William Ben Hogan was an American professional golfer widely regarded as one of the greatest players in the game’s history. He is well-known for his profound impact on golf swing theory and his ball-striking ability. Did you know what happened to Ben Hogan after his near-fatal car crash?
Ben Hogan was involved in a near-fatal car accident. It was a head-on collision with a bus. Hogan threw himself in front of his wife to protect her, saving him from being impaled by the steering wheel. He won six more majors, including three in one year, after spending two months in the hospital and undergoing multiple surgeries.
The Early Swings of Ben Hogan
William Ben Hogan, the son of a blacksmith, was born on August 13, 1912, in Dublin, Texas. Hogan began caddying and playing golf at 12 after moving to Fort Worth. He switched from his natural left-handed stance to hitting right-handed at that point.
Despite his uncontrollable hook, Hogan turned pro at the age of 17 and joined the tour at the age of 19. Even the greatest golfers face setbacks, and Hogan was no exception. Joining the time was simply not an option for him. A second attempt two years later failed as well. Hogan returned to the tour in 1937, but it took a few years for him to start cashing checks regularly. Soon, the checks began to pile up, and he was the tour’s leading money winner in 1940, 1941, and 1942.
After serving in the Army during WWII, Hogan won his first major, the PGA Championship, in 1946. He won another PGA and his first US Open two years later. (Source: Ben Hogan Foundation)
The Near-Death Experience
On February 2, 1949, while traveling through West Texas with his wife, Valerie, a significant turning point in Hogan’s life occurred. A Greyhound bus, swinging out to pass a truck on a country road about 150 miles east of El Paso, collided with Hogan’s car head-on.
The force of the collision pushed the engine into the driver’s seat and the steering wheel into the back seat. On the other hand, Hogan suffered a broken collarbone, a smashed rib, a double fracture of the pelvis, and a broken ankle. Unfortunately, he would have lifelong circulation problems and other physical limitations. His doctors said he might never walk again, let alone compete in golf. He was discharged from the hospital on April 1, 59 days after the accident.
He was too weak to swing a club or walk far that summer. But, miraculously, he was competing in a tournament by the following January, astounding the sports world. And he was playing well, finishing tied for first with Sam Snead before losing in the playoff.
Hogan won the US Open just 16 months after his near-fatal accident. Merion in Pennsylvania is now open. Hogan kept his US citizenship in 1951. When he shot 32 on the back nine in the final round, he won by two strokes at the rugged Oakland Hills in Michigan. He also won his first Master’s with a then-record score of 274.
In ten years of competing in the US. Hogan’s record in the Open of 1946 to 56 was extraordinary: four firsts, two seconds, a third, a fourth, and two sixths. (Source: Ben Hogan Foundation)
What Happened After the Accident?
Hogan finished his career with 64 tournament victories and nine professional major championships. Only Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, and Walter Hagen have more professional majors.
He concentrated on managing his company after his professional career declined. In 1957, he co-wrote the book Five Lessons: The Modern Fundamentals of Golf, which has sold over 10 million copies and remains a best-seller nearly 50 years later. It is widely regarded as one of the best instructional books on the game of golf ever written. (Source: Ben Hogan Foundation)