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Ben Hogan

The "Hogan Slam" Season

The “Open” win at Carnoustie was a part of Hogan’s watershed 1953 season.

He won five of the six tournaments he entered and the first three major championships of the year (a feat known as the “Hogan Slam”).
It still stands among the greatest single seasons in the history of professional golf.

Hogan was unable to enter, and possibly win, the 1953 PGA Championship (to complete the Grand Slam) because its play (July 1–7) overlapped the play of the British Open at Carnoustie (July 6–10), which he won. It was the only time a golfer won three major championships in a year until Tiger Woods matched the feat in 2000.

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Between the years of 1938 through 1959, Hogan won 63 professional golf tournaments despite his career being interrupted in its prime by World War II and a near-fatal car accident. Hogan served in the U.S. Army Air Forces from March 1943 to June 1945, becoming a utility pilot with the rank of lieutenant stationed at Fort Worth, Texas.

Hogan and his wife, Valerie, survived a head-on collision with a Greyhound bus on a fog-shrouded bridge, early in the morning, east of Van Horn, Texas on February 2, 1949. Hogan threw himself across Valerie in order to protect her, and would have been killed had he not done so, as the steering column punctured the driver’s seat.

This accident left Hogan, age 36, with a double-fracture of the pelvis, a fractured collar bone, a left ankle fracture, a chipped rib, and near-fatal blood clots: he would suffer lifelong circulation problems and other physical limitations. His doctors said he might never walk again, let alone play golf competitively. While in hospital, Hogan’s life was endangered by a blood clot problem, leading doctors to tie off the vena cava. Hogan left the hospital on April 1, 59 days after the accident.

After regaining his strength by extensive walking, he resumed golf activities in November 1949. He returned to the PGA Tour to start the 1950 season, at the Los Angeles Open, where he tied with Sam Snead over 72 holes, but lost the 18-hole playoff.

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