|Ben Hogan in early days.|
“You say, ‘What kind of man he is?” Mayfield said.
“To a fault, he was absolutely honest, inasmuch as if you said what do you think about this fella here, he’d tell you whether he thought he was a crook or whether he thought he was a nice guy. He’d say it in front of people.”
There were social occasions, including one memorable evening at Brook Hollow.
“Arthur and his wife invited Ben and Valerie as well as my wife and myself to an affair there at Brook Hollow,” Mayfield said.
“Later on we went down in what they call the Oak Room, or whatever it was. There was a band down there, and they were dancing.”
As Mayfield recalled, Arthur and his wife were excellent dancers.
“It was the start of [dancing in which] you don’t put your arm around each other. You just stand there and shake your shoulders and your arms up and down and move your feet.
“About the third dance, Hogan just stood up and said, ‘Valerie, we’re here with a bunch of kooks. Let’s get out of here.’ And he and Valerie left.”
“He couldn’t stand men with long hair. He could be very rank in his description of people. He said, ‘You drive up behind somebody in a car and you can’t tell whether they’re a man or a woman. You know, these SOBs they’re letting their hair grow down longer than women are.’
“He had something against that. And every time I let my hair get a little long, he let me know I needed a haircut. He disliked it very much. He was just absolutely straightforward honest as he could be.”
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“Everybody that was at the Tournament of Champions in Vegas went right there and plus a bunch of other people,” Mayfield said. “So it had a heck of a field. I know it boiled down to [Cary] Middlecoff and I coming down to the wire, and I finally nosed him out by one shot.”
Mayfield was no longer playing the tour when he arrived for the 1955 U.S. Open, where Jack Fleck stunned Ben Hogan.
“I’d left the tour, taken a job at a club, hit ten practice balls up till that time,” he said. “I was too busy getting things organized around the club. Everything was new.
“I was not prepared for that ‘55 Open, even though I played well. I think I was just coming into my peak when I left [the tour], which was alright, was fine. I’d proved my point. Not every time. But at times I could beat anybody. That’s the way I felt, wanting to prove to myself that I could.”
Still to come: More insights on Ben Hogan, hiding a weakness, Jimmy Demaret and more.
Playing With Hogan (Introduction)
Playing With Hogan: Shelley Mayfield, Part 1
Playing With Hogan: Shelley Mayfield, Part 2
Playing With Hogan: Shelley Mayfield, Part 3
Playing With Hogan: Shelley Mayfield, Part 4