Thursday, Jun. 18, 2009

Jack Fleck vs. Ben Hogan (1955)

How confident were people that Ben Hogan would win his record fifth U.S. Open title? After Hogan made par on the final hole, NBC signed off the air, declaring Hogan the winner even though Fleck, an unknown municipal-course operator from Iowa, trailed by just one stroke. Hogan even flipped the ball to a USGA official and said "This is for the Golf House," referring to a museum. Fleck, however, wasn't quite finished: needing a birdie on 18 to force a playoff, his 7-iron approach just cleared the bunker and landed eight feet from the pin. He then sank the putt to tie the score. Hogan, who had been sipping scotch in the Olympic Club locker room, dropped his head and cursed softly. The next day, Fleck beat the game's greatest player by three strokes in an 18-hole playoff. "I can't believe it, Ben," Fleck said as he and Hogan walked off the final green. What clubs did Fleck use to beat his idol? The Ben Hogan signature series.