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THE Iconic Golf Image - Ben Hogan at Merion

ericbowles

Atlanta, US
9292 posts

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ericbowles Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge and high level skills in various areas, especially Landscape and Wildlife Photoghraphy Writer Ribbon awarded for for his article contributions to the community Nikonian since 25th Nov 2005
Sat 15-Jun-13 11:47 AM

This week the US Open has returned to Merion - the site of Ben Hogan's 1950 Open victory just 16 months after a near fatal automobile crash. It's also the site of what is probably the most iconic golf photo ever created - one that is perfectly executed and captures the moment.

Here's a great article from Golf Digest.
http://www.golfdigest.com/golf-tours-news/us-open/2013-06/us-open-hy-peskin-fields

The story that goes with the photo is amazing from a golf perspective. Hogan was the top player in 1948. At age 35 his game was peaking and he was player of the year, leading money winner, and a major champion. A head on collision of his car and a bus left him near death with a broken collarbone, ribs, pelvis and ankle. The question was whether he would walk again - forget playing golf.

Yet 16 months after the crash, he was leading the US Open. The final day involved walking 36 holes. Hogan had to wrap his legs with bandages just to walk 18 holes - and might not be able to walk 36 holes. He had a three stroke lead going into the final round - a lead he lost. He needed a par on the 18th hole to tie and join a playoff - and the 18th was the toughest hole on the course. Hogan made the par to make the playoff and easily won the 18 hole playoff the next day.

This image is the iconic image from that comeback - and Ben Hogan's career. I can't think of a story that matches this one - and the photo tells the story in a manner that even today brings it to life.

Hy Peskin was the photographer for Life magazine that got the image. It's an image that is perfectly conceived and executed. The article does a great job at telling the story of the photo, but to me, it's by far the best and most iconic golf image I've ever seen. The context of the image, the hole, the shot, and the player tell a story in a way that is truly special.

Eric Bowles
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