In 1922, when Hogan was nine, his father Chester committed suicide by self-inflicted gunshot at the family home.
The two would tie for the lead at the annual Christmas caddie tournament in December 1927, when both were 15.
Nelson sank a 30-foot putt to tie on the ninth and final hole.
Hogan threw himself across Valerie in order to protect her, and would have been killed had he not done so, as the steering column punctured the driver's seat.
This accident left Hogan, age 36, with a double-fracture of the pelvis, a fractured collar bone, a left ankle fracture, a chipped rib, and near-fatal blood clots: he would suffer lifelong circulation problems and other physical limitations.
Club rules did not allow caddies age 16 and older, so after August 1928, Hogan took his game to three scrubby daily-fee courses: Katy Lake, Worth Hills, and Z-Boaz. Hogan met Valerie Fox in Sunday school in Fort Worth in the mid-1920s, and they reacquainted in 1932 when he landed a low-paying club pro job in Cleburne, where her family had moved. His early years as a pro were very difficult, and Hogan went broke more than once.
He did not win his first pro tournament as an individual until March 1940, when he won three consecutive tournaments in North Carolina.On this matter, Hogan himself said, "You hear stories about me beating my brains out practicing, but... I couldn't wait to get up in the morning, so I could hit balls.When I'm hitting the ball where I want, hard and crisply, it's a joy that very few people experience." He was also one of the first players to match particular clubs to yardages, or reference points around the course such as bunkers or trees, in order to improve his distance control.Following his father's suicide, the family incurred financial difficulty and the children took jobs to help their seamstress mother make ends meet.Older brother Royal quit school at age 14 to deliver office supplies by bicycle, and nine-year-old Ben sold newspapers after school at the nearby train station.He worked at Century as an assistant and then as the head pro until 1941, when he took the head pro job at Hershey Country Club in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Army Air Forces from March 1943 to June 1945, becoming a utility pilot with the rank of lieutenant stationed at Fort Worth, Texas.