Ben Hogan made his only appearance in The Open in 1953 at Carnoustie and won the Claret Jug in a fitting climax to a glorious career.
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 practise with the smaller British ball and learn the course.
Just like everyone else, he qualified for The Open 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 Champion Golfers 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. Struggles with his putter saw him post an opening-round 73 – tied for seventh, three shots behind fellow American Stranahan.
Hogan continued to struggle on the greens in round two but a score of 71 moved him to a tie for fourth, on even par, as Scotland’s Eric Brown and Wales’ Rees led the way on two-under, with Roberto De Vicenzo one stroke behind.
In addition to the support of the locals, Hogan also had some famous fans in attendance as Frank Sinatra, who was performing at a concert in Dundee, was in the gallery for day two and told the media that “all America is rooting for Hogan."
In the third round, the eight-time major winner made his move – joining De Vicenzo atop the leaderboard after birdieing the 18th to card a 70.
Battling chills, flu and old injuries from his car accident four years prior, Hogan later admitted he was desperate to avoid a 36-hole play-off. And he did – in style.
A remarkable birdie at the fifth changed the trajectory of his final round as he found himself deeply bunkered with a bad angle but chipped in from 30 feet.
He then birdied the par-five sixth by driving down the narrow alley of fairway between the bunkers and out of bounds on the left; a strip of land since known as Hogan’s Alley.
The Champion Golfer to-be then opened up a two-shot lead by the 13th, saved par at 17 and finished off a course-record round of 68 – bettering the mark set by Cerda in the third round earlier that morning – with a final birdie at 18.
Not until Tiger Woods in 2000 would a player match his three major titles in the same year. It was the ninth and final major of Hogan’s career, the last six coming in eight appearances. He vowed he would return but never did.