Stainless Steel

This book seems to be a coffee-table job for golfers, and no doubt there are many who will enjoy it that way. Some may even fancy that they will learn something about golf from it, but I think that something will be limited. No, this openly closed book reveals nothing that was not for years hidden in plain sight; it tells nothing that was not known and is not told and retold. Yet it is immensely valuable for living up to its title with literal truth and graphic clarity, hi image after image, it demonstrates the mystique of a man who happened to play golf and who—though he has not appeared in competition for a quarter of a century—is still spoken of in hushed tones, no longer as "The Hawk," as he used to be called, but as "Mr. I logan."

Jules Alexander's photographs of Ben Hogan in action at the U.S. Open at Winged Foot in 1959, and at Westchester in 1970 and elsewhere, are the heart of this book, and they are the finest of their kind that I have ever seen. Alexander's old Nikon, in these black and whites, drinks in every texture of grass and leaves, of cotton and wool, and shows something about an America that is already past. The photographs are of museum quality, and some of them even look posed. One particularly resembles either the first stage of an oil painting before the hues are worked up, or else a retro advertisement for Ralph Lauren. Indeed, an analysis of the Hogan wardrobe would...

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