Six majors later …
Ben Hogan heroically went on winning after a crippling crash.
Compelling as it has been, the third coming of Tiger Woods mightn’t be the greatest comeback in golfing history.
That distinction probably still belongs to Ben Hogan. In Texas in February 1949, Hogan and his wife were in a head-on collision with a Greyhound bus. Both survived because Hogan threw himself in front of his wife: the steering wheel was driven through the driver’s seat. However, Hogan suffered a double pelvis fracture, among other things, and was told he might never walk again. Before the year was out, he was back on the golf course. He finished second in his comeback tournament, won the 1950 US Open and went on to win another five majors.
Universally acknowledged as one of the greatest of all time, Hogan was also a rare lone wolf in a clubby sport. His icily taciturn manner – he never once called Arnold Palmer, another all-time great, by his name – has been attributed to his father’s suicide by gunshot when Hogan was nine.
The suggestion that his father killed himself in front of Hogan may be apocryphal; likewise the story that his antisocial tendencies were so pronounced that he built himself a house with only one bedroom to pre-empt the horror of overnight guests.
Ben Hogan: suffered a double pelvic fracture.