82nd Open - Carnoustie 1953
Huge crowds watch Hogan take The Open title in style
Ben Hogan made his only appearance in The Open in 1953 at Carnoustie and won the Claret Jug. He was the greatest golfer of his generation and since a car crash, in which he nearly died, in 1949 he had played in very few tournaments, concentrating on the Masters and the US Open. In 1953 he won both those titles and decided to make the journey to Scotland. He arrived a week early to practice with the smaller British ball and learn the course.
Just like everyone else, he qualified for the Championship itself and then produced rounds of 73, 71, 70 and 68 for a total of 282 and a four-stroke victory over Peter Thomson, Dai Rees, Antonio Cerda and amateur Frank Stranahan. He is one of only four Open Champions to improve his score each time over four rounds.
Huge galleries followed his progress, his only other visit to Britain being for the 1956 Canada Cup at Wentworth. After the third round he moved into a tie for the lead with Roberto de Vicenzo, who dropped to sixth at the end, and Hogan’s closing round was a new course record for Carnoustie. He birdied the long sixth in both the last two rounds, going down the narrow ally between the bunkers and the out of bounds on the left. Legend has it, and with Hogan they are more usually true than not, his afternoon tee shot finished in his own divot from the morning round.
Not until Tiger Woods in 2000 would a player match his three Major titles in the same year. It was the ninth and last Major of Hogan’s career, the last six coming in eight appearances. He vowed he would return but never did.
|2||Frank STRANAHAN (A)||USA||70||74||73||69||286|
|6||Roberto DE VICENZO||ARG||72||71||71||73||287|