Initially given to a player exhibiting excellence in academics, as well as college golf, the inaugural The Ben Hogan Award was presented April 23, 1990, to Kevin Wentworth of Oklahoma State University. The Friends of Golf (FOG) and the Golf Coaches Association of America (GCAA) selected the winner just a few weeks after the creator of the award, 1940 Heisman Trophy winner and golf enthusiast, Tom Harmon, passed away.
In the summer of 2001, FOG and the GCAA were approached by representatives of Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas, wanting to expand the award named for Hogan to make the presentation during the week of the PGA TOUR’s annual tournament stop at Colonial.
While the three parties collaborated on the award, the decision was made to revise the criteria to more accurately reflect Harmon’s original idea for The Ben Hogan Award. Although the criteria for selection changed to recognize the outstanding male amateur and collegiate golfer of the year, the first 12 recipients will remain as part of the Hogan Award’s history. Additionally, FOG continues to present the honoree with a replica of the Waterford crystal trophy displayed at Bel-Air Country Club in Los Angeles.
In 2002, Colonial Country Club commissioned a new Hogan sculpture on permanent display in the Hogan Room at Colonial. A replica of this sculpture is presented to the honoree.
“I think that Colonial joining FOG and the Golf Coaches Association in The Ben Hogan Award has been very positive,” said FOG Executive Director Eddie Merrins. “The award is now truly the Heisman of college golf.”
Since 2005, the Fort Worth Invitational has invited The Ben Hogan Award recipient to compete in the next year’s championship. Also beginning in 2005 the Hogan Award invited the three finalists to The Ben Hogan Award Banquet held prior to the PGA Tour’s Charles Schwab Challenege with the recipient named that evening.
Winners of The Ben Hogan Award include Hunter Mahan, Ricky Barnes, Bill Haas, Ryan Moore, Matt Every, Chris Kirk, Rickie Fowler, Kyle Stanley and Nick Taylor. Recent winners include young stars Peter Uihlein, Patrick Cantlay, Patrick Rodgers, Jon Rahm, Maverick McNealy and Doug Ghim.