“I needed that win”
AND WHAT A GROOVE it turned out to be. The volcano had erupted. Hogan proceeded to win the Greater Greensboro Open and the Land of the Sky Open in Asheville.
In three tournaments, Hogan played 216 holes 34-under-par, breaking par 11 of 12 rounds. He broke 70 on all but two rounds – the final two on No. 2. He three-putted just two greens, both in Asheville. Ten of 12 rounds were on Donald Ross golf courses (the exception being Starmount Forest, where the Greensboro field was divided with Sedgefield). Hogan won $6,438 in three months, and eventually claimed the 1940 top-money prize with $10,655 and collected the Vardon Trophy as well.
“I won one just in time. I had finished second and third so many times I was beginning to think I was an also-ran. I needed that win.” -Ben Hogan
Given that nudge of confidence from Pinehurst, Hogan went on to become one of the top golfers of all time. He claimed the money-winning and Vardon titles again the following two years, won North and Souths again in 1942 and ’46 and became one of four players to win a career grand slam: four U.S. Opens, two Masters, two PGA Championships and one British Open. He was a member of the 1951 Ryder Cup team that whipped the British 9½ to 2½ at Pinehurst.
“I always loved to play Pinehurst,” Hogan said in a 1991 interview. “I thought it was a great place. I thoroughly enjoyed every minute I stayed there. I must have played No. 2 I don’t know how many times. But my record shows I won it three times.
“The whole golf course was a most pleasant and testing golf course. It’s a real test of golf. The North and South Open was a ‘major’ then. Pinehurst was a golf Mecca.”
And it was the launching pad to stardom for one Ben Hogan.
Lee Pace is a regular contributor to the Pinehurst Blog. He latest book, “The Golden Age of Pinehurst—The Rebirth of No. 2,” is available in all retail shops at Pinehurst. Pinehurst is paying tribute to the 75th anniversary of Hogan’s triumph.
If you would like to purchase any of the photos appearing on this page, please contact the Tufts Archives.