When mike Souchak came off the Oak Hill course at Rochester last year after playing the first two rounds of the Open with Ben Hogan, he said, "Ben obviously knows something about hitting the golf ball that the rest of us don't." This, of course, was not a sudden revelation to Souchak or his golf-wise audience and Souchak didn't mean it to be. It was simply his way of catching his breath over the consistently brilliant golf, and the profound study and understanding which lie behind it, of the man he had just been playing with.
The particular something that Hogan knows he begins to tell in this issue of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, with the first of the five parts of The Modern Fundamentals of Golf. This instructional series is the sifting of. everything Hogan has learned during his years of competitive golf, years which include an era already identified by historians as The Age of Hogan. It is also the outcome of 10 months of collaboration with Anthony Ravielli and Herbert Warren Wind, whose special abilities suited to a tee the accomplishment of the project Hogan set for himself.
Ravielli, who has illustrated each of the 113 TIPS FROM THE TOP which have so far appeared in SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, has also illustrated a number of technical books on anatomy. This, along with an insatiable appetite for golf, made Ravielli exactly right for rendering Hogan's descriptions of the exact physical actions in the golf swing with the kind of drawings which tell the story as photographs never could. Wind, for his part, from his background as golfer, golf editor and golf writer, worked to draw out and assemble all of Hogan's ideas and make them most easily intelligible in print. "The success of the collaboration," says Wind, "rested on the fact that Hogan, as all who know him can testify, picks his words as carefully as he picks his clubs."
At one of their last meetings, after Hogan went over final proofs on the series, he told Wind and Ravielli, "I wish I could have known as a boy what I know today. I would have been a better golfer, and just because of that I would have enjoyed the game even more than I have. One thing the series should do for anyone playing now—enable him to enjoy the game more."
Hogan has always met the constant challenge of improvement and has understood that no matter what level you reach, it is possible to do better. He is sure that golfers will go on to develop new knowledge and improved techniques.
It is safe to say, I think, that when they do they will recognize as their stepping-off place what is at present the last word on the subject: The Modern Fundamentals of Golf, whose first word begins on page 10.
LEFT TO RIGHT: WIND, HOGAN AND RAVIELLI