Hogan is a revered name in this city of Fort Worth. This is where he was born, lived all his life, and died in 1997. It is this tournament that is honored colloquially with his name ' Hogans Alley (along with Riviera Country Club).
Price is acutely aware of his presence here. Hogan is as close to Price as he is to Fort Worth.
Unfortunately, I never got to play with him, said Price. I got to meet him and I had dinner and lunch with him a couple of times.
The name Hogan provokes such reverent memories in Price. He was the epitome of someone who came from basically nothing, had nothing most of his life until he started playing golf, and then his refusal to take anything half-standard or half based, said Price. And I think every time I play this golf course, I think about him.
Price, now 45, was just a young man from Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) when he first met Hogan. I was terrified, he concedes.
I had heard all the rumors about him and how he could be ' they called him the Ice Mon and The Hawk and all sorts of things, you know. So when I first met him ' I think I was 26 years old and I walked into his office and I really, I was terrified. I didnt know what to expect.
When the apprehensive young man shook hands with Hogan and introduced himself, though, he met a genuinely nice person. Hogan, with all his fierce reputation, couldnt have been nicer.
And he was so down-to-earth and so nice to me, and for that I will always hold him in the highest respect. And he was old school, Ben Hogan, Price said.
I even asked him some questions about the golf swing and he says, Well, go find it in the dirt. And thats fine. He gave me a few things, but I asked him some of the areas of the book that I wasnt sure of. And he cleared those up for me. I got to have dinner with he and his wife at Shady Oaks (Country Club) one night and sat in between the two of them. That was probably the one of the most special evenings of my life. I just couldnt ask him enough questions without being rude.
Some have compared parts of the Nick Price swing to the Hogan swing. Price doesnt see many similarities. But he is flattered beyond belief. Price keeps a copy of Hogans Five Modern Fundamentals in his brief case and he has referred to the book so many times that he worn out four copies.
I wouldnt say I modeled my swing on his swing, but there was a guy (Hogan) who found it in the dirt and worked out everything on his own without the benefit of teachers or video camera, says Price.
And so there obviously was a lot of merit to what he was saying in his book and what he was trying to teach people. I dont always agree with some of the feelings that he portrayed in his book. I think those were a bit deceptive to a lot of guys who tried to copy his swing.
But he did so many great things in his golf swing, and the simple fact that he had so much power for a little man ' he learned the efficiency of the golf swing. And I think being the first generation to grow up with steel shafts, he and Byron (Nelson) and Sam Snead, they were the forerunners to the modern golf swing.
And he just ' Im sure ' went through so many changes and tried to find so many keys to work with in his golf swing. It was an efficient flash through the ball.
Price won Colonial last year and hes again having another good year on tour. May has always been a good month for me, he said. He joins a lot of over-40 players who have been enjoying super seasons.
I think the great thing about the tour is we go back to golf courses that youve played 15, 16 times before, Price said. So you try and draw on that experience you had.
The big thing is just, have you got the desire? Do you still want to go out and compete? And thats the one thing that to me is, the last three years Ive paced myself really well and I just enjoy hitting balls. And until that interest dies, I hope Im still out here.