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One day about a year ago I was in the locker room of the Seminole Golf Club in West Palm Beach, just before starting an afternoon round. As I was tying my golf shoes, Bill Cur-ran of Detroit, our Associate Advertising Manager, came up to me, showing considerable enthusiasm. " Ben Hogan," said Bill, a longtime Hogan acquaintance, "would like to see you about an idea he's got. He's out on the practice green now."
Bill and I were enjoying a vacation. Hogan wasn't. He was in Palm Beach for the Seminole Pro-Amateur Tournament, the traditional Hogan tune-up for the Masters and, when I joined him, he was sharpening his putting. He interrupted the tremendous concentration which he brings to golf, whether practicing or playing, and characteristically came right to the point. "I've finally got the fundamentals of the golf swing worked out so clearly in my own mind," he said, "that I'm certain any reasonably coordinated golfer who applies them can shoot in the 70s."
To me, a resolutely hopeful mid-80s golfer, reasonably coordinated—that afternoon, for instance, I was really hot and came in with an 84—this would have been an arresting thought coming from almost anyone. Coming from Hogan, whom no one ever charged with overstatement, it sounded like an invitation to the Promised Land.
Hogan wondered if SPORTS ILLUSTRATED would like to work with him preparing a series of articles explaining his ideas. SPORTS ILLUSTRATED was the magazine he thought could do the series best, he went on to say, not only because in his judgment Herbert Warren Wind was the clearest and most authoritative writer on golf he knew but because he had also been greatly impressed with the ability of Anthony Ravielli, as revealed in TIPS FROM THE TOP, to illustrate the frequently intricate points he would be making.
Shortly after this, Ravielli and Wind met with Hogan at Fort Worth. Their collaboration continued steadily for 10 months. Next week SPORTS ILLUSTRATED publishes the first of the five parts of the final achievement, The Modern Fundamentals of Golf. In it Hogan repeats in writing what sounded so exciting to me that day at Seminole:
"Up to a considerable point, as I see it, there's nothing difficult about golf, nothing. I see no reason, truly, why the average golfer, if he goes about it intelligently, shouldn't play in the 70s—and I mean by playing the type of shots a fine player plays."
And that's where Hogan starts explaining, to the 97% of us five million golfers who don't exactly do that yet, how to do exactly that.