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Monday, October 13, 2008

Ben Hogan Collection stories

One of the best stories I heard about Ben Hogan had to do with his mastery of the pitching wedge. We are well aware that he could hit all 18 greens and hit all the fairways in a typical round. We are also aware thanks to HBO that Mr. Hogan's wedge shot in 1960 at the US Open came up short by 3 feet and ended up in the water, costing him the Championship.

But this is a better story, one that dares to be tested. Jody Vasquez in his book, 'Afternoons with Mr. Hogan' told this story about how Mr. Hogan could make his ball spin back uphill on the green. During practice sessions tended to by Vasquez he would watch Mr. Hogan practice from behind the green, down the slope of a green that sloped away from him. He would hit a crisp wedge shot up and towards the hole and make the ball back up - uphill! Vasquez said that he had never to this day seen anybody do that.

In fact, he told the story to Nick Faldo who promptly tried to match this feat. He tried and failed, repeatedly.

Ah, the Mystique lives on. I wonder who wll try to match this shot? Could Phil Mickelson do it? After all, he is the master of the present day wedge, showing off with Dave Pelz on one occasion on film and on another hitting a wedge that went backwards from where he was aiming at back on to the green. Pretty cool stuff.

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