Expanded Content: Book Reviews - Ben Hogan - The Myths Everyone Knows, The Man No One Knew
There have been numerous books chronicling the life and career of Ben Hogan.
Most are biographical in nature, and all quite good. Now comes a book that gives a view of the man by someone who worked for and with Hogan at his golf ball and equipment company.
"Ben Hogan - The Myths Everyone Knows, The Man No One Knew," by Tim Scott (Triumph Books, $24.95), provides a truly inside look at one of golf's greatest players -- and one of its most enigmatic.
Scott, who worked at the AMF Ben Hogan Company from 1969 to 1982, the last eight as Vice President of Sales and Marketing, provides a collection of stories, anecdotes, and experiences culled from his own relationship with his employer, Hogan's playing competitors, employees, fellow country club members, Ben Hogan staff professionals, and family members.
The author acknowledges that his book is not a biography but rather an effort to examine and uncover parts of the Hogan mystique, legacy, and the misconceptions about his personality, idiosyncrasies, and moral and ethical values.
Writers for years have studied Hogan and attempted to penetrate this complex individual. Scott takes a different route -- actually from an office down the hall from where his boss ruled. He recounts those moments when Hogan was so totally focused on studying the design elements of a new rendition of a club that he forgot anyone else was in the room, and recalls the tears streaming down his cheeks as he stood at the burial site of his constant driving range companion, Max, the country club's resident hound. At a sales meeting, the supposedly humorless Hogan playfully strode in wearing a woman's wig while deploring the competition's latest equipment and proclaiming the Ben Hogan Company's product superiority, stirring his sales force to a fever pitch. There are scores of other recollections that can only be retold by someone who was there or ones experienced and recounted by fellow employees and workplace associates.
Scott unearthed many examples of a Hogan golf fans barely knew. He was extremely compassionate and charitable, and only his closest friends and family knew of the untold instances where he anonymously donated food, clothing, and money to people in need. The author also analyzed Hogan's rigid personal daily regimen from his hours on the practice tee to his schedule of meals as well their specific preparation, and Hogan's ritual of wearing a crisp, freshly ironed and coordinated wardrobe down to his pricey custom-made shoes from London.
Hogan would be pleased by the author's meticulous research and devotion to factual clarity throughout the book. But in true Hogan style, he would more than likely distance himself from it by declaring such a journalistic effort as "people would think I was bragging." Well, unlike Ben Hogan, Tim Scott should brag a bit. The book is worthy of it.