Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Ryder Cup History - Ben Hogan

Since this is the most pretigious week in match play golf in the world it seems fitting to provide a little history on the Ryder Cup, especially about Ben Hogan and those other great players on his American Team. Some of the names on those historic teams are easily recognizable as members of golf 'legends' category and others were just plain great golfers! All deserved and received a tremendous amount of attention and praise for their participation and play during those earlier years of competition between the US and Great Britain.

Ben Hogan's record in the Ryder Cup was perfect both as a player and as a captain of the team. Hogan played in 1947 and 1951. He was the captain in 1949 and 1967. We could sure use someone like him now! I hope Paul Azinger and the PGA get a bit of inspiration from Hogan's record.

In 1947 Hogan was a player/captain. The team consisted of Sam Snead, Jimmy Demaret, Herman Barron, Lew Wersham, Lloyd Mangrum, Byron Nelson, Dutch Harrison, Herman Keiser, and Ed Oliver. The results was a lopsided 11-1 vitory for the American team.

In 1949 Hogan was still recovering from the trauma of the auto accident with a Greyhound bus that nearly killed him and his wife, Valerie. He still made the trip over to Great Britain. Pictures of Hogan shows a somewht gaunt physique. Team members were Skip Alexander, Jimmy Demaret, Chick Harbert, Dutch Harrison, Lloyd Mangrum, Clayton Haefner, Ed Dudley, Sam Snead, Johnny Palmer, and Bob Hamilton. The Brits made a real competition of it this time but were defeated 7 to 5.

Hogan was back again as a player in 1951 to contribute to another overwhelming American victory margin of 9 1/2 to 2 1/2. The American team was comprised of Jackie Burke, Jr. Ed Oliver, Jimmy Demaret, Henry Ransom, Sam Snead, Lloyd Mangrum, Clayton Haefner, Skip Alexander, and Dutch Harrison. The American squads continued in this tradition for many more competitions between the two friendly golf giants.

1967 was a remarkable year for Hogan with his near win at the Masters and his captaincy of the American Ryder Cup team that once again came away with the cherished cup prize. His players included many new golf stars that you may recognize such as Arnold Palmer, Al Geiberger, Julios Boros, Gardner Dickinson, Gene Littler, Billy Casper, Johnny Pott, Bobby Nichols, Gay Brewer, and Doug Sanders. Hosted by the new Champions Club in Houston this was a squad of well known and flambouant players as TV had started to make its mark on golf as a spectator sport in the US and abroad. In the new scoring format the Americans doused the Brits again with a 23 1/2 to 8 1/2 final score. Ben Hogan's speech at the team dinners really said it when he introduced his team as 'the finest golfers in the world'. The Brits never had a chance!

In our archives, we actually have some film clips from the 1947 Ryder Cup. Its black and white but of very good quality.

www.TheBenHoganCollection.com would like to have you visit. There is a free downloadable screensaver available on the site comprised on an excellent Ben Hogan swing sequence as well as our other products and software. You can also view the three 60 second commercial spots that aired on the Golf Channel and Fox Sports Net. For an interesting treat also visit www.ClassicSportsBrands.com that we are partnering with to produce the 'Five Lessons, The Modern Fundamentals of Golf' dvd. The Request for Proposals were sent out this past week but can still be accessed by request. The deadline for the Proposal submissions is October 2, 2008.

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