
post #28 of 86

Re: Why do people revere Ben Hogan so?

Originally Posted by Shorty View Post
Your reply, like most others is very well reasoned. Thanks.
I think the fact that Nelson didn't write or say much about Hogan is a perfect example of why Nelson is regarded as the opposite of Hogan with regard to personality. Seems he was too much of a gentleman. If you can't say something nice, say nothing at all.
You are right about Byron Nelson. He knew Ben from when they were caddies together in Texas, and always competed against each other. I think he knew that Hogan was a driven man, who was extremely intense, and decided to say nothing about his personality. Nelson was just the opposite---outgoing and very pleasant, and that showed when he used to be a telecaster for ABC.
post #29 of 86

Re: Why do people revere Ben Hogan so?

I think part of it is that in that era the media exposure was less overwhelming. There is less of a public record, so more mystery about him. The early struggles, comeback from the auto accident etc appeal to the many who struggle through large parts of their life. It probably isn't true, but Tiger, Jack Nicklaus, Arnie, and Phil don't give the impression that they struggled as much to reach the top. I think Ben clearly had emotional issues probably arising from his childhood and young adult family issues.
post #30 of 86

Re: Why do people revere Ben Hogan so?

Nice post Clambake. We should also point out that Arnold Palmer was far and away the most transformative figure in the history of golf since WW2. It was he more than anyone who broke down the social barriers that surrounded the game, the country club associations etc etc - that I for one found very distasteful to the extent they still existed in England in the 60s. This is what puts Arnie in a unique category in the history of golf IMO. Ben Hogan and Jack and Tiger set the technical standard for others to aspire to in their day, no question about that, but Palmer played on a bigger stage. And he did it because of who he was and is as a person and how that person relates to the game, for the reasons you so eloquently describe. His popularity both inside and outside the U.S. was vast and it was deep. I remember the tail end of it, as Nicklaus began to assert his dominance. Arnie's army had a very different attitude towards their man than the followers of Nicklaus or Woods (or Hogan, I would assume). This is not something that you can achieve with grit or statistics or fame or wealth - or any combination of these. It is something deeper than that, and more meaningful to many golfers than the mere winning of a certain number of tournaments, important as that is to the development of the game. In that sense I don't think there can ever be another Arnie - for sociological/historical reasons.
post #31 of 86
Thread Starter 

Re: Why do people revere Ben Hogan so?

Thanks for the great reply Clambake.
I totally agree with you - and it's funny how we might be beginning to see that there are great similarities between Tiger and Hogan - in not necessarily positive ways.
My original post was prompted by my reading of Curt Sampson's book, and my thought that if a Sandtrapper had had the opportunity to meet him they might be sorely disappointed. Your point about reading golf books (biographies in particular and I suggest all of Feinstein's brilliant golf books), hits the nail on the head. Otherwise, your thoughts about golf will be limited to comments and thoughts like "Man, I want a Scotty", "Titleist makes players' clubs", "Tiger is better than Nicklaus". Facile, ignorant and, to say, the least, boring.
Your post made me think about Greg Norman. I would never say that I ever hero worshipped Greg Norman, but I was there when he won his first Australian Open, cried like a baby when he lost "that" Masters and basically spent 20 years of my life getting up early (I'm Australian) four times a year to be disappointed yet again on all but two "Major" occasions. Anyway - my point here is that any of you younger players who never saw Norman in his prime missed seeing a player as exciting and powerful as Tiger, fearsome strength and power, especially in the pre-Titanium driver age. BUT.........I have since come to see that he is really not that great a person, perhaps even a bit of a dickhead (Aussie for jerk). Despite this, I will always remember the way he played at his peak and respect and love what he did for the game. I guess it's the same for Hogan. His inspiration relates to golf, not personality.
post #32 of 86

Re: Why do people revere Ben Hogan so?

Originally Posted by Shorty View Post
Your post made me think about Greg Norman. I would never say that I ever hero worshipped Greg Norman, but I was there when he won his first Australian Open, cried like a baby when he lost "that" Masters and basically spent 20 years of my life getting up early (I'm Australian) four times a year to be disappointed yet again on all but two "Major" occasions. Anyway - my point here is that any of you younger players who never saw Norman in his prime missed seeing a player as exciting and powerful as Tiger, fearsome strength and power, especially in the pre-Titanium driver age. BUT.........I have since come to see that he is really not that great a person, perhaps even a bit of a dickhead (Aussie for jerk). Despite this, I will always remember the way he played at his peak and respect and love what he did for the game. I guess it's the same for Hogan. His inspiration relates to golf, not personality.

Shorty, I'm glad to see you're also one who likes to take golf discussion to levels beyond the usual "I need new irons - what should I buy?". This great game has so many facets, complexities, and characters, it is great to see the occasional forum chats that attempt to live up to the game itself.

I found your comments and parallels about Norman to be interesting and also indicative of a pattern of many of the greats. Norman was growing into his peak when I was getting most interested in the game, and I always enjoyed watching him play. But as you point out, my impression of him from a variety of sources was that he was quite the jerk. One was an interview during a tourney where he claimed how great he was with his iron distance control, bragging that amateurs were clueless but he was so good he knew within a 1/2 yard the distance he would hit a club. They they cut to live coverage of Norman hitting is 7 iron way over the green (the announcers were having a hard time not laughing too hard!). Another data point on Norman was an interview in a magazine about megayachts (one of my interests, although I sure don't have one!) once shortly after he commissioned "Aussie Rules", his new 228 foot yacht. In the interview, he kept bragging about how much of the yacht design he personally did, inferring that all the nautical design experts really didn't have a clue and only Norman himself actually knew how to properly spec and layout the complicated engineering systems in such a vessel. My final data point on Norman is from a good co-worker friend who was once a guest at a course opening at a country club (Florida I think) where Norman designed the course and then came for the opening and played a round with some of the specially chosen members, while the other members were the gallery. Throughout the whole time, Norman basically kept ripping on the amateurs' games, even when they hit pretty good shots. One member asked Norman about why he designed one hole the way he did, mentioning he would have thought the green sloping and bunkering would have been done differently based on the terrain there; basically he was just trying to learn and understand and gain a better appreciation of course design. But Norman's response was "What do you know, you're just an amateur and don't have any clue about this. I'm the professional and designer, and I don't have to justify my thoughts to you". Nice way to treat your adoring fan base (and the people who just paid you a lot of money to design their golf course. So yes, I think Norman is pretty much an ass, but I did enjoy watching him play.

Back to your original post about Hogan, one thing I found really interesting in his history is how long it took hiim to actually start being even slightly successful in tournament golf. It took him years of failure after failure in events of all kinds (what we'd call the mini-tours now) and would miss cut after cut. He'd scrape together a little more money, often to fail again. One would think that anyone with any sense of reality would have given up and pursued a different career, but he wouldn't do that - he just kept obsessively beating balls for countless hours, and eventually he started finding enough success to actually make a little money. At an equivalent time in his career, Tiger had probably already booked a few hundred million bucks through wins and endorsements.

By the way, I second your recommendations on all of Feinstein's books - all of them informative, well written, and wonderful at bringing the game to life.
post #33 of 86
Thread Starter 

Re: Why do people revere Ben Hogan so?

Originally Posted by Clambake View Post
Back to your original post about Hogan, one thing I found really interesting in his history is how long it took hiim to actually start being even slightly successful in tournament golf. It took him years of failure after failure in events of all kinds (what we'd call the mini-tours now) and would miss cut after cut. He'd scrape together a little more money, often to fail again. One would think that anyone with any sense of reality would have given up and pursued a different career, but he wouldn't do that - he just kept obsessively beating balls for countless hours, and eventually he started finding enough success to actually make a little money. t an equivalent time in his career, Tiger had probably already booked a few hundred million bucks through wins and endorsements.

By the way, I second your recommendations on all of Feinstein's books - all of them informative, well written, and wonderful at bringing the game to life.
Yes - he came close to giving it away because he couldn't afford to keep going and losing money to the point where would have had no option but to quit. So I suppose that his perseverance was a quality that people admired.
The book also points out, and it is proven in the many photos about the place, that like Tiger, he loved to have cameras on him once he had won, but not at other times.
Regarding Norman ( and Tiger I guess), a lack of self belief was never a problem for either of them. The thing that really changed my mind about him was the "I was in awe of myself out there today" comment after winning The Open. Not unlike Tiger whining about hias "B Game and A Game" in the early days. I watched him playing in Sydney in 1996 and he was a petulant pratt even then. But you could see that he was something special.
If you haven't read it, I recommend "Four-iron in the Soul", by Lawrence Donegan. I think it is called "Maybe it Should have been a Three Iron" in the United States.
post #34 of 86

Re: Why do people revere Ben Hogan so?

Originally Posted by Shorty View Post
If you haven't read it, I recommend "Four-iron in the Soul", by Lawrence Donegan. I think it is called "Maybe it Should have been a Three Iron" in the United States.
Thanks for the book tip - I read the synopsis and it looks delightful. I like to collect first edition hardcover books, so a little checking around and I found a reasonably priced fine condition copy from a bookseller here in the US, and I can't wait to read until it gets here. While hunting for that book, I found another golf book Donegan wrote called "Quiet Please" that looks enjoyable, so I've ordered it also. The publisher's descrition of "Quiet Please" is:

The Ryder Cup - Europe versus the USA, three days of golfing brilliance at the Belfry featuring the best players in the world and the loudest, most partisan fans this side of an Old Firm derby. Lawrence Donegan - author, musician, European PGA Tour caddy (retired) - is determined play his patriotic part. Too mean to buy a ticket, and cruelly denied a place on the European team by a selection process emphasising the ability to play golf, Donegan tries - and fails - to become Lee Westwood's bagman at the Belfry. Then he lands the perfect job - Ryder Cup marshal. Free clothes, free food, his very own 'Quiet Please' paddle and look at that uninterrupted view! This is a Ryder Cup story with a twist, a golf fanatic's story from the back of the tee by Lawrence Donegan.

I'll have to post a review when I've read it. Thanks again for the tips - I love to get turned onto good golf writers. By the way, I presume you've read "The Match" by Mark Frost? It's probably my favorite golf book to date, and even my wife loved the book so much she read it twice, and she doesn't even play golf!
post #35 of 86

Re: Why do people revere Ben Hogan so?

You seem to mix apples and oranges. People admire Ben Hogan the golfer. If people look for kindness, they would probably choose mother Teresa as a role model.
post #36 of 86

Re: Why do people revere Ben Hogan so?

Originally Posted by TakeDeadAim View Post
You seem to mix apples and oranges. People admire Ben Hogan the golfer. If people look for kindness, they would probably choose mother Teresa as a role model.
LOL! Agreed... I admire Ben Hogan for his golf swing and accomplishments, but in many ways I'm glad that I never met him in person... I remember meeting a few sports figures that I admired as a kid and a couple of them were horseasses... Never looked at them the same way after that
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