KG & Calc teaming up at “Liberty Mutual Legends” in Savannah Apr22-24 (Champs Tour)
Champions Tour: Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf
Mon. Apr 18 – Sun. Apr 24, 2011
Savannah Harbor Resort & Spa • Savannah, GA
Fri. April 22: 8:44am K.Green & M.Calcavecchia (with Scott Hoch & Kenny Perry) => 68 -4
Sat. April23: 9:50am K.Green & M.Calcavecchia (with Hubert Green & Leonard Thompson) => 65 -11
Sun. April24: 9:24am K.Green & M.Calcavecchia (with Fuzzy Zoeller & John Jacobs) => 68 -15 (31st)
KENS BLOG #101 – SUNDAY APRIL 24, 2011 10:21PM (LEGENDS)
A mess of pure sadness and stupidity to bring to your bedroom. I’m here to tell you I played really so much better than I ever thought possible. I actually had good birdie putts on many holes. I simply thought too hard – just forcing a putt in the hole does not work. We shot 15 under and without me Calc shoots 30; with me not choking my balls off we shoot about 24, and if Calc putts well we go to 33. Sad sad sad sad. I’m so pissed I’m not going to baffle on, but. . .
I will tell you that if you signed up for our birdie bonus pool for my dog sanctuary we had 23 birdies so you owe $46 check* get made out to:
Green’s Dog Heaven
11854 Orange Grove Blvd.
West Palm Beach FL 33411
*If you dare doing both, then just add them up [$46/LegendBirds + $70/NipperClub = $116]. I’m working on the shirts and hope to have them in soon. Thank you for helping me get started down this road.
I feel like a let Calc down in a big way, I might well have just stuck a knife in his foot cause I just never gave him a chance to roll. I simply just panicked on my putts, as all I could think was trying to make some ‘mo momey to help get me out of the hole. Stupidity at its finest. The money could have allowed me to do some real good things for some people, and I just didn’t Do it. I’m so sorry Calc, my blue. I’m pissed pissed pissed, so good night. I do want you all to use Liberty Mutual if you can, as they are the very first one to give me an exception, and although I failed, the high I have right now from playing is worth every choked putt I made. I feel like I won the tournament – it gave me that big a high. I was gonna, but I’m now gonna right a letter to The Regions [May 6-8, Shoal Creek, Birmingham, AL http://www.pgatour.com/tournaments/s558 ] and see if they have any room for me. So if you wage a phone, letter and protests for me fire away.
NOTES FROM COLONEL, WHO SAW SATURDAY’S ROUND:
4-24-11: I had the pleasure of watching KG+Calc for the last 2 holes Friday and all of Saturday. I’m telling ya, both those guys are hitting it great. If they’d just been putting, they’d have knocked off 4-5 strokes each round, EASY – I’m talking 6-8-10-12 ft. birdie putts of lipping out and bouncing out of the back of the hole all day long! World of diff. in KG’s game from last year – he was driving it Great and had lots birdie putts all day – barely made anything – as he said, just trying too hard to make them. Last year, KG was sorta struggling to find his ‘new’ game – this year HE HAS IT – he’s hitting his Drives And Irons with Confidence – pretty good distance on those drives to – I kidded him about putting it by Calc on the Par5 13th Saturday, but he kept saying, yeah but I got 45 yds. Roll and Calc only 1 yard (true, but he still got it by him!!). I was just very happy watching him compete so intensely – very much In Control of his game – IF he had just been Putting! (All this despite a lot of pain he was having with the leg nerves & headaches – how he can ignore that pain and keep fighting to the end is a mystery to me – he is just a very special person). Calc was Blasting it (every drive 300yds), and was hitting most his irons stiff – wasn’t making anything with the small blade either. I really was Fun to watch KG & Calc playing in The Legends this year. If they’re hitting it like this next year, and can get some putts to drop, they’ll be right in there, trust me. – Col.
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4-23-11: “Green, Calcavecchia shoot 68 at Liberty Mutual Legends”
…From Chris Elsberry’s “My Two Cents” Blog: http://blog.ctnews.com/elsberry
Ken Green got through his first round Friday in the Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf Tournament in Savannah, Ga. with his partner and good friend Mark Calcavecchia, shooting a 4-under 68. Here’s what was written in today’s Savannah Morning News:
His round Friday brought out the old competitor in Ken Green.
Unfortunately for Green, he’s physically not his old self.
Green, an amputee below his right knee from a horrific motor home accident in June 2009, partnered with best friend Mark Calcavecchia in the first round of the Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf.
They shot 4-under-par 68 at The Club at Savannah Harbor to tie for 31st place with two rounds remaining.
“I hit a lot of good ones,” Green said of his round. “You’re really happy in one respect and really upset with myself on the other.”
He felt disappointed in his play, which did produce birdies at 10, 11 and 14, with Calcavecchia making birdie at 2 of those holes. They also birdied Nos. 3, 6, 7 and 13 and bogeyed the par-3 No. 3.
“I really feel like I let Calc down,” said Green, who battles constant pain, whether or not he’s golfing. “Not that I can do a lot, but I gave away 3,4 holes we should have had. We could have easily been 8 or 9 under without even blinking.”
Green said he was trying too hard, that he was “just too fired up” for proper speed control.
While he’s happy to be playing, he also sees a positive in how upset he feels.
“Part of that’s good, because at least you’re thinking like you used to think,” Green said. “That old habit, that competitive mode kicks in. I know how close we were to being right up there.”
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4-21-11 Baltimore Sun (Jeff Shain):
“Partner should Ease his Pain – Amputee Green, Pal Calcavecchia paired in Legends”
22 birdies. That’s all Ken Green wants out of his teammate this week. “I don’t think I’ve made 22 birdies in my last 4 tournaments combined,” Mark Calcavecchia said Wednesday. “We’ll have fun either way.” Green & Calcavecchia are paired at this week’s Legends of Golf, a partnership they sometimes discussed in the days before they hit the Champions Tour — “when I was actually normal,” Green said. That was before Green lost his lower right leg in a fiery 2009 RV accident. Green played the Legends a year ago, an inspiring first entry. He and Mike Reid tied for 26th in the 33-team field, including an opening 67. But Green admits he never felt comfortable, even wondering whether he should be playing. Little chance of that this week. He & Calcavecchia have known each other since their junior days in South Florida, becoming fast friends after both reached the PGA Tour in the early 1980s. Even though Green occasionally suffers excruciating nerve pain in the amputated area — “I didn’t know the body could inflict this much pain,” he said — he is determined to set it aside this week. “It’s always better when you’re playing golf with one of your best friends on the planet,” Green said.
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4-20-11 GolfWeek (Jeff Rude): “Hate to be Rude: Green Playing with Pain”
Ken Green, who lost his right leg in a 2009 car accident, made his Champions Tour return in 2010.
He returns this week to the scene of his celebrated 2010 return. He’s back at the Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf, back in competition for the first time since June, back in a position to again inspire. A year ago, at 51, Green made two birdies a day in the 54-hole, better-ball event, his first PGA Tour-sanctioned tournament since losing his lower right leg 10 months prior. Believed to be the first amputee to play a major tour, Green teamed with Mike Reid to finish 26th out of 33 teams. That is, if you believe the scoreboard over emotions.
“To do what he did is not going to register as a win in the tournament,” Reid said, “but it’s a win.” Green transformed from anxious curiosity to impressive golfer then on a 7,087-yard course at the Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort & Spa. Using a manufactured swing and playing with pain all over and limping hither and yon, he served more testimony about the potential of the human condition. He left with tears of joy, hopeful that someday he could perhaps finish in the top 10 at a Champions Tour stop.
Fast-forward 12 months, though, and Green isn’t as optimistic. Both his golf and physical condition have regressed. The two slides are linked. He has played only once a week for the past several months because nerve pain in his leg worsened and constant headaches surfaced. “One thing I can handle,” said Green, who suffered the loss of his lower right leg in a June 2009 recreational vehicle accident that claimed the lives of his brother, girlfriend and dog. “Like if the leg goes crazy, you cry a little bit. But the headaches are constant. I don’t have the strength to handle both.” Green said he takes three kinds of pain medication and has seen at least a dozen doctors since June. An acupuncturist told him last month that his pain and headaches might be related to liver problems caused by having taken so many pills. Hopeful that strengthening the liver would help his leg and head, Green has undergone several acupuncture treatments and also botox. The head pain went away for 3 days last week but returned. “It’s better, but there’s still too much,” he said before a Tuesday practice round. “Taking a step back, it’s awful. Being worse than a year ago is not easy to take. It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to say I’m worse a year later. I never would have foreseen that.”
Despite all that, Green will play in the main Legends Division with longtime friend Mark Calcavecchia. Given a sponsor exemption, Green figures he’s the equivalent of a 3-4 handicap. “Calc is just going to have to play golf,” said Green, also scheduled to play in the 72nd Senior PGA Championship on May 26-29 at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Ky. “He rode my (butt) long enough. It’s time to go the other way.” As he spoke, he was headed to an equipment trailer in search of a “miracle driver, putter and anything else that might be deemed miracle status.” Yet he’s carrying more than pain, rust and self-deprecation into his latest public appearance. “This is my little bit of heaven, playing professional golf at this level,” Green said. “Even though I may stink, to be out there fighting gives me an extreme lift. I’m really excited about it. It’s definitely going to boost my morale.”
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4-9-11: “Green Refuses to Give Up Fight Against Leg Pain”
…by Chris Elsberry, CT Post Sportswriter
The pain in what’s left of Ken Green’s right leg continues to be constant. There are good days and bad days but the pain remains, a daily reminder of what happened almost two summers ago. But the leg pain isn’t the only thing. There are headaches now that last for days on end. Most days, the pain is tolerable, but there are times when it isn’t.
Green, formerly of Danbury, Conn., battles on the best he can because he knows what the outcome would be if he stopped fighting. He would lose. And Ken Green is no loser. And as bad as the leg pain is and the headaches are, there are also days when Green feels re-engerized. Those are the days when he drives up I-95 from his home in West Palm Beach, Fla., and heads toward Orlando to a place called Prosthetic & Orthotic Associates, where he and Stan Patterson work to make Green’s dream of continuing to play professional goal a reality. On those days, Green sees other patients without limbs, soldiers, for example, striving to get back to their units. He sees two women, who haven’t been able to walk for almost 20 years, take their first steps thanks to the technology that Patterson, an prosthetic specialist, has constructed for them. And he wonders why he complains about his pain.
When Green sees these people, with obstacles far worse than his, those are the days when the fight begins anew. He is committed to beating the pain, overcoming the headaches and getting back on the golf course to play the sport he loves. That’s why the Connecticut Sports Writers’ Alliance gave Green the 2011 Bob Casey Courage Award, which he will receive next Sunday at the 70th annual Gold Key dinner at the Aqua Turf Club in Southington. “I’m honored that the Connecticut writers would think of me and give me the Bob Casey award,” Green said in a conference call on Thursday. “Obviously, it’s been a strange run, there’s no other way around that and it’s nice to be recognized.”
In June of 2009, Green, who was returning from a Champions Tour event in Texas, had a tire blow on his RV, causing it to swerve into a ditch and hit a tree. His brother, Bill, his girlfriend, Jeannie Hodgin, and his dog, Nip, were all killed. Green had to have the lower part of right leg amputated.
In 2010, wearing a prosthetic, Green played in 3 Champions Tour events. In July, he played in the Connecticut State Open, shooting a solid 2-over 74 before the pain in his leg became too much and he withdrew. And as he prepares to play in his first Champions Tour event this season — the Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf with his good friend, Mark Calcavecchia, on April 22-24 — the pain in his leg continues to be a haunting reminder of what he’s trying to overcome.
“In terms of some of the issues that you guys know about, it has not improved much. I’m still in more pain than I would like. I have too many bad stretches,” Green said. “It is what it is and I have to deal with it. My hope is that we will eventually figure it out. But I’m definitely playing, there’s no doubt. Calc knows about my situation and that I’m not as good as I would like and he’s doesn’t care, which is great. And I’m definitely playing in the PGA Seniors (May 26-29 in Louisville, Ky). They’ve been wonderful, they want to have me, so I’m going to play there. How good I’m going to be, that will be a mystery. I’m hoping I can find a couple of mini-miracles by then.”
Green had always thought that the leg pain was coming from the nerve endings in the stump, but Patterson, who just returned from a trip to Fort Bragg to work with military amputees, seems to think that there might be a different reason for the pain. What reason or reasons, Green didn’t know, but he was planning to head to Orlando to speak with Patterson about potential new treatments. “I’m hoping that he might have an answer to the pain because it doesn’t allow me to play golf,” Green said. “You’d think as time goes on, you’d get better, but we’ve definitely hit a stall, so to speak.” But that stall eases when he sees the soldiers and other people at the prosthetic facility. “These last few months have worn me down, but I just have to remember what other people are going through and say that `you have to suck it up,’” Green said. “And say that we’ll figure out a way. When I see these (soldiers) and it’s like they don’t even have a limb … they want to go back to battle, and here I am, crying over some pain. I’ve got to get a grip and cry when the pain hits and then keep fighting the fight because otherwise, I’d lose, and I don’t want to lose.”
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4-9-11: “Danbury’s Green to Receive Courage Award, Continues Painful Golf Comeback”
By Chris Brodeur, Danbury News Times
The Golden Bear came out of hibernation 25 Masters Sundays ago today, but Ken Green won’t be celebrating from any sofas. No sir.
“I don’t watch as much as I used to because it does bother me that I’m not out there and playing at that level anymore,” the Danbury-born, 5-time PGA Tour winner said in a conference call Thursday. All the tournaments bother Green. They remind him of days like Thursday at that unforgettable `86 Masters, when he was an Augusta rookie — and a budding Augusta renegade — just scratching the surface of his talents. An aging Nicklaus inspired the echoing calls of CBS broadcasters, but the 28-year-old Green staged a dazzling putting display of his own to share the 18-hole lead.
“I can promise you that there’s never been a better putting round of golf than I had that day,” Green said of his opening round 68. “The putts I made were just idiotic. I literally had three putts that I made from 50 feet and I made like four other putts from 20-25 feet. It was absolutely insane. There were a lot of firsts in that tournament,” he added. “(My sister) Shelley was the first female caddy. And I was the first to bring kids out to caddy in the par-3. I actually got reprimanded for it, and now they make little outfits for the kids. I was the first guy to do the skip shot (off the water hazard on the par 3 16th during practice rounds) and I got yelled at for it. Now the fans yell at you when you don’t do it. So I’ve got a couple of unique firsts for Augusta.”
Today, at age 52, Green pioneers a different cause. One that, unlike the stretch of unspeakable tragedy that befell him in June of 2009, he’s somewhat in control of. Green is fighting for his life, which for him means playing golf competitively. Next Sunday, he’ll pause to attend the Connecticut Sports Writers’ Alliance’s 70th annual Gold Key Dinner in Southington. He’ll stand up — on one of his own legs and on one prosthetic — to accept the Bob Casey Award for Courage, named for the former New Haven Register sports editor.
Then, Green will get right back to work. ”I’m honored that the Connecticut writers would think of me and give me the Bob Casey award,” Green told a smattering of those responsible directly. “Obviously, it’s been a strange run. There’s no other way around that. So it’s nice to be recognized.”
By now, local golf fans know about the “strange run” Green speaks of, but it’s gotten no less impossible to grasp in the years since. When a tire blew in the RV Green was aboard en route to a Champions Tour event in Mississippi, the hellacious collision that ensued killed his girlfriend, Jeanne Hodgin, his brother, Bill, and his beloved German shepherd, Nip. Green’s right leg had to be amputated below the knee, the result of the worst of several injuries. Just seven months after the crash, he lost his 20-year-old, long-estranged son, Hunter, to an accidental drug overdose. But just like today, the golfer in Green’s blood told him to fight for the love that hadn’t left him, even if the emotional and physical toll on his body told him otherwise. He was talking about playing, in fact, while still in the operating hospital’s charge.
Green’s fans know about his comeback, how he participated in 3 Champions Tour events and then an additional local tournament last season, withdrawing from the last two when the pain in his right leg was unbearable. They might even be aware that he’s scheduled to make his first 2011 Champions Tour appearance later this month, pairing with old Tour buddy Mark Calcavecchia for the Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf, a two-man event in Savannah, Georgia.
What makes Green such a study in courage today though is the private aspect of his struggle. Along with the excruciating pain in his stump, Green’s battled the recent presence of 24-hour headaches perhaps tied, doctors have said, to the strain on his liver as caused by his perpetual aching. In many ways, Green has reached a crossroads with his bout. “We’ve definitely hit a stall, so to speak,” Green said. “It has not improved much. I’m still in more pain than I would like. I have too many bad stretches.”
Green has made time away from his West Palm Beach, Fla., home and his frequent visits to neurologists and other specialists to speak with veterans at Fort Bragg, N.C. He’s befriended fellow amputees at Prosthetics & Orthotic Associates in Orlando, Fla., where he picked up the phone Thursday, sharing in emotional first steps and even helping Dr. Stan Patterson develop prosthetics that aid in soldiers’ returns to the golf course.
However far away Green’s own full-time return seems, the faceless heroes in his company motivate his every move. “The one thing I can honestly tell you is people have no appreciation,” Green said. “They say I know people are losing their arms and their legs, but unless you are around the people, it doesn’t affect you. It doesn’t hit you good enough.” Green’s been through 7 or 8 different prosthetics, the latest of which required the latest visit to Patterson for repairs. He’s coped with relentless discomfort. But, taking a cue from those soldiers, he refuses to be denied. “It’s like they’ve never been hurt,” Green said. “The thing they think about right out of the box is how am I going to get back to my teammates, so to speak. Here I am crying over some pain that I have,” he added. “I’ve got to get a grip. Just say OK, cry when the pain hits and keep fighting the fight, because otherwise I lose. And I don’t want to lose.”
And if you listen to his post-Awards dinner plans, it won’t be long before he’s back on-screen. The partnership with Calcavecchia? “I’m definitely playing. There’s no doubt about that.”
The Senior PGA Championship in May? That’s another “definitely.” “They indicated that they wanted to have me, so I’m going to play.”
You can’t stop Ken Green. No sir. You can only slow him down.
Contact Chris Brodeur at firstname.lastname@example.org or 203-731-3378. Follow him on Twitter@BrodeurDNT.