Authorized, intimate, and definitive, Ben Hogan: A Life is the long-awaited biography of one of golf’s greatest, most enigmatic legends, narrated with the unique eloquence that has made author James Dodson a critically acclaimed national bestseller.
One man is often credited with shaping the landscape of modern golf. Ben Hogan was a short, trim, impeccably dressed Texan whose fierce work ethic, legendary steel nerves, and astonishing triumph over personal disaster earned him not only an army of adoring fans, but one of the finest careers in the history of the sport. Hogan captured a record-tying four U.S. Opens, won five of six major tournaments in a single season, and inspired future generations of professional golfers from Palmer to Norman to Woods.
Yet for all his brilliance, Ben Hogan was an enigma. He was an American hero whose personal life, inner motivation, and famed “secret” were the source of great public mystery. As Hogan grew into a giant on the pro tour, the combination of his cool outward demeanor and invincible, laser-guided accuracy on the golf course froze formidable opponents in their tracks. In 1949, at the peak of his career, Hogan’s mystique was reinforced by a catastrophic automobile accident in which he and his wife, Valerie, were nearly killed after being hit head-on by a Greyhound bus. Doctors predicted Hogan might never walk again – let alone set foot on another golf course. But his miraculous three-year recovery and comeback led to one of the greatest performances in golf history when in 1953 he won the Masters, the U.S. Open, and the British Open (something that’s never been repeated).
In this first-ever family-authorized biography, renowned author James Dodson expertly and emotionally reconstructs Hogan’s complicated life. He discovers an intensely honest man handicapped by self-doubt, buoyed by the determination to prove his own abilities, and unable to escape a long-buried childhood tragedy – the core of the Hogan “secret.” Dodson also reveals both the legendary devotion and eventual strain in Hogan’s sixty-two-year marriage, and a Hogan rarely seen by the public: a warm, jovial man whose charitable spirit and sharp business sense enabled him to build the powerful golf equipment company bearing his name to this day. Ben Hogan: A Life is the authoritative inside portrait golf fans have long awaited.
Ben Hogan is widely credited with ushering in the modern era of golf. His legendary practice sessions, intense perfectionism and iron determination helped turn a lazy gentleman's game into a high-stakes, competitive sport. Yet Hogan's unprecedented achievements on the golf course were often overshadowed by his fierce demeanor and public reticence, which fueled wild speculations about every aspect of his guarded life and gave birth to countless myths and misrepresentations. Dodson (Final Rounds) resurrects the flesh-and-blood man from the ashes of apocrypha, providing the most intimate and richly textured portrait of the famous golfer to date. Although reverential, Dodson doesn't shy away from the darker aspects of the Hogan story, exposing a vulnerable and pathologically obsessive man whose dogged resolve and incomparable success were matched only by his hidden shame and self-doubt. Reared in Depression-era Texas, nine-year-old Hogan witnessed his father's suicide, a formative event that Dodson believes spurred Hogan's prodigious ambition and drive, as well as his compulsive tendencies and extreme need for privacy. All the mesmerizing stories including Hogan's near-miraculous comeback and triumph at the 1950 U.S. Open after a debilitating car crash, and his record-setting 1953 season in which he won the Masters, U.S. Open and British Open are related in lush and loving detail, without overlooking anecdotes about the era's other great players and colorful personalities, such as Sam Snead, Byron Nelson and Jimmy Demaret. As much about the game as about Hogan himself, Dodson's nuanced and engrossing biography adds new depth to a figure who has been excessively scrutinized but rarely understood.
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Great insight into the life of Ben Hogan
Great read, very insightful, a must-read for all Hogan fans