Rodgers wins Ben Hogan Award for 2014
Patrick Rodgers became the first golfer from Stanford to win the Ben Hogan Award on Sunday night, chosen for the 2014 honor.
Rodgers edged out Ollie Schniederjans of Georgia Tech and Cameron Wilson of Stanford for the Hogan award, which honors the top men’s college golfer, regardless of division, and considers all college and amateur competition during the last 12 months.
Rodgers, a junior from Avon, Ind., is No. 1 in the Golfweek/Sagarin and WAGR rankings, with six college victories this season – including four of his past five starts. He played on winning U.S. teams in the Walker Cup and Palmer Cup in 2013, medalist at 2013 Western Amateur, reached Round of 16 in Western and U.S. amateurs.
"I'm hoping to play in as many tournaments on Tour as I can this summer, but my focus is on next week and going out the right way," Rodgers said before the award was announced when asked about his schedule by guest speaker Brandel Chamblee. Rodgers also mentioned a star player whose prominence influenced his path in college.
"I grew up being a huge fan of Tiger Woods. He had a huge influence to all of us playing college golf now. . . . He's a big reason I'm at Stanford."
Schniederjans, a junior from Powder Springs, Ga., is No. 3 in the Golfweek rankings and No. 4 in WAGR. He notched five college victories this season, including three starts in a row prior to regionals; runner-up in 2013 Dogwood Invitational and top-10s in the Southern, Northeast and Players amateurs.
"Like Patrick I grew up playing other sports; I didn't pick up golf until I was 12," Schniederjans said before the award was announced, adding that he had friends who had memberships who drew him into the sport. "These guys are beating me by like 20, and I'm like, 'this is awful.'" He cited work with swing coach Mark Anderson, who was at the course where Schniederjans' family had a membership, as changing his game.
Wilson, a senior from Rowayton, Conn., is No. 4 in the Golfweek rankings and No. 6 in WAGR. He notched two college victories this season, qualified No. 1 for 2014 Palmer Cup and won 2013 Metropolitan Golf Association’s Ike Championship.
Wilson's story is filled with family, right down to a twin sister who attends Stanford and will graduate with him, he said. As for starting in the game, "I started with my dad like a lot of kids, but I really can't tell this story without talking about my mom, who's over here. She was a golf journalist . . . She's the real reason." And how does he see his game's strong point? "I think I gain a lot of shots on my competitors with my driving."