KG Playing Champs/RegionsClassic May14-16! (Birmingham AL)
KG tees off at 10:48am FRIDAY in Champs/Regions-Classic (Birmingham AL), PLAYING WITH Gary Hallberg & Larry Mize…
May 14-16, Regions Charity Classic
Friday May 14 – Sunday May 16, 2010
Robert Trent Jones Trail at Ross Bridge, Hoover, AL
Tournament site: http://www.pgatour.com/tournaments/s564
1ST ROUND TEE TIMES – FRIDAY MAY 14 2010:
10:37am Harris, John Glasson, Bill Browne, Olin
10:48am (((Green, Ken))) Hallberg, Gary Mize, Larry
10:59am Zoeller, Fuzzy Lyle, Sandy Pavin, Corey
The Regions will be Ken’s first full-field, solo Champions Tour competition since the accident. His goals this weekend are small, at least when talking about a score. “If I keep it under 80 every day, I’ll be happy,” he said. But it’s a start toward being competitive on the golf course again, and that’s what he desperately needs. “You’ve got to say that playing is a victory,” Green said. “Starting and willing to take another slap in the face, basically, is a victory. You’re basically saying ‘I’m going to go out there and I’m going to let the course win.’ You have to be strong enough mentally to accept that when it happens but then keep moving. This is a battle and it’s a long one.”
…this from 5-13-10 Birmingham News article by Steve Irvine – see below.
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KG just posted this – remember, his 10:48 Tee-Time is CT – that’s 11:48 ET, so this was less than 2 hrs. before his 1st stripe right down the middle in Birmingham!
KG’s Blog Post #56 – 5/14/10 9:56am
Friday Nerves Are Slamming Me,
Wowsy!! I was doing so well and then it hits me like the Hulk. Nerves and anxiety, not my leg pain. But, I am committed to trusting the day to trust and remember that the victory is playing and not the score. I will keep improving everyday. I’ve had a serious conversation with my hybrids and told them they are going to work their tails off today. It feels so good to be scared.
Take care and I’ll be back,
= = = = = = = =ROUND1 UPDATES:
Friday 2:51pmCT: Birdies at 5, 9, 10, and 13 (so far) … 2-under on the back thru 14!!!
Friday, May 14, 2010, 2:50pmCT: “Ken Green Makes His Return to Competitive Golf at Regions Charity Classic”
By Ian Thompson, The Birmingham News
At precisely 10:48 Friday morning, Ken Green teed up his ball, adjusted his stance and split the fairway with a beautiful opening drive at the Regions Charity Classic at Ross Bridge in Hoover. For anyone who knows his harrowing story, this drive was nothing short of miraculous. The fact that he even made it to the tee, for the first time in a tournament on his own in almost a year, was special. Green lost the lower portion of his right leg in an automobile accident that claimed the life of his girlfriend and his brother last year. On his first shot Friday, he made solid contact and that obviously gave him a lot of pleasure and a big smile came across his face. There followed an approach shot onto the green and a narrow miss for birdie. He was on his way back where he really wanted to be … on the golf course. Through 15 holes of the opening round, Green stands at 1-over par.
= = = = = = = BTW, look at his DRIVING Stats (Friday)!
DRIVING ACCURACY 85.7%
DRIVING DISTANCE 282.0
= = = = = = = = KG’s Blog #57 Reviews RND1: (5/14/10 6:21pm):
Round One Done,
Wow! So excited yet angry too! I’m really pleased with my round. I hit a good shot on the 2nd hole and the ball went over the green and we lost it. I was really in a panic because I was scared to death that this was a disaster that was about to begin. I fought back and was really happy that I picked off 4 birdies. The leg went nuts on the last 3 holes, but I managed to get out of there without destroying the day. I’m going to go relax and recoup but wanted to send a quick note.
Thank you all for caring – it means the world to me.
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5-14-10: PGATour VIDEO of KG making his 4th Birdie of the day Friday on the Par5 #13:
“In the first round of the 2010 Regions Charity Classic, Ken Green hits one tight at the par-5 13th and putts in the short birdie try.”
PGATour.com link to Video: http://tinyurl.com/33zd62r
…BTW, check out them Shorts and them Legs!
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5-14-10: Champions Notebook, Round1: Regions Charity Classic
• Playing on a prosthetic limb, Ken Green made his first start in a stroke-play event in almost a year and shot 2-over 74. His round included 4 birdies. Green had his lower-right leg amputated following an RV accident in Mississippi while returning from the Triton Financial Classic in Austin last June. The accident killed his girlfriend, his brother and his dog, Nip. Here are some quotes from Green following his round today: “I’m not happy, but I am happy if that makes any sense. I hit some good shots and when I think about it tonight, I think I’ll be happy. It was hard and I got emotional at times during the round. The crowd support was great all day. I can’t tell you how good it does me to get that support. We all need love and support. The 4 birdies I made out there was fantastic. I was nervous on the 1st tee but the tee shot I hit was actually one of my better ones of the day. I had lots of good hope out there and I’m encouraged going forward.”
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5-14-10: “Four Golfers Tied For Champions Tour Lead, Amputee Ken Green Shoots 74”
The Canadian Press, by AP
…Ken Green, playing his first stroke-play event since having the lower part of his right leg amputated following an auto accident in June, shot a 74. He had four birdies, four bogeys and a double bogey while walking the 7,396-yard course. “It was hard, and I got emotional at times during the round,” Green said. “The four birdies I made was fantastic. I had lots of good hope out there, and I’m encouraged going forward.”
= = = = = = = = = = =ROUND2 UPDATES:
Round2 Tee-Times (Sat May15):
7:41am Gene Jones, Mike McCullough, Fred Holton
7:52am Bruce Lietzke, Peter Jacobsen, (((Ken Green)))
8:03am Mark Wiebe, Gary Hallberg, Jim Roy
(((( KG has 3-Bird 76 in Round2 Saturday in Birmingham)))
I sent this to KG about an hour ago…
Excellent 3-Bird Round AGAIN, KG!!!
I know that Hilly, Long course has got to be working on you.
Remember, it’ll ONLY Get Better, CHAMP!
Was Peter his normal Funny guy? Ditto Bruce – seems like a nice fellow.
Got this text reply back a few mins ago:
“Hey man. Yes it was fun today. Many good shots the lies r killing me but this is a unique course it will be better soon.”
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =KG’s BLOG #58 – ALL ABOUT ROUND2:
KG’s Blog Post #58 – 5/15/10 3:02pm
Regions Day Two,
Well how is it all floating? Day two is done and over and I’m here to tell you that even though the score was higher, there were a lot of good old love, shots and no damn putts!!!
I was fortunate to play with Lietzke & Jacobsen and they are just good people to play with. Bruce happen to mention that he peaks at my blogs and wondered if I was gonna open my mouth again today. At the time I said I was kinda pissed and didn’t want to get myself fined again.
It was then that the big guy intervened with a classic wowsy moment. After I beat the 13th hole into a coma with a birdie from the trees, I had the honors on the par3 14 – 179 yards to the pin and a nice front pin over water. I calmly decided to power a 6, where I hit this fan shank into the water. When I arrived to survey the situation I was told it was swimming with the orcas. I was kinda screwed and trying to figure out where to drop it when I noticed that I saw the ball down in the moss filled pit was potentially playable. It was then I tried to figure out how to climb my one legged body down there. It was a 5 foot rock ledge climb where I held on to rocks, women and wine. Once I had successfully gotten to the bottom, I had to walk back up to the ball – the 10 yd. journey on moss, rock, water and little creatures was filled with numerous slips but not once did I go down. I then decided that I was there and was gonna see if I could get the ball that was completely submerged out and up over this 5 foot ledge to the pin which was a mere 60 feet away. With one quick slap I got the ball out and up and on the green to about 20 feet. Awesome!! My caddy, Mitch, then pulled my butt up and out. He of course showing his extreme athleticism and fell down. After I stopped laughing, I went over and simply knocked it in!!!! A par called ‘classic’. It was a memory hole!!
I look forward to trying not to finish last and to doing battle again tomorrow. We are making great progress and I’m so psyched. This battle with golf is keeping me going. It is giving me a reason to fight. People were just so nice. I’m thrilled that I can give someone a smile, it makes me feel like gold. Oh, the pain today was lower than yesterday, so I can only hope it keeps going in that direction. I can’t begin to tell you how much it hurts.’’
KG/Regions-Birmingham/May14-16 2010 – FINAL RESULTS:
74-76-75 = 225
7 Birds total, finished with 10 straight pars, Driving day3: 259.5, 93% accuracy, for the tourn: 271.7, 81% accuracy.
Cards & Stats:
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5-16-10: “Congrats to Ken Green – He Did It.”
by Chris Elsberry, The CT News
Three days of tournament golf (and tournament pressure) and not only did Ken Green survive, he played amazingly well. Sunday in the final round of the Champions Tour Regions Charity Classic in Hoover, Ala., Green, from Danbury, shot a 3-over 75 to finish the 54-hole tournament at 9-over 225. Green, who was involved in a tragic RV accident last June that killed his brother, girlfriend and his dog and cost him half of his right leg, shot rounds of 74-76-75 over the 7,396 yard course using a prosthetic limb — making him the first professional golfer to accomplish such a feat. Green’s only two goals for the tournament were to break 80 all 3 days and not to finish dead last and he achieved both. He finished tied for 73rd, finishing ahead of Jim Roy, Frank Shikle and Rick Smallridge [and tied with Jim Dent]. Congratulations, Ken. Well done.
…ANOTHER GREAT RECAP BY TOM YANTZ:
5-17-10: “Ken Green Tied For 73rd Place, But Remains No. 1”
By Tom Yantz, The Hartford Courant
Here’s the only number that matters when it comes to what Ken Green did at the Champions Tour Regions Charity Classic: #1.
The scoreboard said he finished tied for 73rd place in the field of 77.
Don’t believe it.
He played inspirational golf. Playing with a right leg prosthesis for the first time in a regular Champions Tour event, he concluded the tournament Sunday with a 75. His story continues to be remarkable. And it gives him hope and confidence to do better with the world’s best 50-and-over players. A great story continues to develop.
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = GREAT ARTICLE:
5-13-10: “Champions Tour Golfer Ken Green Leans on God as He Fights His Way Through a String of Tragedies”
By Steve Irvine, The Birmingham News
Ask Ken Green about the RV accident last June that took the life of his older brother Billy, his longtime girlfriend Jeannie Hodgin and his German Shepherd Nip and he’ll reach into his heart, look you in the eye and try to explain what it’s been like to carry around that grief. Ask him what it’s like to lose his lower right leg after the accident and he’ll share what it’s like to live life as an amputee. Delve into what it’s like to live through the pain caused by the death of his 21-year-old son, Hunter, who died of an accidental overdose of alcohol and prescription drugs in January, and he’ll attempt to put into words the feelings that he can’t fully describe.
“If you believe in God, which I do, for some reason he decided that I’m going to have these special kind of tests in life,” said Green, who is among the field of 78 golfers competing in this weekend’s Regions Charity Classic. “I’ve got to do the best I can in that. That’s our purpose as a person, I believe. When you’re given these obstacles, you’ve got to go handle it. It doesn’t mean you’ve got to win every battle. You may not even win the war, but at least you’re going to go fight them.”
It’s not the first battle for the 51-year-old Green. Challenges came from several different directions. One was his battle with depression that not only crippled his golf game but nearly cost him his life. At one point, he considered suicide, and this was long before the tragedies of the past year.
RID OF DEMONS
To fully understand his losses, go back to about this time last year when Green played Champions Tour events in 4 consecutive weeks with Billy as his caddie. His 4-week journey in the RV with his three travel companions began at Ross Bridge, moved on to Cleveland, Des Moines and concluded in Austin, Texas. “When we were traveling back from Austin, our last stop, so to speak, I told Billy that the demons were totally gone and from here on in there would be nothing but good stuff,” recalled Green, a 5-time winner on the PGA Tour and Ryder Cup participant in 1989. “Once my demons were gone, I was going to have a good run at golf for awhile. Emotionally, I was as good as I’ve ever been. Golf was about to become as good as it had been in forever. Billy was doing wonderful, Jeannie and I were wonderful, I couldn’t ask for much more. And then you wake up and you don’t even know what happened.”
What happened was the RV blew a right front tire and ran down an embankment while traveling on Interstate 20 near Meridian, Miss., on June 9. With a week off before the next tournament, they were traveling from Austin to Greensboro, N.C., where Jeannie lived. Green didn’t learn what happened until he woke up in a hospital with his sister, Shelley White, by his side. Green’s badly mangled right leg was soon amputated just below the knee. He spent five weeks in the hospital and another month recuperating at his sister’s house. His faith in God was Green’s rock during this time, but he said golf wasn’t that far behind. Once he was physically ready, he started the slow process of learning how to play golf as an amputee.
In January, Hunter Green, who was attending SMU, was found dead in his dorm room. The older Green, who had a fractured relationship with his son, did not learn about the death until about a week later and, by that time, Hunter was already buried. After learning about his son’s death, Green wrote in his blog that “we had a stranded relationship but my love for him never diminished once.”
Once again, his faith was tested. “I’m constantly saying (to God), ‘Didn’t you see how I handled the first thing you threw at me (his depression), and now you’re throwing 3 or 4 different asteroids at me?’”
One way he copes is to talk about it, even though his emotions can turn into tears at any moment. One of those times came in a Connecticut movie theater while watching “Clash of the Titans.” “This makes no sense,” Green said. “It’s a movie about gods and men and fighting and wacky, one-eyed heathens and all that. And I had a pretty bad burst.”
This past Saturday, he ventured across the street from his Hoover hotel to eat dinner. It wasn’t until he was inside the restaurant that he realized he was sitting at the same table where he and his brother ate after arriving in town for the Regions Charity Classic last year. “I just kind of lost it,” Green said. “I was like ‘How does that happen?’ There’s a gazillion different restaurants here. It is stuff like that, that are kind of tough. I’m OK with the crying and having those bad days or those bad moments, but they hit you at the stupidest times.”
GOLF IS ANOTHER BATTLE
Through it all, he clings to golf. He desperately wants to find a way to contend in a Champions Tour event, but knows that is uncertain. He’s had to reinvent his swing with the help of longtime friend Peter Kostis because his lack of lower-body strength limits his distance off the tee and his stance in his short game changes constantly. The game that has been his life seemingly forever doesn’t come naturally anymore. He thought about not coming back. He played a couple of mini-tour events before taking the big leap of playing in the Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf in Savannah, Ga., in late April. Green teamed with Mike Reid and finished tied for 26th in the 32-team field, but that was overshadowed by Green’s mere presence.
“It’s easy to say, ‘Boy, this is great for Ken, this is really going to lift his spirits,’ Reid said at the time. “But it’s the other way around. That’s the message I hope nobody misses. He’s lifting us.”
The Regions will be his first full-field, solo competition since the accident. His goals this weekend are small, at least when talking about a score. “If I keep it under 80 every day, I’ll be happy,” he said. But it’s a start toward being competitive on the golf course again, and that’s what he desperately needs.
“You’ve got to say that playing is a victory,” Green said. “Starting and willing to take another slap in the face, basically, is a victory. You’re basically saying ‘I’m going to go out there and I’m going to let the course win.’ You have to be strong enough mentally to accept that when it happens but then keep moving. This is a battle and it’s a long one.”
= = = = = = = =ANOTHER GREAT ARTICLE:
5-12-10: “Ken Green Starts Comeback at Regions Charity Classic”
CBS 42 Sports, Birmingham, AL
((((Includes a Video!!!))))
In the midst of his first comeback on the Champions Tour, an unthinkable tragedy struck Ken Green last June. He was driving home from a tournament in Austin, Texas, when his RV blew a tire, rolled down an embankment and hit a tree. His brother, girlfriend and life-long companion Nip the german shepard, were killed instantly. Green was thrown through the windshield and shattered his right leg.
“My only hope of ever playing professional golf was if they cut the leg off,” Green Says. “At the time was pretty simple and I’m still glad I did it.” For Green, golf was all he had left. “It’s what’s giving me the hope because when you lose as much as I’ve lost, you have a lot of bad days, bad moments,” he says. “Having something out there, you know, it’s kind of like teasing the horse with the carrott. Golf’s doing that. Giving me that hope that we can get through all this and move forward.”
Less than a year after having his leg amputated, Green is playing in his first tournament this weekend. And while he continues to move forward, Green never loses sight of the past. Written on his shoes are the names of all those he lost including his son hunter who died just 6 months after the accident. “Just my way of saying I’m never gonna forget. And I’ll make sure I don’t forget,” he says.
Green is the first golfer with a prosthetic leg to compete on the Tour, but for a guy who was known as one of golf’s bad boys in the ’80s, the role of inspiration is one he doesn’t take lightly. “Ken Green and inspiration don’t usually go hand-in-hand, ” he says with a laugh. “It is kind of wierd. But if you are a believer and he puts you on a certain path for a reason. I’m hoping I can fill the task. Honestly, that’s one of the things I’m worried about. I want to make sure I do all the right things. Whereas before I don’t think I ever worried too much about that.”
Ken is still learning how to play with his new leg and every course brings new challenges. But if there’s anyone who can handle whatever life throws his way, it’s Ken Green.
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =AND THIS ONE:
5-13-10: “Champions Tour’s Green Braces for Challenges of Return to Individual Play From Tragedies”
By John Zenor, AP Sports Writer
HOOVER, Ala: Ken Green is a realist, and a survivor. So he isn’t aiming for a quick victory in his comeback to the Champions Tour. Playing respectably would be a win, in itself. Green returns for his first individual stroke-play event since a series of tragedies with the Regions Charity Classic starting Friday in suburban Birmingham. Green has endured the deaths of his brother, longtime girlfriend and son, and the amputation of the lower part of his right leg over the last year.
“It will be beyond difficult for me,” Green, who partnered with Mike Reid in the Legends of Golf last month, said Thursday in the players clubhouse. “I would be ecstatic if I can break 80 all three days. There’s no delusions here. Once I get stuck on a certain lie — you know, one bad shot leads to another bad shot — I’m going to make some doubles and triples (bogeys) and scores add up. But you’ve got to do it. I’ve got to learn. I’ve got to figure it out, and the only way to do it is to keep playing. I’ve got to keep playing if I’m going to get better.”
He says he’s got to keep playing, period, to help cope with the terrible blows of the last year. Last June, Green was in a crash that killed his brother and girlfriend, along with his dog when the RV his brother was driving blew a tire and went off Interstate 20 near Hickory, Miss., hitting a tree. Faced with either having his lower right leg amputated or giving up golf, he chose the former.
In January, his 21-year-old son Hunter was found dead in his SMU dorm room.
Fellow golfer Scott Simpson marvels at Green’s return from all that. “He’s inspiring a lot of people,” Simpson said. “He lost two, now three, people and a dog that you love, that are your whole world. “I think he adds a lot to this tournament and the Champions Tour. We’re all rooting hard for him.”
Green’s shirt Thursday had “Nipper” on the back in honour of his beloved German Shepherd. He had another one made honoring his late girlfriend, Jeannie Hodgin.
Green isn’t sure of his own judgment in making his individual, 54-hole return on a 7,525-yard course that includes par-5 holes with yardages of 620 (No. 6), 614 (13), 592 (3) and 571 yards (16). It’s the Champions Tour’s longest course. Welcome back, Ken. “This is a tough one,” Green said. “I figure I might as well start at the hardest and work my way down.”
Green, who has a prosthetic right leg, will be allowed to ride a cart close to the tees and greens to minimize the agonizing up-and-down climbs. He didn’t make use of that privilege in a round Wednesday, and paid dearly for it the next morning. “I’m not even sure I can play all three days in a row,” Green said. “Today would have been an absolute disaster. I don’t know how three days are going to be. They just told me I can bring the cart pretty much anywhere which will help a lot. Ups and downs are bad because my good leg is actually the bad leg. I’ve got ligaments and tendons that are torn from the accident. Either way I walk, it’s difficult.”
He said he constantly has what he describes as “an electrical short” running through his right leg. “And it really goes up to levels that you just cry,” Green said. “I just didn’t know that this kind of pain existed. It’s pretty nasty. They say it takes time. I got a bad case of it, and it’s just the luck of the draw when you get your leg chopped off.”
Green said it took a week to recover from the Legends of Golf, where he and Reid finished tied for 26th. There’s no best-ball play this time. Every bad shot counts. And Green readily admits that’s a scary prospect and that his nerves were a jangled mess a day before the tournament — a seeming rarity for a veteran of 507 PGA Tour starts, including 5 victories. His goals under normal circumstances would be modest. Green said he wants to shoot 80 or below for all three rounds and he’d love to crack 75 once. Also, he doesn’t want to finish last. For all he’s been through, Green still has to try to push away fears that he’ll embarrass himself or his sport, something that Simpson said would be impossible at this point.
“The one thing I don’t want to do is hurt golf in any way,” Green said. “And I know that’s just me thinking like an idiot, but I can’t get it out of my mind. Every player has been wonderful and said, ‘Don’t worry about it. Just enjoy it. It’s great that you’re playing, that you’re here.’ It’s just something I have to get out of my head and say, OK I’m just going to go out there and play and see what happens.”
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5-7-10: Ken Green Interview, WJOX/Birmingham Podcast (MP3 – my PC plays with Windows Media Player)…
Ken Green talks about his return to golf after his tragic RV accident. Ken shares his amazing story with Jay, Al and Tony.