Sunday, August 25, 2013

August 25, 1946: Ben Hogan Wins His First Major

On August 25, 1946, Ben Hogan won the first major of his career by outdueling Ed "Porky" Oliver at the Portland Country Club in Oregon. The 34 year old Hogan had success before he finally won his first major. He had been the leading money winner in 1940,'41, and '42 and on this day he was going to reach an achievement that all professional golfers strive for. Oliver reached the finals after a surprising win over Byron Nelson in the quarterfinals, then knocked of Harold McSpaden to reach the finals. Hogan had never gotten past the quarterfinals until '46, he had proved to be a winner it just took a little time to get over that hump. Hogan knocked off Frank Moor and Jimmy Demaret to set up the showdown with Oliver. It was battle between one of the bigger men in Oliver who weighed around 220 pounds and the much smaller Hogan who weighed in at just 135. Hogan trailed Oliver by 3 after the first round, however, he finished the round with a birdie and he would continue to drop birdies. By the time the golfers reached the Hogan had came storming back, he dropped consecutive birdies on 28 and 29 and held a 4 stroke advantage. On the 32nd hole Hogan had another sure birdie on the way when Oliver missed his putt and conceded the match. Hogan had just won his first major and would be taking home a $3,500 prize, by today's standards that would be more than $40,000. Hogan went onto win eight more majors to bring his total to nine in his career. His nine wins is good for fourth on the all time list for major wins, only Walter Hagen, Tiger Woods, and Jack Nicklaus have more.

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