Sunday, April 14, 2013

Hometown Heroes

Golf today is the connection between my Fort Worth hometown pride and my adopted home of almost 40 years, South Dakota.

Argus Leader sportswriter, Mick Garry pens a very nice feature story in the Sunday Leader about hometown Girl made good, LPGA star and Sioux Falls native Kris Tschetter. The story ran in conjunction of Tschetter being inducted into the South Dakota Sports Hall of Fame.

Fort Worth and Sioux Falls have much in common. Both are Cowtowns, have a meandering river thru town, and have abundant beautiful parks. Garry although only describing Tschetter, catches the character traits the citizens of Fort Worth and Sioux Falls most have in common: “hard work, resiliency, friendliness.”

Kris Tschetter is a (TCU) Horned Frog. She attended Texas Christian University to play golf. She later went on to her distinguished LPGA career. For a time she too was a resident of Fort Worth. While in college she established a relationship with golfing great and legend Ben Hogan. 

She wrote a wonderful book about her relationship with as she refers to him “Mr. Hogan.” Tschetter’s book, “Mr. Hogan, The Man I Knew” is worth the read. I thoroughly enjoyed it. So much in fact after reading today’s Argus may give it a second read.

My brush with fame – I too spent time with Hogan, only was far too young to appreciate his greatness or even his close proximity. Clearly because of golf, Mr. Hogan related to Miss Tschetter. Not so much with a five year old. In 1949 Hogan was the victim of a horrific automobile accident with a Greyhound Bus. He double fractured his pelvis and broke his collarbone. For a time it was doubted that he would walk much less play golf again. In 1950 he won the U S Open.

In 1950 I was diagnosed with paralytic polio, fortunately a mild case. The U S Open winner and I shared an orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Louis Levy, of the Fort Worth Bone and Joint clinic. On several occasion throughout those years “Mr. Hogan” and I took physical therapy at the same time at the clinic. Though too young to appreciate it, the golfing legend was in the next cow tank over, getting a warm whirlpool before being stretched out and put through our rehab by the therapist.

Endbar – Hogan who lived in Dublin, Texas until age 9 when he moved to Fort Worth. Local trivia says Hogan was the second most famous person from Dublin; the first being Dr. Pepper, that was invented and first bottled in Dublin.