Ken Green returns to golf after tragedies

By Associated PressApril 23, 2010, 11:42 pm
Champions Tour

SAVANNAH, Ga. – Through those long, painful months of recovery, Ken Green focused on making another sweet swing on tour.

That came Friday when, after a hug from his sister Shelley and some “Go get ‘ems,” from his foursome, Green returned to the game he says pulled him through a year of unthinkable tragedy.

“The thought of trying to play the game, play inside the ropes, that’s just kept me going,” Green said.

Green and partner Mike Reid shot a 5-under 67 – Green met his goal of two birdies – in the opening round of the Legends of Golf at Savannah Harbor Golf Resort. That was good enough for a tie for 17th, five shots behind the leading teams of Mark O’Meara and Nick Price, and John Cook and Joey Sindelar.

More importantly for Green, he found hope he could succeed at the game he loves, one that helped him deal with the deaths of his brother, girlfriend and son since June.

“Golf saved my life,” Green said simply.

William, his brother, and Jean Marie Hodgin, his longtime girlfriend, were killed when they were traveling in an RV that blew a tire, went down an embankment and crashed into an oak tree. The accident also killed Green’s beloved German Shepherd, Nip.

Green’s right leg was damaged so severely that doctors said his only chance of resuming a pro career was through amputation. He agreed and now plays with a prothesis in place of his lower leg.

As Green’s mental and physical rehabilitation continued, there came another devastating blow – his 21-year-old son, Hunter, was found dead in his SMU dorm room last January. An autopsy showed Hunter died from a combination of prescription drugs and alcohol.

Still, Green kept on fighting for this day. Now, he’s pointing for even more.

“The thought that this can happen as gone from a seven (out of 10) to absolutely, this can be done,” Green said.

Green’s apprehension increased as his starting time approached. “I’ve got a bit of dry mouth,” he said before slipping into a scorer’s tent for water.

His play was choppy at first. His first two swings found bunkers and he struggled to reach greens, mostly picking up when Reid was in with a lower score in the better-ball competition.

“I’m starting to think I should’ve put another driver in and taken the putter out. I’m not using the damn thing,” he said to fans walking off the eighth green.

Green’s butterflies were obvious.

“First four or five holes, I think he was a little nervous, and certainly looked like it,” said Price, whose team played alongside Green and Reid. “But we were pulling hard for him.”

Things turned around on the ninth hole after a wayward tee shot. Green’s approach from about 160 yards away stuck on the green. He raised his arms in celebration as the trailing gallery shouted congratulations.

Two holes later, Green bagged his first birdie. His third shot lipped out of the cup on the par-5 11th, leaving about 8 feet for birdie. That brought another hug from Shelley – “She came out of retirement as my caddie,” Green said – and more cheers.

Green wasn’t done. On the par-3 15th hole, he sunk a 12-footer for his second birdie to move the team to 5-under – and brought still another hug from Shelley.

A rough recount had Green 1 under par his last 10 holes, strong enough to boost his confidence about what could be ahead. He’s got tentative plans to play in the 54-hole Dick’s Sporting Goods Open in Endicott, N.Y., at the end of June.

“If I can get some practice and some work, it can be done,” he said. “I can’t tell you what that does for my spirit.”

Green had several family members on hand to watch, including his brother-in-law, PGA Tour tournament director Slugger White. Many wore golf caps with “KG” on the front and “The Greatest Comeback Ever” on the side.

“Obviously, I’m not known for inspiring people throughout my career,” Green joked. “It’s a wonderful feeling that I’ve got the chance to do something nice and unique, whether it’s for the game of golf or the disabled.”

O’Meara was amazed that anyone could play so soon after enduring so much.

“June wasn’t that long ago when the accident happened,” he said. “And for him to come back the way he has eight, nine months time is very impressive.”

Green worried over embarrassing the game with poor play. Instead, pros before and after his round came up to congratulate him and welcome him back.

“Hey, brother, how was it out there?” Peter Jacobsen said on the putting green.

Not too bad, Green thought.

“It just gives me so much more fight and desire to go ahead,” he said. “It’s a wonderful feeling. It’s such a high.”

Rose weathering delayed Indonesian Masters

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 3:52 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead after eight holes of the third round Saturday when play was suspended for the day due to bad weather at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose was 3-under on the day and led his playing partners Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Scott Vincent. The Englishman led both players by a stroke after the second round was completed Saturday morning due to weather delays on Friday.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.

Getty Images

Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.

Getty Images

Rose leads Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose completed the final two holes of his second round early Saturday for a 3-under 69 and a one-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose, who had a first-round 62, was among a quarter of the field forced off the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course after weather delays on Friday.

The Englishman, who bogeyed his last hole, had a two-round total of 13-under 131.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who completed his 64 on Friday, was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters. He has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 1:00 pm

Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.

Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.

None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.

Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.

An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.

Playing with the pros

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Photo gallery: President Trump at the U.S. Women's Open

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