I caught up with Ben Hogan at Shady Oaks Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas, where he’s still a member. The clubhouse was closed, so we kept at least six feet apart for this interview in the carpark. No handshaking, which he seemed to appreciate. Known for being a semi-recluse, Hogan said the quarantine has improved his disposition.

Ben, you’ll be 108 in August. Do you consider yourself in a high-risk category?

Well, heck, yes.

How have you been feeling?

I don’t remember, and if I had any health problems, I wouldn’t tell you about ’em anyway. Everybody’s got problems – they don’t want to hear about mine.

So how are you and Valerie spending your time in self-isolation?

I’m not a very good gin player, [but] it passes the time.

Do you mind being stuck in the house?

I’m fed up with travelling.

I heard Demaret likes to call you after he’s had a couple of drinks.

I love Jimmy’s voice, but I don’t think I can stand “Deep Purple” again.

Are you doing any FaceTime happy hours?

Some people love that sort of thing. I don’t like it… I’m not antisocial, I just don’t feel good the next day. I can’t work. Ever since my accident, I’ve had to get a lot of rest. I try to get at least eight hours’ sleep, and I’d rather have 10. I like to go to bed early. I have an awful time waking up.

The courses have been open in Texas. are you playing any golf?

I play with friends, but we don’t play friendly games.

I understand you’re carrying your own bag?

If carts were legal, I could play more… but I couldn’t play as well. You don’t have time to compose yourself.

So what do you do all day?

To me there’s not enough daylight in a day… It’s a question of running through the complete routine every day as much as you can, working on every conceivable shot. If you find something that’s not working, you’ve got to go out and work about three days harder on that one thing. Seven days a week.

Are you still practising regularly?

Hit some balls almost every good day. I do my own shagging [collecting balls]… I’m out there on the nine-hole course [at Shady] by myself most of the time, so I can hit any kind of shot I want to. I will hit half a bag of balls and then go pick them up myself. Get a little exercise. Bring them back and do the same thing over again.

Anything you’re doing differently?

I used to take a heavy divot, long years ago, and then I lightened up on it because I was jarring my teeth out.

I see you’re not wearing a surgical mask in public. Do you wear gloves?

I never could feel anything wearing a glove.

Is it true you invented social distancing?

I got credit for a lot of things I didn’t do, but I did dedicate myself to the game.

Any regrets?

Too many people hear or read something written from uneducated preconceptions, and it takes off. There’s a great difference between intelligence and wisdom. You might have a college sheepskin, but that doesn’t make you educated.

Whoa, Ben. Don’t lump me in with the rest of the egghead media.

Life’s too short for me to go around explaining myself. A lot of people don’t understand modesty. Not everybody wants publicity, you know.

Let’s change the subject. The economy has taken a tumble, so what are you investing in now?

I piddle around in the oil business. I fool around with the stock market quite a bit. I’m in the process of looking for a cattle ranch. I’ll find what I want. I want it within 150 miles of Fort Worth. I keep hearing there’s no money in it, but if that were true, you couldn’t buy a steak.

What do you think about the way these young pros are handling themselves on social media while the tour’s not playing?

Sometimes I’m damn glad there’s a generation gap. I think it’s just ridiculous the way some of these golfers look.

I notice from instagram, a lot of pros are hanging out in t-shirts and sweatpants. How about you?

When you come down to dinner and everybody is dressed well, I think that is very, very nice. It is not a slovenly atmosphere. It is an occasion… Let’s get it dignified again. The players should have pride enough to do it.

What do you think of Tiger growing a goatee?

He looks like his head’s on upside down.

I understand you’ve had words with Brandel Chamblee, who’s critical of your teaching.

I couldn’t care less. I get along with everybody I know. I know who started those stories, and why, and he’s sorry, and that’s enough.

Ben, you’ve been getting a lot of tweets from your fans in this difficult period.

I’m very grateful. These people are just wonderful, and I wish there was some way I could thank them.

Are there any eternal mysteries you’re still pondering?

I get so darn tired of these bromides that don’t mean anything. Explain to me the expression “coming off the ball”. What does it mean? What caused it, that’s what I want to know. I never see that explained.

April Fools’ Day was postponed  and celebrated here. The questions are mine, but Hogan’s words were all taken verbatim from interviews conducted by former editor-in-chief Nick Seitz and published in Golf Digest from 1970-’87. Hogan died in July 1997 at age 84.