The Longest Shot: Jack Fleck, Ben Hogan, and Pro Golf’s Greatest Upset at the 1955 U.S. Open

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The Longest Shot: Jack Fleck, Ben Hogan, and Pro Golf’s Greatest Upset at the 1955 U.S. Open

I’ve always said that the next best thing to playing golf is reading about it.

As the US Open returns to Olympic this week, the timing is perfect for a new book on the legendary 1955 US Open Victory of the unknown Jack Fleck over the inimitable Ben Hogan.  Fleck, an Iowa muni pro, denied Hogan his fifth US Open title in an 18-hole playoff.

Hogan actually finished regulation with a 287, a score which most assumed at the time was for a win. In fact, Hogan was declared the winner on the 71st hole as the one-hour long NBC coverage ended. Fleck, however was still on the course, only a stroke behind. After an up-and-down day, Fleck managed a birdie at 18 to tie Hogan.

In the playoff, Fleck shot a 69 to Hogan’s 72.

Fleck won twice more on Tour, and later won the 1970 Senior PGA. Hogan won only once more after that.

Some interesting coincidences: When Hogan crashed in 1949, Fleck was actually driving on the same road in the opposite direction, and passed emergency vehicles responding to the accident. Fleck won the Open with clubs given to him by Ben Hogan.

The story is a natural for a book in the vein of The Greatest Game and The Match.

I’ve got this one on my Father’s Day with list.

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