As the 1949 season began, Ben Hogan was considered, arguably, the best golfer in the world. The previous season, he won the U.S. Open, the PGA Championship, and 9 other victories including the Reading Open at Berkshire Country Club. But disaster struck in February when Hogan and his wife were in a head-on collision with a Greyhound bus.
A split second before impact, Hogan threw himself in front of his wife, which saved both of their lives as the steering column was embedded into the driver's seat. Hogan, a stoic and dogged competitor, would spend the next 11 months recuperating.
In 1950, the U.S. Open was held at Merion Golf Club and Hogan, with legs wrapped in bandages under his pants, managed to get into a three-way playoff and eventually won the championship. In order to get into the playoff, Hogan needed to par the final hole on Sunday. His approach shot to the 18th hole, a 1-iron from around 200 yards, is one of the most famous photographs in the history of sports and a plaque is mounted in the fairway at the spot.
The plaque is something spectators and players are drawn to like a magnet and it's common to see people try the shot themselves. Today, during a practice round, the 2010 U.S. Open champ, bar-owner, Irishman and all-around good guy Graeme McDowell tried the shot and posted video to Twitter.
— Graeme McDowell (@Graeme_McDowell) June 5, 2013
(Video below, if it doesn't work, click here)
[for more of The Level's 2013 U.S. Open coverage click here]
T.R. Goyne, formerly of the old-school ballssticksstuff.com can be followed @doctomg.