1950: Ben Hogan hits a 1 iron approach on the 18th hole at Merion during the US Open

Merion
Pictured is the iconic photograph of Ben Hogan, taken by Hy Peskin

This Day in Hogan History: Ben Hogan hits a 1 iron approach on the 18th hole at Merion during the 1950 US Open.The photograph taken became one of the most famous golf photographs of all time.

By: Mark Baron – On June 10, 1950 Ben Hogan played in the third and fourth round of the U.S. Open (the final two rounds were played in one day up until 1965 when the USGA changed it to a four-day tournament)

In the third round, the morning round on the final day Saturday, Lloyd Mangrum shot a one under par 69 to take a one shot lead over Dutch Harrison and two strokes over Ben who shot a two over par 72.

In the fourth round, Ben needed a par on the final hole to tie Lloyd Mangrum and George Fazio.  However, getting to the 72nd hole was almost a miracle in itself. It was a mere 16 months prior that Ben was involved in a near fatal head on collision with a Greyhound Bus and was given the prognosis that he would never be able to walk again without being in excruciating pain and that he would most certainly never be able to play competitive golf again.


On the 12th hole, Hogan almost fell down, and he could barely walk. Hogan told the caddy that he could not go on, but the caddy reportedly said, “No sir, Mr. Hogan.  I don’t work for no quitters.  I will see you on the next tee.”


Pictured: The plaque that was placed on the 18th hole at Merion memorializing the shot

He played the 18th heroically, slashing a second shot, one iron, to 40 feet from the pin.  It was at that moment that Hy Peskin snapped arguably, the most famous golf photograph, perhaps the most famous in all sports photograph. Taken from behind Hogan, at the end of his follow through, in perfect form, with his right heel up exposing the extra spike Ben had customized in his shoes, his 1-iron parallel to the ground and with the thousands of spectators mesmerized by the flight of the ball.

Ben finished the 18th hole with a par and shot a three over par 74 to finish in a three way tie with Lloyd Mangrum and George Fazio.  He went on to win the playoff the next day completing the greatest comebacks in sports history.

 

Pictured is the one-iron that Ben Hogan used to make the shot on display at the USGA Museum in Far Hills, New Jersey.

Mark Baron

Mark Baron is a Ben Hogan expert who posts daily about the legend. Check out Mark's huge following on the Ben Hogan Facebook Page and stay tuned for special Hogan anniversaries for Mark's insight. Check out the page here: www.facebook.com/benhogangolf

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