Green Not Ready to Defend


Hubert Green was expected to make his triumphant return to golf this week as the defending champion at this week's Long Island Classic, but he withdrew Tuesday.
Green, who was diagnosed with throat cancer in early June, has played only three events since then, with the U.S. Senior Open being his last. Green has been undergoing chemotherapy treatments and he hoped to return to action this week.
Last year, Green outlasted Hale Irwin with a birdie on the seventh extra hole for his fourth career Champions Tour title. Four shots behind with 12 holes to play, Green pulled even with Irwin with a birdie on 16 and an Irwin bogey on 17. After parring the final hole, the two players finished at 14-under, 199, just one stroke off the tournament mark. The seven playoffs holes marked the fifth longest extra session in Champions Tour history.
After 15 years at Meadow Brook Club, the tournament moves to Eisenhower Park's Red Course. Eisenhower Park boasts three courses, including the Red designed by Devereux Emmet, who crafted among others, Congressional Country Club and Garden City Golf Course. The Red Course hosted the 1926 PGA Championship won by Walter Hagen in match play.
Green, Irwin, Allen Doyle and Bruce Lietzke were the only players in the field to post all three rounds in the 60s. When Bobby Wadkins captured this event in 2001, he became the youngest Champions Tour winner and also became just the 10th player to win his Champions Tour debut. Wadkins won just 10 days after turning 50, one day younger than Gil Morgan was when he won the 1996 Ralphs Senior Classic title.
Bruce Fleisher, George Archer and Lee Trevino are the only players in tournament history to win this event back-to-back. Archer won this event three straight years from 1990-92. Fleisher, who won in back-to-back years in 1999-2000, is the only player to win this event wire-to-wire. In 1997, Monday qualifier Dana Quigley became the sixth player in Champions Tour history to open qualify and then win the event.
Over the last 15 years, a player leading or tied for the lead after Saturday's round has won the Long Island Classic nine times. Only four first-round leaders or co-leaders have gone on to win the tournament. Fleisher has won more money than any other player at this event -- $536,240 -- in four appearances (two victories, T-7 and 5th). Fleisher has posted ten of his 12 rounds in the 60s with a scoring average of 67.75.
The par-72, 6,794-yard course was the site of the 1926 PGA Championship, which was won by Walter Hagen. The purse was decreased by $200,000 from last year.