Al Barkow - June 15, 2012


Al Barkow is the author of the book “The Upset” about Jack Fleck’s win over Ben Hogan in the 1955 U.S. Open at The Olympic Club. Contrary to popular belief, Jack Fleck and Ben Hogan did have a relationship of sorts prior to the 1955 U.S. Open. Ben Hogan had started a club company by that point and he wanted players to use the clubs. Fleck wanted to use the Hogan clubs and Hogan delivered Fleck a set of those clubs before the U.S. Open. In fact, Fleck and Hogan were the only players at The Olympic Club in the U.S. Open in 1955 using Ben Hogan clubs.

Jack Fleck was ahead of his time on fitness as well as what many people today call zen golf. He was one of the first people to embrace meditation and yoga as preparation methods for tournament rounds. He was able to increase his confidence significantly by using these practices and he has said in the past that he felt as though he was in a trance while he was in the playoff with Hogan. He felt centered and calm and he credited yoga and meditation for those feelings.

Fleck did not play as well as he wanted to after the 1955 U.S. Open victory and one of the reasons was that he took advantage of opportunities to make some money following the big win over Ben Hogan. He also did not derive much pleasure from his victory because many people felt, rightly or wrongly, that the win over Hogan was a fluke and that Fleck had stolen a 5th U.S. Open victory from Hogan.