Numbers that defined Ben Hogan’s greatness
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Will always be associated with Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial
Written by Justin Ray @JustinRayGolf
Colonial Country Club, the Charles Schwab Challenge, and golf in the state of Texas will always be synonymous with 64-time PGA TOUR winner Ben Hogan.
Not only does Hogan’s statue greet players and fans by the clubhouse, but he is also the most prolific winner in this tournament’s history, with five victories. Hogan remains the last player to win this tournament in back-to-back years (1952 and 1953), a feat Sam Burns would love to replicate this week.
More than 25 years after his death in 1997, it’s easy to lose sight of just how staggering Hogan’s achievements were. After surviving a near-fatal car accident in 1949, he assembled one of the greatest major championship runs in the history of the sport. Diving deeper into the numbers only further illuminates his greatness.
MAJOR CHAMPIONSHIP DOMINANCE
From 1939 through 1956, Hogan never finished worse than 10th at the Masters. That’s 14 consecutive top-10 finishes at Augusta National, with the tournament not being held for three years during that span because of war, and Hogan missing the 1949 major championship season after his car crash.
This streak is overlooked, especially considering only five players besides Hogan have more than 14 top-10 Masters finishes in their entire careers. What’s more, no player has had a run of 10 or more consecutive top-10s at Augusta since Jack Nicklaus from 1970 through 1979. And Hogan’s 14 straight is twice as long as Tiger Woods’ longest streak of top-10 finishes at the Masters (seven).
During Hogan’s 14-year run at the Masters he was a combined 24 under par. Among players with at least 20 rounds played in that span, that was 36 strokes better than the nearest competitor (Sam Snead, +12). Hogan bettered the field per round by an average of 3.59 strokes, the only player to distance himself from the field by three or more shots. For his career, he averaged 2.52 Strokes Gained: Total per round at the Masters, the best average all-time for any player with 30 or more rounds of competition.
As incredible as his run was at Augusta, Hogan may have been even better at the U.S. Open. He finished sixth or better in 12 consecutive U.S. Open starts from 1940 through 1956. During that time span, his scoring average was a full stroke better per round than any other player with 20 or more competitive U.S. Open rounds. Even more impressive was how thoroughly he was beating the field average – by a whopping 4.94 strokes per round, far-and-away the best of any player during that time.
Looking at the two American stroke play majors together during that time span paints an even more vivid picture of Hogan’s dominance. At the Masters and U.S. Open from 1939 through 1960, Hogan teed it up 34 times, finishing in the top five in 19 of those events. He averaged 3.71 Strokes Gained: Total per round, six-tenths of a stroke more than any other player during that stretch. In nearly 30 percent of his rounds played, he gained at least five full strokes on the field.
|Ben Hogan at Masters & U.S. Open - 1939-1960|
|SG: Total per round||3.71||1st|
|Rounds in the 60s||29||1st|
|Rounds with 5+ SG: Total||40||1st|
|Rounds with 7+ SG: Total||19||1st|
Hogan played The Open Championship once – at Carnoustie in 1953. He won by four shots. That season, he played three major championships and won them all. From the 1948 PGA through that win at Carnoustie, Hogan won eight majors in just eleven starts – the only man in history to achieve that feat.
BLANKETING THE TOUR RECORD BOOKS
Hogan won 13 times on the PGA TOUR in 1946 and 10 more in 1948, and remains the only player to post double-digit wins more than once. On two occasions he won five or more consecutive TOUR starts, the only player in history to do that more than once aside from Woods (three times). Hogan won 47 times on the PGA TOUR in his 30s, still the most of any player all-time, and led the PGA TOUR’s season-long money list on five occasions – only Nicklaus (eight) and Woods (10) have done it more times.
|Most Single Season Wins - PGA TOUR History|
Nobody besides Hogan has won more than two PGA TOUR titles at Colonial Country Club. Of all the PGA TOUR events on the 2022-23 schedule, Colonial has the longest active streak without a back-to-back winner (Hogan, 70 years ago). The Wyndham Championship has the second-longest drought without a back-to-back champ – Sam Snead was the last to do it in 1955-56.
Hogan carries an enduring legacy of groundbreaking golf theory, relentless work ethic and arguably the greatest comeback in the history of this sport. His incredible statistics only enhance the Texas legend.