Mr. Hogan, The Man I Knew

Kris Tschetter’s terrific book describes how she became friends with Ben Hogan when she was a young member at Shady Oaks CC. Under Ben Hogan’s tutelage, Kris would go on to become a winner on the  LPGA Tour.

“You know, Mr. Hogan, a lot of people have talked about your secret,” he [Dr. Bob Rotella] said. “What do you regard as your secret?”

Mr. Hogan didn’t hesitate. He said, “Well, my secret, if there is one, is that I didn’t start winning championships until I learned that it was okay to hit irons off the three or four tees that scared the heck out of me. For a long time I felt that in order to win big tournaments I had to attack the long, tough holes. So, I’d hit driver no matter how scary the hole was, and I’d end up making a double or triple and shoot myself out of the tournament.

I came to grip with the fact that if I hit irons off those tees and just laid up to a particular spot, the worst score I was going to make on those holes was a bogey. Once I reconciled in my mind that it was okay to play those holes that way, and that bogey was not all that bad, I got comfortable and ended up making a lot more pars on those holes. I occasionally made a birdie, too. But I stopped making doubles and triples. That was the secret to winning major championships, avoiding a big blowup. Unfortunately, that’s not what people want to hear from me.”

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