3-12-10: “Q&A with Ken Green: Less Than a Year Later – His Comeback, Well Underway”
March 12, 2010, by Jeff Palopoli
In June of 2009 Ken Green’s life was turned upside down. While travelling to a Champions Tour event in his RV, the right front tire blew, causing the vehicle to veer down a steep embankment and hit a tree. The crash killed his brother, girlfriend, and precious dog, all who were travelling with Green. Green sustained multiple injuries from the crash, most notably having to have the lower portion of his right leg amputated. 7 months later, fate dealt Green another heartache when he was informed that his 21 year-old son Hunter, was found dead in his SMU dorm room from a cause that is still unknown. Throughout it all Ken Green has shown a determination and positive attitude that not many could muster if put in a similar situation. I recently had an opportunity to catch up with Ken on a range of topics including how he is able to stay so positive to his earlier “bad boy” reputation on Tour.
First, I’d like to offer my deepest sympathies for all the losses you’ve suffered in the past year. You’ve been through so much since June ‘09, more than most people go through in a lifetime. How do you keep such a positive attitude through it all?
Ken Green: I believe that the only way to move on without going insane is to keep a positive outlook on life. If you let the disaster get into your head you are just “as dead” as your loved ones. Cry but accept and cry some more and then move forward.
You’ve accomplished a lot in your career on the course. The 1989 Ryder Cup, 5 Tour victories, some great finishes in Majors. What are you most proud of?
Ken Green: My wins are clearly what I covet the most. The Ryder Cup was a thrill and an honor, but second. I also like the fact that I’ve won on four continents and had hole-in-ones on five continents.
You’re playing as Mike Reid’s partner at Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf tournament at the end of April. Do you feel your game is close to where you’d like it to be for the event?
Ken Green: Mike Reid is an absolute angel for playing with me at The Legends, as my game will be about 70%. My hope is to be able to make a few birdies for him and tell him to grind hard Mr. Radar.
Physically, what’s been the biggest challenge for you now that you are back on the course?
Ken Green: The are two things thats are nightmares for me. Bunkers and the side hill lies are “ouch not again”. The physical nerve pain drops you to the ground when it strikes. It is the most pain I have ever felt in my life. Sadly, it can last for up to two hours of serious intensity.
Your story has touched so many people and the entire golfing community seems to be behind you. Describe what that outpouring of support has meant to you. Was it at all surprising?
Ken Green: I have been astounded at the outpouring of love, support and generosity. Strangers, friends, and family have joined together to give me the oppurtunity to try and play professional golf again. Without them I would be in deep trouble as I had nothing to my name. They have shown me that with support your goals are achievable.
I know currently you have a dispute with the Champions Tour in regards to your major medical exemption. Is there anything new to report there that you could share?
Ken Green: As of right now there is nothing new to report on whether or not I receive the major medical exemption that I have asked for. I personally feel this is a no brainer and have only asked for what I had already earned. Only the Tour can answer that and certainly they will spin it so they don’t look like they are doing anything wrong.
In regards to your reputation earlier on in your career as a bit of a “bad boy”, you were to somewhat of a lesser degree “John Daly” before John Daly. Do you regret any of those actions that may have led to that reputation? Most of those incidents, to me at least, seem to have all been in good fun and the PGA Tour being a little uptight.
Ken Green: I regret nothing that I have done in the past in regards to my actions. I never did anything with intent to hurt me or the game of golf. Some things people may not have agreed with but I just simply enjoyed my life in golf, there is no better way to make a living. My “so called actions” today would not even being mentioned at all. The tour was simply not ready for me then, today they are.
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Ken Green will be playing in the Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf ( http://www.pgatour.com/tournaments/s504 ) tournament on the Champions Tour when it takes place from April 23-25. Look for Ken when it’s televised then on The Golf Channel & CBS. You can follow Ken’s come back at his website: http://www.kengreenscomeback.com. I’ll also be checking in with Ken from time to time to see how is progress is coming along.