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Hogan Forever

On July 25, 1997, Ben Hogan died in Fort Worth at the age of 85; his widow, Valerie, did not long survive him. In the season of 2000, Tiger Woods smashed scoring records in the U.S. Open, the British Open, and the PGA Championship, winning nine tournaments for the year, and setting the golfing world on its ear. So what happened? Book after book on Hogan emerges, as though the man hadn't won his last tournament at Colonial in 1959, and as though he had not since departed the scene in more than one way. The evidence says that Hogan never left us, and that Hogan, not Woods, is the man people think of when they consider that infernal anomaly, the golf swing, and the challenge of golf itself People still talk about Hogan—they do so even when they talk about Woods. Tiger's nine wins were a lot, but Hogan won 11 in 1948 and 13 in 1946. Tiger Woods won three out of four major championships in 2000, but Hogan won three out of the three he entered in 1953. At the Players Championship in 2000, Hal Sutton explicitly refused to be intimidated by Tiger Woods, and a look in his bag revealed one reason why: a set of irons forged with the name Ben Hogan. The man just won't go away.

In recent times, we have seen the release of various videotapes devoted to Hogan, such as Clem Darracott's In Pursuit of Perfection (The Bootlegger, 1995), an excellent home movie of Hogan practicing at Augusta in 1967; a digitized...

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