48th U.S. Open | June 10-12, 1948
Riviera Country Club, Pacific Palisades, Calif..
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|Ben Hogan, United States||67||-||72||-||68||-||69||—||276|
|Jimmy Demaret, United States||71||-||70||-||68||-||69||—||278|
|Jim Turnesa, United States||71||-||69||-||70||-||70||—||280|
|Bobby Locke, South Africa||70||-||69||-||73||-||70||—||282|
|Sam Snead, United States||69||-||69||-||73||-||72||—||283|
Ben Hogan was the picture of technical perfection — a diminutive man with a golf swing so sweet and repeatable, he was the envy of even the best professionals.
And at the time, he owned the Los Angeles-area golf scene. He was coming off back-to-back wins at the Los Angeles Open at Riviera CC — the last in record-setting fashion with a stunning 9-under-par 275.
Just two weeks before this national open, Hogan won his second PGA Championship at Norwood Hills Country Club. Needless to say, it was setting up to be a monster season for the Texan.
And although Snead led after 36 holes, Hogan wore down the field with final rounds of 68 and 69 on the longest layout (7,020 yards) in tournament history. He became the first man to record three rounds in the 60s at a U.S. Open.
His 276 tournament total shattered the previous national open record of 281, set by Ralph Guldahl in 1937.
After the tournament, the widely referred term “Hogan’s Alley” was coined as a salute to the nine-time major champion’s dominance at Riviera Country Club.
But this win came at age 35, and on his fifth try. His beginning in golf — even in life — was behind the curve.
When Hogan was 9, his father committed suicide at the family’s house in 1922. Some reports say it came right in front of the boy, which had a substantial influence his low-key personality.
Hogan took a job selling newspapers at a train station to help his family survive. Two years later, he began as a caddie at nine-hole Glen Garden Country Club, where he met fellow PGA Tour star Byron Nelson, who also was a caddie.
Hogan dropped out of Central High School to turn professional in 1930, six months shy of his 18th birthday. He did not win his first tournament until a decade later.
Eight months after his U.S. Open triumph, Hogan and his wife nearly died in a car accident after colliding head-on with a Greyhound bus in Texas. Injured so severely, Hogan was unable to defending his title in 1949.
Of note, the 1948 U.S. Open was one that women’s golf star Babe Didrikson Zaharias attempted to qualify for. Her application was denied by the USGA, stating it was a tournament open to men only.
Ted Rhodes became the first black golfer to play in the U.S. Open since 1913. He tied for 51st.