Hogan went on to repeat his success in 1947 and 1948. "I've found the secret," he told one sportswriter in 1947, although he never told the sportswriter, or anyone else, what exactly that secret was. Hogan again lost at the majors in 1947, but in 1948 he won both the PGA Championship and the U.S. Open. On January 10, he was on the cover of Time magazine. Less than a month later, it looked as if his career was over.
Hogan and Valerie collided head-on with a Greyhound bus on bridge in rural Texas on February 2, 1949. Just before impact, Hogan threw himself across Valerie to try to protect her. It worked—Valerie suffered only scratches and bruises—and saved Hogan's life as well. The steering wheel of the Hogans' Cadillac shot into the passenger compartment and impaled the empty driver's seat, fracturing Hogan's left collarbone on the way, while the engine crushed Hogan's left leg, fractured his pelvis, and caused severe internal injuries. After two weeks in the hospital, he started developing life-threatening blood clots in his veins. Hogan was operated on by the best vascular surgeon in the country, who tied off the large vein that returns blood from the lower body. This prevented blood clots from reaching Hogan's lungs, where they were most dangerous, but it also hampered circulation to his legs, leading to problems walking that would last for the rest of his life.