Ben Hogan returned to golf from near-fatal car accident 68 years ago today

Ben Hogan
PGA of America Archive
After nearly losing his life in a horrific car accident in February of 1949, Ben Hogan returned to competitive golf 11 months later at the LA Open. Post-accident, Hogan would go on to win six of his nine major titles.
By T.J. Auclair
PGA.com
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Series: Golf Buzz

Published: Saturday, January 06, 2018 | 12:45 p.m.

Today marks a special anniversary in the annals of golf history.

On this day 67 years ago -- Jan. 6, 1950 -- Ben Hogan returned to competitive golf at the Los Angeles Open, 11 months after a near-fatal car accident.

On Feb. 2, 1949, Hogan and his wife, Valerie, narrowly survived a head-on collision with a Greyhound bus in Texas. In a successful attempt to save his wife's life by throwing himself in front of her, Hogan likely also saved his own life since the steering column punctured he driver's seat.

Hogan, 36 at the time, suffered a double-fracture of the pelvis, a fractured collar bone, a left ankle fracture, a chipped rib, and near-fatal blood clots: he would suffer lifelong circulation problems and other physical limitations.

Fifty-nine days after the accident, Hogan was out of the hospital and by November of that year, he resumed golf activities.

In that LA Open return, Hogan was outstanding, eventually losing a playoff to Sam Snead.

Post-accident, Hogan would win 11 more times on the PGA Tour, including six of his nine major championships. One of those majors was the 1950 U.S. Open at Merion, site of his iconic 1-iron shot, just a little more than a year after the accident.

Hogan, a captain of three Ryder Cup USA teams, would end his career with 64 PGA Tour victories, which is fourth all time. 

T.J. Auclair is a Senior Interactive Producer for PGA.com and has covered professional golf since 1998, traveling to over 60 major championships. You can follow him on Twitter, @tjauclair.