2020 Masters vs 1942 Hale-America Open
This content is part of GolfNewsRI”s “The Open Question” series.
The Masters is back in April, where it belongs.
With its return, has come questions about 2020’s November Masters and how it should be viewed.
Golf Channel’s Brandel Chamblee even compared it to the 1942 Hale-America Open, which Ben Hogan won.
“November was odd. It was great that we were playing and here I suppose, but it was not like a Masters. Irrespective of being devoid of a crowd, the soft golf course and without springtime framing every hole. It was almost like the Hale-America Open in 1942, which some people want to claim as a U.S. Open, but the fact that Ben Hogan shot 62 in it is enough to make it dubious,” said Chamblee on the Hack It Out Golf Podcast.
The Hale-America Open, which replaced the U.S. Open during World War II, doesn’t not count as a Open win for Hogan.
That is the theme of Peter May’s new book titled “The Open Question.”
“Maybe last year’s U.S. Open could be compared to the Hale in that there was no qualifying so it really wasn’t an official U.S. open. But, I don’t see any reason to think the Masters should be,” said May.
The 2020 Masters was played in the winter during a pandemic, with no fans and softer conditions.
“This Masters counts obviously, but it was nothing like a springtime Masters. For the first time ever, a player (Cameron Smith) shot four scores under 70, never been done before. For the first time ever someone shot 20-under par and only made four bogeys in the week. That’s not to take anything away form his play, but it was clearly not the slippery, firm test that you see in April,” Chamblee added.
Chamblee later went on Golf Channel and said that Dustin Johnson’s record setting score should be in a separate category than Tiger Woods’ record setting score from 1997.
“Still don’t see the argument it should be looked at differently. Why? Because it was in November? Because there were no fans? Everyone (including Tiger) played the same course. Makes no sense to me,” May told GolfNewsRI.
May continued, “I deal with this a lot in the book. There were more players who finished under par at Pebble in 2019 than at Ridgemoor.”
Needless to say, the debate over the 2020 Masters could be talked about for a long time.
Just like the debate over the 1942 Hale America Open.
The Open Question
In 1942, the United States Golf Association (USGA) canceled its four golf tournaments due to World War II.
But then the USGA did something different in only that year—it sponsored the Hale-America National Open on the same weekend as the previously canceled U.S. Open.
That tournament was won by Ben Hogan who went to his grave believing he had therefore won a record five U.S. Open titles.
In The Open Question, May turns his attention to this controversial, colorful Hale-America National Open of 1942. While providing an in-depth look at the tournament itself, May champions Hogan’s claim to five US Open titles and debunks some questionable assertions that the tournament was not worthy of a US Open.
Set against the backdrop of World War II, May also tells the stories of other professional golfers in the tournament and the impact of the war on all their lives.
The USGA has never recognized the Hale-America Tournament as an official US Open and remains firm in its stance. It was a decision that bothered Ben Hogan for the rest of his life.
The Open Question shows how dominant Ben Hogan was against some of the biggest names in golf, and reveals why he deserves to be recognized as a five-time US Open winner.