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Vijay4LIFE

Ben Hogan Would Be Irrelevant Today

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Who else agrees with me that Ben Hogan would be irrelevant on today's PGA Tour? He might be able to squeak into the top 30 or 25 in the world, and he'd probably be a major winner, but dominant? No way. The only advantage that Ben Hogan would have would be his mental game. Hogan probably had the best mental game of any golfer ever, that can't be denied. His course management and attitude was second to none. But physically he could not hang with today's top 30. So I am not a hater, I am giving him his props. Here are the FACTS:

Ben Hogan's "legacy" was developed during a time when golf instruction was in the dark ages. In my opinion we are still evolving and developing technique every day, Hogan just happened to be significantly ahead of his peers at the time. No one knew jack about the golf swing back then, Hogan didn't have any "secrets," it's just that everyone else was such an idiot. Who were the best golf instructors back then? Claude Harmon? LOL. Jackie Burke? LOL. Reading the advice in "It's Only a Game," made me cringe. Welcome to the 21st century. LOL

The only reason Hogan's ball striking has achieved mythical status is that no one could hit the ball back then. There are literally dozens of golfers who would be better ball strikers today than Ben Hogan. Go to the range at any NCAA event and you are bound to see a bunch of college kids that can hit it better than Hogan. more far, more accurate, period.

Detailed stats were NOT kept in Hogan's day. We have no reliable metric to determine how good Hogan's ball striking was. The truth of the matter is that we do now, and guess what? It turns out that in the group of elite ball strikers, the best DO NOT have a significant edge on each other. Guys like Sergio, Joe Durant, Prime Vijay, Prime Tiger, Nick Price, Nick Faldo, Prime Boo, all of the best modern ball strikers, now that we have stats on them, are not significantly better than one another. This means that ball striking, once you are at an elite level, is mostly IRRELEVANT.

Ben Hogan's putting was pitiful. Yeah yeah yeah, "Oh before his accident he was so good at putting before he went blind in the left eye!" LOL, excuses, whatever. The truth of the matter is that Hogan's putting will forever go down as his achilles heel. The truth of the matter is that to play golf at the highest level of the PGA tour, you have to have elite level putting and short game. While Hogan's short game was pretty good, it was never his strong point. So based on his putting and short game I don't think he would be able to crack the top 5 in world rankings.

And I'm going to have to finally mention the elephant in the room. Power. Despite everyone thinking Ben Hogan hammered it, the fact of the matter is that he didn't okay? Even Hank Haney stated in his Golf Digest "My Shot" interview that Hank Haney, Lee Trevino, and Moe Norman despite their great ball striking ability lacked today's raw power. Hogan just couldn't hang with the big dawgs on tour today, and that's a fact.

In conclusion, I think that the new breed like Rory Mc, Bubba Watson, Dustin Johnson, etc are way ahead of Hogan. If Hogan competed today he would be about on the same level as a guy like David Toms or Zach Johnson. Those guys certainly aren't bad, but they're mostly irrelevant, that that's where Hogan would be.

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Pointless argument he was great in his day and that's all that matters you can't compare today players with players from the past. Plus you don't know how good Hogan would be using todays technology, coaches, etc. I could give you the argument that if Hogan in his prime played with todays technology, coaches, etc he would be the best player in the world. Now would I be right there's no way to tell so it's not worth debating over.

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Wow, way to bring the LOLs buddy.I'll address your points one by one.

Quote:
Pointless argument he was great in his day and that's all that matters you can't compare today players with players from the past.

The whole point of golf is comparing golfers from the past to the present. That's why the USGA takes huge measures in "preservation of the game." We love golf because unlike other sports it is predicated on measurement. In tennis, I will never know if I can return a Nadal Serve. In baseball, I'll never know if I can hit a Greg Maddox homerun. In golf, I know when I pitch in from 40 yards that Tiger couldn't have done it better.

We compare players of past and present all the time, continue to do it, and will continue to do it.

Quote:
Plus you don't know how good Hogan would be using todays technology, coaches, etc

Wow, what a joke. First of all, we have a really good idea of how technology affects the game as far as yardage gained. And are you trying to say that Hogan would have a better swing than he did? Please. Hogan was for sure as good as he could have ever been with his full swing, and that's the entire crux of my post. His full swing was great, but the other elements of his game, apart from mental, were at best mediocre and were unlikely to be improved by coaching.

Quote:
I could give you the argument that if Hogan in his prime played with todays technology, coaches, etc he would be the best player in the world. Now would I be right there's no way to tell so it's not worth debating over.

So why don't you? Oh, that's why, you can't. Just another Hogan nuthugger dangling from the idea that he was some type of transcendent golfing machine. Newsflash, that doesn't exist. What does Hogan's mythical legendary status have in common with God, the Easter Bunny, and Santa? All things that don't exist.

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If you're holding all else equal maybe you have a point, but if Hogan was powerful relative to his opponents in his day, which he was, there's no reason to think he wouldn't be today with modern fitness and equipment. Same argument for the ball striking. Even you seem to believe he was good relative to his competition, who's to say he still wouldn't be?

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Originally Posted by jamo

If you're holding all else equal maybe you have a point, but if Hogan was powerful relative to his opponents in his day, which he was, there's no reason to think he wouldn't be today with modern fitness and equipment. Same argument for the ball striking. Even you seem to believe he was good relative to his competition, who's to say he still wouldn't be?

I don't think you're reading my post very carefully.

I'm saying as far as ball striking is concerned, he would still probably be very good. Unfortunately, everyone is very good at ball striking today, or maybe you don't watch much golf or look up tour stats?

The point is that Hogan's exceptional ball striking in his day is what was responsible of his success, despite his shortcomings in other areas of the game. His ball striking would not allow him to be dominant any longer.His ball striking would enable him to be pretty good, but no where near on the level as say someone like Phil M, Tiger, Rory Mc, et al. Those guys are much more "complete players."

Face it. To play at an elite level on the PGA Tour today, you need to be a "complete player," and Hogan simply wasn't.

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This argument is age old regardless of the sport but I respectfully disagree.   You can't draw comparisons of what Hogan did back then to what modern players do today.   The equipment he played with was infinitely inferior to what is available today.    I have some old clubs and balls from Hogan's era and there is light years worth of difference between them and modern clubs.   To do what he did with that equipment took more talent than it does today, when you can buy clubs with "forgiveness" in them, balls designed to fly straighter regardless of how bad you hit them, etc....

Secondly, Tiger listed Hogan as one of just a couple of players who truly "owned" their swing.   Given that Tiger plays with the players you listed (including himself) and not one modern player is on his short list is an indication of just how good Hogan was.

The bottom line is, regardless of how much you want to, you can't draw comparisons between athletes from vastly different eras to each other.   The advances in the sport preclude it.

You said we compare players from the past and present all the time.  I agree that happens but I don't agree with the accuracy of such comparisons.   People who actually knew Hogan and are still alive today, still speak of him with a reverence they do not show for modern players.    Some of that may well be nostalgic but most people who study and know a sport can see, recognize and acknowledge greatness.   I see many of those people talk highly of Tiger in his prime, Rory, et al..   What I don't see is the same level of respect for them that is shown to Hogan.   That these people still regard him as "the best" speaks volumes.

With respect to comparing your up and down to one Tiger does, you are contemporaries in terms of era.   Your equipment is similar to his (though not the same).   Go hit a few drives with a 1940's club and ball, then come back and tell us how well you compare to Hogan.

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Quote:

This argument is age old regardless of the sport but I respectfully disagree.   You can't draw comparisons of what Hogan did back then to what modern players do today.   The equipment he played with was infinitely inferior to what is available today.    I have some old clubs and balls from Hogan's era and there is light years worth of difference between them and modern clubs.   To do what he did with that equipment took more talent than it does today, when you can buy clubs with "forgiveness" in them, balls designed to fly straighter regardless of how bad you hit them, etc....

Secondly, Tiger listed Hogan as one of just a couple of players who truly "owned" their swing.   Given that Tiger plays with the players you listed (including himself) and not one modern player is on his short list is an indication of just how good Hogan was.

The bottom line is, you can't draw comparisons between athletes from vastly different eras to each other.   The advances in the sport preclude it.

You're missing the entire point of everything. Try reading my posts completely and carefully before replying, as I have read yours.

I am arguing that Ben Hogan was NOT a complete player, especially when compared to today's elite.

I think his ball striking would for sure be on part with the top players.

But these days, you need more than just ball striking to carry you. And no one's ball striking has ever been good enough to compensate for inadequaciesin other areas of the game. Ben Hogan had those inadequacies.

There is a cap on how good of a ball striker you can be. Moe Norman is not a significantly better ball striker than Sergio or Joe Durant.

If you want to believe in fairy tales about the golfers of the olden days, go right ahead. You're welcome to believe in things like God, tooth fairies, and that Ben Hogan could knock it stiff from 175 every time.

My guess is that his per round averages as far as GIR, Driving Distance, Accuracy etc would be right on with the elite ball strikers. His short game...mmmm.....not so much.

Edit: And wtf does Tiger Woods saying Hogan and Moe Norman "owned" his swing even mean? LOL. it's an insignifiacnt statement, a quintessential non sequitor masquerading as a meaningful statement. Symbolic logic is probably not your forte huh?

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Originally Posted by Vijay4LIFE

His ball striking would enable him to be pretty good, but no where near on the level as say someone like Phil M, Tiger, Rory Mc, et al. Those guys are much more "complete players."

Face it. To play at an elite level on the PGA Tour today, you need to be a "complete player," and Hogan simply wasn't.

So bouncing balls off of podiums and sending them out of bounds makes you a complete player?

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Originally Posted by Vijay4LIFE

And wtf does Tiger Woods saying Hogan and Moe Norman "owned" his swing even mean? LOL. it's an insignifiacnt statement, a quintessential non sequitor masquerading as a meaningful statement. Symbolic logic is probably not your forte huh?

If you really don't know what it means when someone says a player owns his swing, then this argument just got infinitely more pointless than it already was.......

You referred to players as being more complete, yet those same players have been known on many occasions to spray balls all over not only the course, but the surrounding area as well.    That is not the definition of a complete player.   The fact is, there is no one who is truly a complete player.  Never has been, never will be.   So again, your argument is pointless....

Furthermore, as was pointed out, Hogan did not have the benefit of coaches either.   Take the coaches away from the modern players on on your list then come back in 5 years and tell us how complete they are.........

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vijay4LIFE View Post

Wow, way to bring the LOLs buddy.

I was thinking the same thing reading your post (3 LOLs in the second paragraph alone ).

Quote:
The whole point of golf is comparing golfers from the past to the present.

That's the whole point of golf? Really?

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We love golf because unlike other sports it is predicated on measurement.

How exactly is golf predicated on measurement in a way other sports are not?

Quote:
In tennis, I will never know if I can return a Nadal Serve. In baseball, I'll never know if I can hit a Greg Maddox homerun. In golf, I know when I pitch in from 40 yards that Tiger couldn't have done it better.

The dimensions of the playing field have changed a lot more in golf than in other sports. One could make the argument the equipment has changed to a greater extent as well. Even if that were not the case, you argument still wouldn't make sense: Yes, any player could potentially pitch in from 40 yards - so how does that have any bearing on how Hogan would do against current players if he were alive today?

Quote:
Plus you don't know how good Hogan would be using todays technology, coaches, etc

Wow, what a joke. First of all, we have a really good idea of how technology affects the game as far as yardage gained. And are you trying to say that Hogan would have a better swing than he did? Please. Hogan was for sure as good as he could have ever been with his full swing, and that's the entire crux of my post. His full swing was great, but the other elements of his game, apart from mental, were at best mediocre and were unlikely to be improved by coaching.

You're making a lot of assumptions (in a very disrespectful way) that really aren't as cut and dried as you seem to believe.

Quote:
I could give you the argument that if Hogan in his prime played with todays technology, coaches, etc he would be the best player in the world. Now would I be right there's no way to tell so it's not worth debating over.

So why don't you? Oh, that's why, you can't. Just another Hogan nuthugger dangling from the idea that he was some type of transcendent golfing machine. Newsflash, that doesn't exist. What does Hogan's mythical legendary status have in common with God, the Easter Bunny, and Santa? All things that don't exist.

What's up with all the hate dude? Did Ben Hogan's great-granddaughter just break up with you or something?

I know you think you have it all figured out, but you might want to check out this thread for some discussion on comparing players of different eras: http://thesandtrap.com/t/2203/jack-or-tiger-whos-the-greatest

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Originally Posted by teamroper60

If you really don't know what it means when someone says a player owns his swing, then this argument just got infinitely more pointless than it already was.......

I'm sorry that I don't deal in platitudes, cliches, and banalities when it comes to serious discussions. Which is exactly what Tiger is speaking in. Let's discuss facts, and numbers. Let's not invoke that which cannot be measured to have a discussion. Let me guess, you voted for George Bush?

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You're probably right about modern athletes being superior, as the population increases alone make the best of the best that much better. But, I think you are way wrong with the assumption that the golf swing was a thing of mystery and not well understood. A lot of the so called knowledge passed of today as scientific fact will be reversed. Take a look at the variance in professional  golf swings and the individual personalities of the golfers and you'll see contradiction about whats best. It also seems that the best athlete is not necessarily the best golfer.

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Really Bubba and Dustin Johnson are the guys you're going to put up against Hogan?  What have they done career wise to warrant a comparison to Hogan....not much, especially DJ.  I like them both but they are hardly the best golfers on Tour.  If you said Rory, Luke Donald, Phil and Tiger I might have thought you were more serious.

You offer no stats but make claims about Hogans game, where are you getting your information from?  Are you old enough to have witnessed him play live?  Do you own recordings of his past matches and reviewed them in detail or are you just trolling?  I can no more prove Hogan would dominate the current Tour than you can prove he couldn't.

One thing Hogan had was the mental toughness to win.  Arnie, Jack, Tiger, Hogan, and only a few others had the mental toughness it takes to win consistently, especially Majors.  With the exception of Rory, I doubt any of the pro's you listed would do well in a tournment that required playing 27 - 36 holes in one day.

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I don't think you're reading my post very carefully. I'm saying as far as ball striking is concerned, he would still probably be very good. Unfortunately, everyone is very good at ball striking today, or maybe you don't watch much golf or look up tour stats?  The point is that Hogan's exceptional ball striking in his day is what was responsible of his success, despite his shortcomings in other areas of the game. His ball striking would not allow him to be dominant any longer.His ball striking would enable him to be pretty good, but no where near on the level as say someone like Phil M, Tiger, Rory Mc, et al. Those guys are much more "complete players." Face it. To play at an elite level on the PGA Tour today, you need to be a "complete player," and Hogan simply wasn't.

Wait, this is a golf forum? Damn, I thought we were talking about sneakers. What's a stat? I'm reading you posts plenty carefully, bud. Maybe watching swing video and seeing the world's best instructors only helps his ball striking 10%, but what's the big picture? Hogan was known for his long hours of practice working on his swing. Maybe with talented instructors, swing video, and the correct ball flight laws he could have spent some (or a lot) of that time on his short game. You don't think consulting with Harmon, Haney, and Foley has freed up some of Tiger's time to work on his own short game? Tiger's had a coach since he could walk, something Hogan never had. Instead of another set of eyes and his swing in slow motion on video, Hogan could only see the ball flight (through the lens of the incorrect ball flight laws) and the shape of his divots. He could have become a "complete player."

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Your first posts on this forum, and you choose this topic? Why? What interest would you have in bad mouthing Ben Hogan?  How about Jones, Snead, Nelson, Sarazen, Palmer, Miller and on and on.  Would they also not be able to compete today?

Would Ty Cobb or Ted Williams be able to hit today's pitchers?  Would Rod Laver or Jack Kramer be able to compete with Nadal? Would Wilt Chamberlain or Oscar Robinson be able to compete in today's NBA? Would Johnny Unitas or Sammy Baugh still be able to throw a pass against today's defenses?

Your original premise is unprovable, as is any response.  Players from the past can only play against the players of their time.

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Originally Posted by Vijay4LIFE

I'm sorry that I don't deal in platitudes, cliches, and banalities when it comes to serious discussions. Which is exactly what Tiger is speaking in. Let's discuss facts, and numbers. Let's not invoke that which cannot be measured to have a discussion. Let me guess, you voted for George Bush?

You want to deal in facts but yet want to draw comparisons between players who never met, never played each other and did not play with the same level of equipment?   Again, your argument is pointless.

And who I voted for in the past, or who I will vote for in the future, really has no bearing on this discussion, now does it?

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Originally Posted by Elmer Fudd

But, I think you are way wrong with the assumption that the golf swing was a thing of mystery and not well understood. A lot of the so called knowledge passed of today as scientific fact will be reversed.

OMG you cannot be serious.

YOU ARE COMPLETELY MISUNDERSTANDING THE WHOLE POINT OF SCIENCE.

Just because science is reversed doesn't mean it was WRONG. It is the systematic process of explaining our CURRENT understandings. Maybe this will make the point better than I can.

science+religion.jpg

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This course is demanding, and it’s hard to believe that 65 could be had out there. I’m not an excellent golfer, but I’m an okay stick. The gap between me and him is a chasm that’s 50 miles wide and 10 miles deep. Do I have complaints? Two minor ones. First, it was less penal to go further offline off the tee. The long wispy grass came into play if you were still close to the fairway, but if you went way off line and ended up under a tree, you were going to get a better lie because there was only pinestraw there. I don’t like really bad misses getting penalized less than average misses. Also, the greenside sand was inconsistent. Some bunkers were like playing out of concrete. I hit a couple of sand shots expecting there to be sand and there was none (in full disclosure, there was a “local rule” that said the bunkers weren’t actually bunkers, but I played them like bunkers). Ultimately, hit the generous fairways and avoid the bunkers, and it isn’t an issue. These are minor quibbles.  We ended the round and went into the pro shop again. We then walked around outside for a little bit, taking some pictures in front of the Payne Stewart statue. We then had to leave pretty quickly to get to the airport. It would have been nice to stay a bit and have a beer while watching golfers come in. But that’s just a reason to come back… (Me at the Payne Stewart statue)
    • I figured you'd be the first to revive this thread.   Our local news is saying there is a chance of snow within the next week, even if it doesn't stick.   The UP is suppose to get 3-5" of snow!
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