By Eddie Levin
Special to the Times
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HAVERFORD --- By now most golf historians have heard the story about Ben Hogan’s famous 1-iron shot on Merion East’s 18th fairway that helped propel him into a playoff with Lloyd Mangrum and George Fazio before winning the the 1950 U.S. Open.
Most golf historians also know Hogan wanted to quit after completing the 13th hole citing fatigue from his near fatal crash just 16 months prior.
Upon completion of the 13th hole, Hogan turned to caddy Nick Ciocca and told him to drop his bag at the bag drop, because he could not go on any longer. Ciocca turned to Hogan and said, “I am sorry Mr. Hogan, but I do not caddy for quitters. I will see you at the next tee box.”
Mouth agape and unsure what to do, Hogan followed Ciocca to the next tee box and followed him the rest of the round.
“I heard stories he had caddied for (Ben) Hogan,” said Ciocca’s granddaughter Isabella DiLisio, who just completed her sophomore year at Mount St. Joseph’s Academy and is a member of the golf team. “It was until a few years ago that we found out it was here at Merion.”
So, when the USGA announced the 2013 Open would be held at Merion, DiLisio knew she wanted to be involved.
After being selected as a volunteer, DiLisio learned she was going to be a Standard Bearer, who is the individual who carries the sign displaying the golfer’s score. DiLisio did this twice during the week. The first time was during a practice round for Bio Kim, Y.E. Yang and Steven Alker and the second time was in the second round for Rickie Fowler, Mateo Manassero and Jason Day.
“It was an awesome experience for me,” said DiLisio. “I only had the opportunity to work a couple of times, but I learned so much from watching how the professionals prepare for their round. I am definitely going to take what I learned and implement that into my game.”