Big Play Nick Price, the modern-day incarnation of Ben Hogan, earned his first victory since 1998 at the house that Hogan built

May 26, 2002

It's fitting that Nick Price, 45, snapped his four-year winless
streak last week at the MasterCard Colonial, in Fort Worth,
Texas. Colonial Country Club is known as Hogan's Alley because
the Hawk won there five times, including in 1959 at age 46, the
64th and final victory of his career. Nobody on Tour more
closely resembles Hogan in technique and attitude than Price.
Here are some of the similarities between these master ball
strikers, and one big difference.

1. SWING KEY: Price hinges his right wrist to almost 90 degrees
just after his takeaway and maintains the angle during the
backswing, the change of direction (near left) and the
downswing, always keeping the right elbow close to and pointed
at his right hip. This move was also the key to Hogan's action
(far left). By sustaining the hinge until nanoseconds before
impact, Price, like Hogan, generates enormous power without
sacrificing control.

2. PUTTING: Afflicted by the yips late in his career, Hogan
advocated abolishing putting. Price, one of the Tour's
streakiest putters, had a great week on the greens at Colonial
and afterward said, "I hope I'm a better putter than he [Hogan]
was in his 40s."

3. LATE BLOOMERS: Hogan didn't win the first of his nine majors
until age 33, at the 1946 PGA, while Price got the first of his
three Grand Slam titles, the '92 PGA, when he was 35.

4. LEFTIES: Hogan was a natural left-hander who played golf
right-handed. Price plays every sport but golf as a lefty.

5. TEMPO: Despite very quick and pistonlike rhythms, Hogan and
Price keep their arms and bodies in perfect sync from address to
the finish.

6. PHYSIQUE: Price makes the club look like a twig because he
has hands the size of a bear's and the arms of a gorilla. At
impact Hogan's XXL arms hung so low that his hands were almost
below his knees.

7. FOOT ACTION: Each player keeps his right foot flat until just
before impact, an uncommon move that provides superb stability.

8. FOCUS: Hogan's work ethic was legendary. At a recent Masters,
Price was striping practice balls at a post 275 yards away.
"You're hitting it great, dead at the pole," sports psychologist
Bob Rotella told him. "My target's the rope," Price said,
pointing to a piece of twine hanging from the post.

9. PERSONALITY: The Hawk was distant and mysterious, while Price
is golf's kindest soul. I met him in the early '90s when I
worked for David Leadbetter, and not too long after Price let me
and two other instructors spend several months at his lakeside
house in Orlando rent-free.

Dave Phillips, 35, teaches at Caves Valley Golf Club in Owings
Mills, Md., and is one of Golf Magazine's Top 100 Teachers.

B/W PHOTO: J.R. EYERMAN/LIFE COLOR PHOTO: COURTESY OF CBS THREE COLOR PHOTOS: PORTER BINKS

THE TIP

Hammering a nail into a wall replicates the motions that are
vital to a synchronized and powerful swing. The keys are the
hinging of your right wrist on the takeaway and a proper release
in which you hold the hinge before snapping your right wrist at
impact. In this drill, stand in your address position, then
swing a hammer back and through, driving a nail into the wall.
This motion is exactly what Nick Price does with a golf club.
Notice that my right elbow stays close to my right side during
the backswing (1), and that during the downswing my right wrist
is lagging behind my hand and parallel to the ground (2). In the
release (3), keep your right hand hinged until the last possible
second to generate maximum power.

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)