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"Valerie said, 'We'll go as far as it will take us.' "
"The lucky part about Ben and me," his wife interjected, "we never got discouraged together. I'd get down one week and he the next, but never at the same time."
Nodding agreement, Hogan continued. "We stayed at the Leamington Hotel in Oakland. They gave a rate to golfers. There was a parking place across the street, 15�. I put the car there, it was the cheapest place. Next morning when I went out early to get my car, the back end was jacked up and the tires gone. We were really low.
"Earlier, I had played a practice round at Oakland with Henry Picard. He said, 'Ben, I don't know about your finances and how you're situated, but I know you're having a tough time. If I can help you out, I'd like to!'
"It had been quite a struggle. I hadn't bought any clothes and neither had Valerie. We were getting pretty ragged, too. Picard gave me a terrific boost. Even if you're digging as hard as you can, you like to have somebody on your side. I think what Henry Picard said to me is almost responsible for my being where I am now.
"As luck would have it, I never had to borrow the money from Henry," Hogan said. "I won $386 at Oakland. I must say that's the biggest check I've ever seen before or since."
Hogan has seen plenty of money since, and with his golf equipment manufacturing firm expects to make a lot more not too long from now.
"I'm just as determined in golf as I ever was, but I know my days of competition are numbered. I want to find something to be busy with when I get through playing. I know I've picked a tough business, but it's competition again. I love competition.
"I don't mean I've lost my keenness for golf. It's just that age works into it a little bit. You find yourself not being able to stay on the practice tee so long. You tire faster. You find yourself not being able to make all the tournaments that are necessary to keep your game sharp, plus the fact that it looks like that 15-year cycle is just about rolling over now. There's going to be this new group coming up and my game won't fit this group. Only because I am geared to my competition as Bobby Jones was geared to his. It's like in track. They're running the four-minute mile now. They weren't doing that before. Competition has done that. They improve the technique all the while.
"When my time comes...."