UNDERCOVER TOUR PRO
Capturing Hogan’s mystique.
In 1959, Jules Alexander was a fashion photographer who, on a whim, took the train from New York City to suburban Mamaroneck to check out the US Open at Winged Foot Golf Club. Alexander hadn’t photographed golf. He didn’t have a press credential. Yet when he wandered onto the course, he was perceptive enough to recognise something unique in Ben Hogan who, at 46, was still a commanding presence.
Alexander died in August, 2016, at 90, after a celebrated career capturing iconic images of the game’s biggest figures, from Palmer to Nicklaus to Woods. Alexander’s most celebrated picture is the one above of Hogan leaning against his putter on the green, head turned to the side, a cigarette in his right hand. When Alexander told the story of that photo, he recalled Hogan holding his position just long enough for the photographer to make it work. “I sit at my desk, and I can see the picture every day, and just recently I began to think, Why did he stand there just long enough for me to take all these frames with three different cameras?” Alexander said in 2006. “I’m going to have the temerity to think that he posed for me by saying to himself, I’m going to give this guy a shot.”
“My dad loved golf because it brought people together,” said Carl Alexander, Jules’ youngest son, who is director of golf at the Golf Club of Purchase in New York. “And he liked it because it had integrity to it, and that’s what he was all about. That’s what he taught us.” – sam weinman
The artist and his muse Jules Alexander (inset) and his iconic Ben Hogan photograph.