Neil Sagebiel - June 13, 2012

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Neil Sagebiel is the author of The Longest Shot about Jack Fleck’s victory over Ben Hogan in the 1955 U.S. Open at The Olympic Club. He got to know Jack Fleck by writing his blog and a friend of his gave him a tip that Fleck wanted to talk about the 1955 U.S. Open. The more he talked to Fleck about 1955 the more he was amazed that there had not been a book written about that U.S. Open so he decided to write a book about it with Fleck’s cooperation.

Almost everything about professional golf has changed from 1955 to today. The entire purse of the 1955 U.S. Open was $24,000 and Fleck won $6,000. All of the players had to stretch their money and they truly played for the love of the game as there was not much money available in professional golf.

This year is a chance for Jack Fleck to receive the recognition that he deserves but may not have received for defeating Ben Hogan in 1955. Yesterday at The Olympic Club, the USGA recreated the 7 foot putt that Fleck made to tie Hogan and Fleck stepped up with the same putter he used 57 years ago and made the putt in a very special moment.

Ben Hogan was Jack Fleck’s idol and Fleck even played Ben Hogan golf clubs. While he would not want to say anything to disparage Hogan, Fleck has felt for many years that he was slighted in the history books in that people thought Fleck’s win was a fluke. Fleck has always felt that the win was hard-fought and earned and in no way was he or his win a fluke.