Hubert Green has known that feeling 22 times before on the PGA and Champions tours. But No. 23 has more emotion attached to it. Because Green enters this weeks Long Island Classic as not only the defending champion, but as a cancer survivor.
Green began treatment for cancer of the tongue and throat the Monday following the U.S. Senior Open, six weeks ago.
It all started in April, when, at a routine cleaning, Greens dentist recommended he go see an ear, nose and throat specialist. Green did and, after a second visit, was diagnosed with stage four cancer. The tumor was located on his left tonsil and the back of his tongue.
After several consultations, Green started the miserable process ' his nine-hole match with the devil ' July 2 at Shands Hospital in Gainesville, Fla.
He has now finished chemotherapy and his final treatment is Tues., Aug. 12.
Green, on his website www.hubertgreen.com, said that he can see the light at the end of the tunnel. He expects to improve physically two weeks after the final treatment.
On a scale of 1-10, Im up to a 5, he said Thursday on his website, on which he regularly updates his situation.
'The tumor has been killed but will not totally disappear for a few months. I will come back in four to six weeks for a check up when my mouth should be healed from the radiation. If the cancer returns, 90 percent of the time it comes back in the first two year.'
Green likely will not be able to continue the tournament trend of success for defending champions.
George Archer won this event 1990-92. Lee Trevino was tops in 94 and 95, and Bruce Fleisher prevailed in 1999 and 2000.
Green won last years edition by bettering Hale Irwin in a seven-hole playoff at the Meadow Brook Club in Jericho, N.Y.
This years tournament, however, will be contested at The Red Course in Nassau Countrys Eisenhower Park. It was originally slated on the calendar in late Sept., but was rescheduled for this week.
The par-72, 6,794-yard course was the site of the 1926 PGA Championship, which was won by Walter Hagen.