Ben Hogan

1953 / Carnoustie

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.

Name
Finish
R1
R2
R3
R4
Total
Par
Ben HOGAN
1
73
71
70
68
282
-
Frank STRANAHAN
2
70
74
73
69
286
-
Antonio CERDA
2
75
71
69
71
286
-
2
72
72
71
71
286
-
Dai REES
2
72
70
73
71
286
-
6
72
71
71
73
287
-
Sam KING
7
74
73
72
71
290
-
8
72
73
74
72
291
-
Eric BROWN
9
71
71
75
75
292
-
Peter ALLISS
9
75
72
74
71
292
-
11
73
75
71
75
294
-
12
74
71
73
77
295
-
Arthur LEES
13
76
76
72
72
296
-
T.H.T. FAIRBAIRN
14
74
71
73
79
297
-
Harry WEETMAN
14
80
73
72
72
297
-
John JACOBS
14
79
74
71
73
297
-
Hassan HASSANEIN
17
78
71
73
76
298
-
Charlie WARD
17
78
71
76
73
298
-
Adina Test
17
83
70
72
73
298
-
Reg HORNE
20
76
74
75
74
299
-
Flory VAN DONCK
20
77
71
78
73
299
-
Syd SCOTT
22
74
74
78
74
300
-
Hector THOMSON
22
76
74
74
76
300
-
Christy O'CONNOR SR
24
77
77
72
75
301
-
Lloyd MANGRUM
24
75
76
74
76
301
-
Reg KNIGHT
24
74
79
74
74
301
-
Ugo GRAPPASONNI
27
77
75
72
78
302
-
John PANTON
27
79
74
76
73
302
-
R. FERGUSON
29
77
75
74
77
303
-
Tom HALIBURTON
29
75
76
76
76
303
-
Alan POULTON
29
75
77
75
76
303
-
Norman SUTTON
29
76
72
76
79
303
-
Jack HARGREAVES
33
81
73
76
74
304
-
Eddie WHITCOMBE
34
76
78
73
78
305
-
Bernard HUNT
34
79
74
77
75
305
-
Hamish BALLINGALL
34
80
74
77
74
305
-
Ken BOUSFIELD
34
78
76
79
72
305
-
R.G. FRENCH
38
79
71
77
79
306
-
Peter MILLS
38
80
73
72
81
306
-
Jean-Baptiste ADO
40
75
77
75
81
308
-
Bill SHANKLAND
41
78
76
78
79
311
-
J.R. MOSES
42
81
73
76
82
312
-
George KNIGHT
42
75
78
81
78
312
-
L. TOPPING
42
77
73
81
81
312
-
W.J. HENDERSON
45
78
74
80
81
313
-
Geoffrey HUNT
45
74
74
79
86
313
-
47
80
74
80
80
314
-
Gregor MCINTOSH
47
78
75
80
81
314
-
John BURTON
49
75
77
87
78
317
-
Jimmy HITCHCOCK
M/C
75
80
-
-
-
M/C
M. FERGUSON
M/C
76
79
-
-
-
M/C
H.A.J. YOUNG
M/C
76
79
-
-
-
M/C
W.C.A. HANCOCK
M/C
79
76
-
-
-
M/C
Harry BRADSHAW
M/C
77
79
-
-
-
M/C
T.A. HARRISON
M/C
75
81
-
-
-
M/C
Wallace MCARTHUR
M/C
77
79
-
-
-
M/C
Peter GILL
M/C
82
74
-
-
-
M/C
Frank MILLER
M/C
79
77
-
-
-
M/C
H.O. PICKWORTH
M/C
79
77
-
-
-
M/C
Jimmy ADAMS
M/C
82
74
-
-
-
M/C
Fred BULLOCK
M/C
84
72
-
-
-
M/C
Laurie AYTON JR
M/C
77
79
-
-
-
M/C
Ken ADWICK
M/C
84
72
-
-
-
M/C
M/C
77
80
-
-
-
M/C
P.E. LOXLEY
M/C
80
77
-
-
-
M/C
Robert HALSALL
M/C
78
79
-
-
-
M/C
Alastair HENDERSON
M/C
82
76
-
-
-
M/C
Jack PRESLEY
M/C
81
77
-
-
-
M/C
Aldo CASERA
M/C
82
76
-
-
-
M/C
Walter LEES
M/C
83
76
-
-
-
M/C
H.W. MEYERS
M/C
82
77
-
-
-
M/C
J.S. ANDERSON
M/C
80
79
-
-
-
M/C
John FALLON
M/C
80
79
-
-
-
M/C
J.C. WILSON
M/C
78
82
-
-
-
M/C
Albert PELISSIER
M/C
81
79
-
-
-
M/C
J.A. JACOBS
M/C
79
81
-
-
-
M/C
K.G. GEDDES
M/C
78
83
-
-
-
M/C
William MACDONALD
M/C
80
81
-
-
-
M/C
E.W. WARD
M/C
82
79
-
-
-
M/C
D.W. FAIRFIELD
M/C
82
79
-
-
-
M/C
Gordon DURWARD
M/C
84
78
-
-
-
M/C
J. ANGUS
M/C
84
78
-
-
-
M/C
Fred BOOBYER
M/C
82
80
-
-
-
M/C
A. M. DEBOYS
M/C
83
81
-
-
-
M/C
R.A. KING
M/C
80
84
-
-
-
M/C
Eddie LARGE
M/C
80
84
-
-
-
M/C
R.L. GARNER
M/C
82
82
-
-
-
M/C
Norman DUNCAN
M/C
87
79
-
-
-
M/C
R. LOTH
M/C
85
82
-
-
-
M/C
E.J. WALLIS
M/C
86
87
-
-
-
M/C
Vicomte DE SAINT-SAUVEUR
M/C
93
87
-
-
-
M/C

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