Perseverance (Monday, June 17), Perfection (Tuesday, June 18) Center Around Hall-of-Famer Ben Hogan as One of the Greatest Sports Comebacks of All-Time
ORLANDO, Fla. (June 12, 2019) – Monday-Tuesday night (June 17-18) following the conclusion of the U.S. Open, GOLF Films will kick off its 2019 slate with the two-part Hogan, featuring one of the most prolific U.S. Open players of all-time: Ben Hogan. Premiering on consecutive nights at 9 p.m. ET on GOLF Channel, the comprehensive biopic will present the life and legacy of Hogan, who remains as, arguably, one of the greatest sports comeback stories of all-time, alongside a list that includes Monica Seles, Michael Jordan and George Foreman.
“One of the greatest comebacks in all of sport is [Hogan]. He got hit by a bus and cameback and won major championships. The pain he had to endure, how hard it was for him to walk, period. That’s one of the greatest comebacks there is.” – Tiger Woods
Being presented with limited commercial interruption by Charles Schwab, Hogan’s two parts – Monday night’s Perseverance and Tuesday night’s Perfection – are narrated by Emmy Award-winning actor Kyle Chandler, and produced for GOLF Films by 13-time Emmy Award winner Israel DeHerrera.
Part I – Perseverance: Paints a picture of Hogan’s humble beginnings as a young boy in Texas, and the path that led to a career as one of golf’s biggest icons and greatest champions. Following his father’s suicide when Hogan was nine, Ben discovered golf upon realizing he could help out his mother financially – working two jobs as a seamstress – by caddying at Glen Garden Golf & Country Club six miles from the family’s home.
The 64-time PGA TOUR winner turned professional at the 1930 Texas Open at age 17, and soon realized he was not ready. A few years later after returning to caddying at Glen Garden, he would cross paths with Fort Worth businessman Marvin Leonard (eventually founded Colonial Country Club and Shady Oaks near Fort Worth), who became a father figure to Hogan, and helped provide financial support for him to kickstart his professional career. The victories began to pile up, with Hogan collecting nine wins between 1941-42, before reporting for service in the Army in March of 1943 during World War II. Despite never seeing combat, the war took nearly three years away from the prime of Hogan’s career.
Following the war, after enduring challenges from fellow Hall of Famers Byron Nelson and Sam Snead, Hogan cemented himself as the clear-cut best golfer in the world, winning 36 of 99 events that he played in from 1946-’48. He adorned the cover of TIME magazine at the beginning of 1949, but saw his soaring career trajectory come crashing to the ground in an instant, when he and his wife got into a life-threatening accident, crashing their vehicle into a bus while driving home to Fort Worth. The accident left Hogan with crushed hips and legs, a damaged shoulder, and an eye injury that would require surgeries and a new circulatory system from the waist down, putting his career in serious jeopardy.
“[Hogan] was not a warm and fuzzy figure. But the greatest debt of gratitude we owe to Tiger Woods [is that he] reminded a generation who never saw Jack Nicklaus play how great Jack was. And [Nicklaus] reminded people how great Hogan was. We don’t runout of genius, it just doesn’t come along all that often.” – Ron Sirak, Golf Writer
Part II – Perfection: Only 11 months removed from the accident in January of 1950, Hogan resumed his career, losing in a playoff at the L.A. Open, but more importantly demonstrating to all that he was back as a fore to be reckoned with. Unwavering physical pain could not keep Hogan from earning his first major title at the 1950 U.S. Open. The win spiraled into an even greater dominance in professional golf than prior to the accident – despite scaling back his schedule to only compete five or six times a year – including two major victories in 1951 and three in 1953, which led to him becoming only the second golfer (at the time) to win the career Grand Slam. While Hogan suffered from putting woes toward the end of his career (last competitive round on May 13, 1971), his record in the U.S. Open is something that will never be equaled, never having finished outside of the top-10 from 1940-’60.
Hogan’s growing legend served as the inspiration for the 1951 motion picture “Follow the Sun”. His celebrity also led to him establishing a golf equipment company with his namesake: Ben Hogan, which held a stronghold on equipment sales among amateur golfers for four decades. The owner of perhaps the most iconic swing golf has ever seen also helped him score a best-selling book, “Five Lessons: the Modern Fundamentals of Golf,” which has sold millions of copies in 38 languages around the world.
The film also will include acknowledgments on Hogan from current PGA TOUR stars, along with a generation of TOUR players waiting in the wings to follow Hogan’s era; all in complete admiration of the Texan’s aura and impact on the professional golf landscape.
Launched with the critically acclaimed, four-part Arnie biopic and Emmy-nominated Payne film in 2014, GOLF Films’ 2019 slate complements the existing award-winning GOLF Films library, which includes its most-recent project, the Emmy-nominated 27 Years: The Exoneration of Valentino Dixon. Golf-Films.com, GOLF Films dedicated digital destination, includes excerpts from the division’s full library of films, along with archived content and testimonials on respective film projects. The website also serves as a source for dedicated information on current and future film projects in the works.
ABOUT GOLF FILMS
GOLF Films is a division of GOLF Channel and NBC Sports, led by Emmy-nominated films including Payne (2014), on the late Payne Stewart, and 27 Years: The Exoneration of Valentino Dixon (2018), on how Dixon’s sketch of a famous golf hole would lead to a release from prison for a murder he claims he did not commit. Additional critically-acclaimed GOLF Films projects include a series of “shorts”, led by Emmy Award-winning features, “Don’t Cry for Me – the Ryan Korengel Story” and “Feeling and Reality: the Billy Hurley Story”. GOLF Films is led by 13-time Emmy Award-winning coordinating producer Israel DeHerrera, who has served as the lead producer for several award-winning projects. Other critically-acclaimed GOLF Films include the four-part Arnie (2014) and three-part Jack (2017) films on Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus; Famous 5, chronicling how five European golfers – born within 11 months of one another – collectively helped revitalize the Ryder Cup; Go Down Swinging (2018), reliving the unforgettable conclusion to the 1999 Open; Summer of ’76 (2017), recounting the 1976 Open at Royal Birkdale; ’86 (2016), a chronicle of Nicklaus’ final major championship win at the 1986 Masters that aired to coincide with the 30th anniversary of his iconic win; and Ben Crenshaw: A Walk Through Augusta (2015), on the two-time Masters champion’s special relationship with the tournament. Films previously produced by GOLF Channel that have since been added to the network’s GOLF Films library include American Triumvirate (2012), celebrating the 100-year anniversary or the birth of three of golf’s greatest legends: Ben Hogan, Byron Nelson and Sam Snead; Lee Trevino: An American Champion (2013), recounting Trevino’s dramatic victory over Jack Nicklaus at the 1971 U.S. Open; and Uneven Fairways (2009), sharing the stories of the little-known, but rich history of the African-Americans who had the courage to stand up for their rights and pave the way for future stars of golf.
-NBC Sports Group-