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The Open Question

Ben Hogan and Golf's Most Enduring Controversy

Peter May

Sports & Recreation / Golf

Golfing legend Ben Hogan went to his grave believing he had won a record five US Open titles. The USGA says otherwise, and the controversy has endured for over 75 years.

In 1942, the United States Golf Association (USGA) cancelled its four golf tournaments for the duration of World War II. But then it did something different in only that year—it sponsored the Hale-America National Open on the same weekend as the cancelled US Open. The great Ben Hogan won that tournament and went to his grave believing he had therefore won a record five US Open titles.

In The Open Question, Peter May turns his attention to this controversial, colorful Hale-America National Open of 1942. While providing an in-depth look at the tournament itself, May champions Hogan’s claim to five US Open titles and debunks some questionable assertions that the tournament was not worthy of a US Open. Set against the backdrop of World War II, May also tells the stories of other professional golfers in the tournament and the impact of the war on all their lives.

The USGA has never recognized the Hale-America Tournament as an official US Open and remains firm in its stance. It was a decision that bothered Ben Hogan for the rest of his life. The Open Question shows how dominant Ben Hogan was against some of the biggest names in golf, and reveals why he deserves to be recognized as a five-time US Open winner.

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