From the Annals of the Highway – In 1949, professional golfer Ben Hogan and his wife Valerie were seriously injured in an auto accident. Hogan was born in Stephenville but raised in Dublin and Fort Worth. After his father committed suicide when Hogan was 9, he began to caddy at Glen Garden CC south of town where he met his later tour rival Byron Nelson. He turned pro at age 18 but struggled for almost a decade before winning a professional event. But before his accident in 1949, Hogan had won 54 times on the PGA Tour including two PGA Championships and one U.S. Open victory.
The Hogans somehow survived the early morning head-on collision with a Greyhound bus on a fog-shrouded bridge east of Van Horn. Hogan threw himself across Valerie in order to protect her. He likely would have been killed otherwise as the steering column punctured the driver’s seat. Hogan suffered a double fracture of his pelvis, a fractured collar bone and left ankle and a chipped rib. He also suffered blood clots that would cause circulatory problems for the remainder of his life.
It seemed doubtful that he would ever compete again at the high level to which his fans were accustomed. After 59 days in the hospital, Hogan began his rehabilitation – mostly by extensive walking. He was back on the course by November and returned to the PGA Tour to start the season at the Los Angeles Open at Riviera Country Club. He finished tied with Sam Snead but lost in a playoff. Hogan would go on the win the U.S. Open in 1950 and five more major championships before he retired in 1959.