Ben Hogan wasn't always the world's most intense golfer. Actually, he was kind of a clown in his early days as a pro, in the 1930s. Back then I got a firsthand glimpse of him in the Tour events I played in. I also saw him at clinics. Ben was always a jokester. He would rouse the crowds after a spectacular shot by swinging his hat around like a jockey. He would play trick shots and imitate other professionals.
Ben changed, though, around 1941 or '42. Suddenly he was deadly serious about everything. He rarely talked. I think the change had to do with his newfound taste for winning. His modus operandi was to be highly disciplined and organized.
Ben loved instruction because, for him, it was the path to perfection and, in turn, winning. I liken his approach to the Bible verse from Proverbs: "Whoso loveth instruction loveth knowledge; but he that hateth reproof is brutish." As the years passed, Ben became more obsessed with perfecting his swing, eventually tailoring his whole life around it. He rarely joked and never mingled with loud people. Some of his closest friends were CEOs.
Ben was very particular about what he wore, always dressing in rich, well-tailored clothes in subdued colors such as gray and beige.
Everything about Ben can be summed up in his feeling about how he thought golf tournaments should be run. He felt only one prize should be given: to the winner.