KG Accepts Ben Hogan Award on 4-7-10 in Augusta
April 7, 2010, GWAA Annual Awards Dinner, Augusta GA.
Ken Green got some welcome news when the Golf Writers Association of America voted for the annual Ben Hogan Award for the individual who has continued to be active in golf despite a physical handicap or severe illness. Past winners included Babe Zaharias (the first, in 1954), Dwight Eisenhower (1956) and Fuzzy Zoeller (1986). The awards dinner was Wednesday night in Martinez, near Augusta. “When things like this happen, it helps to perk you up,” Green said of the award. “It gives a little boost. When you go through what I go through, you have down time, bad moments.“ Green actually is sharing the award with Tom Watson, whom Green called “a legend” and “the best links-style, bad-weather player the game has ever seen.“ Watson, who had left hip replacement surgery in October 2008, was nearly 60 when he nearly won the 2009 British Open. “To come so close to winning the British was just amazing,” said Green, who can add an amazing chapter to his story in Savannah later this month at The Legends event.
4-8-10 Report from Kevin Richardson re: April 7, Ben Hogan Night…
“Jim Mercer and I were there.
We had the table closest to the podium.
Tiger was at the table next to us.
Ken came dressed in shorts and a Tommy Bahama shirt – classic!
Two writers who wrote stories on Ken got first place awards for their pieces on him.
Ken got the only standing O before and after his speech. He spoke very well and from the heart; everyone there was touched.” – KR.
Ken Green receives The Ben Hogan Award from The President of the GWAA Vartan Kupelian during the 2010 Golf Writers of America Annual Awards Dinner on April 7, 2010 in Augusta.
Ken Green & Tom Watson receive jointly The Ben Hogan Award from The President of the GWAA Vartan Kupelian during the 2010 Golf Writers of America Annual Awards Dinner on April 7, 2010 in Augusta.
Ken Green speaks to the guests after receiving The Ben Hogan Award during the 2010 Golf Writers of America Annual Awards Dinner April 7, 2010 in Augusta.
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4-8-10 Golf Digest Editor’s Blog…
“GWAA Awards night” – quotes by T.Watson & Ken Green…
…There were politics, but kind and gentle kind. Conservative Tom Watson, who shared the Ben Hogan comeback-from-injury award with Ken Green, said, We’ll, I am undeserving too compared to what my fellow golfer Ken Green went through.”
Green, his irascible self, looked down at the artificial leg he’s had since the car accident that took his girlfriend and his brother began, “I may have a metal thing down there, but I can still put it in my mouth.” Though he took Commissioner Tim Finchem to task for the tour’s not affording him a special medical exemption to play the Champion’s tour, his comments were both funny (“I’ll bet you’ve never put Ben Hogan, Tom Watson and Ken Green together!”) and moving. Referring to his accident and the subsequent loss of his son this year, Green said: “You have a choice. You can fall apart or you can re-group. They say God doesn’t give you anything you can’t handle. I hope he got the right guy. You can be sure I’ve had some bad days. But I can honestly tell you that the one thing that kept me moving, kept me going was the dream of mine to get back playing professional golf.”…
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4-8-10: “Hogan Award Bittersweet for Masters Maverick Ken Green”
By David Westin, Staff Writer, Augusta.com
Ken Green never thought he’d be in town and attend the Masters Tournament as a spectator for this reason.
Green, who played in 6 Masters from 1986 through 1997 and was the first-round leader in his first appearance, attended the Golf Writers Association of America awards banquet Wednesday night, where he accepted the Ben Hogan Award with Tom Watson. Earlier in the day, Green attended the Masters practice round. The Hogan award goes to a golfer who remains active in the sport despite a physical handicap or serious illness.
Green certainly qualifies.
The 51-year-old, a 5-time winner on the PGA Tour who played on the Champions Tour last year, is in the process of returning to golf after being in a motor home accident that took the lives of 2 people and led to the amputation of his right leg. The accident, which happened in Mississippi last June when the vehicle blew a tire, took the life of Green’s brother, Billy, Green’s girlfriend and his dog.
“It’s a double-edged sword; I’m honored they (the golf writers) have thought of me and gave me consideration, but I’d preferred not to have that accident,” said Green, who accepted the Hogan Award at Savannah Rapids Pavilion. The tragedies that have happened are mind-boggling.”
In March, his son Hunter, a student at Southern Methodist University, died of an accidental overdose from a mix of alcohol and prescription drugs. “It’s a been a horrific year for me,” Green said. Winning the Hogan award took a little sting out of it. “When things like this happen, it helps perk you up,” he said. “It gives you a little boost. When you go through what I go through, you have down time and bad moments.”
SINCE GETTING his prosthetic leg, Green has worked to make his return to golf. He played in a mini-tour senior event and will make his return to the Champions Tour on April 23 in the Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf in Savannah, GA, where he will team with Mike Reid, who was his partner there last year. He will be the first player to play in the Champions Tour event with a prosthetic leg.
“I’ve taken a beating here, there’s no doubt about it,” Green said of his injuries. “The idea of playing professional golf is what has kept me going.” Other than the Legends of Golf event, Green doesn’t know when he’ll play again on the Champions Tour. He’s been turned down for a major medical exemption this year by the PGA Tour, which has him furious.
At Augusta National Golf Club on Wednesday, Green was able to relive many of the memories from his colorful Masters days. At the top of the list is the 68 he shot in the opening round of the 1986 Masters that gave him a share of the lead with Bill Kratzert. “I think about all the putts I made that day,” Green said. “I don’t care what anybody says, it was the most ridiculous putting round in Augusta history.” Green said he made 5 putts of more than 30 feet, including one he estimates was “80 or 90″ feet on the 5th hole. He was a few yards short of the green and putted from there to a back-center pin position and made it. He capped off the round by making a 30-foot birdie on the 18th hole. Of course, the 1986 Masters turned out to be the one in which 46-year-old Jack Nicklaus won his 6th green jacket. “The Golf Channel constantly shows that Masters and they always refer to me and show the bunker shot I holed out on No. 18 on the second day; that’s a shot I’ll always remember,” said Green, who followed the 68 with rounds of 78-74-76 to finish 44th.
GREEN HAS always been something of a maverick in golf. He made waves at the Masters, but it turns out he was ahead of his time in certain areas. He had one of the first female caddies (his sister, Shelley, in 1986) and he was the first golfer to have one of his children caddie for him in the Par-3 Contest. Now, almost all the players have a family member as their caddie.
Green also says he and his buddy, Mark Calcavecchia, started the tradition of skipping balls across the water on the par-3 16th hole during practice rounds. Some patrons interviewed this week thought that Seve Ballesteros was the first player to skip the ball across the pond on No. 16. “They’re mistaken,” Green said. Here’s how he knows he and Calcavecchia were the first: he received a letter from then-Masters Chairman Hord Hardin telling him “we don’t do that here,” said Green, who continued to skip his ball across No. 16 whenever he played in the Masters. He also received a letter from Hardin chastising him for having one of his children caddie for him in the Par-3 Contest. “I got numerous letters,” Green said. “I tossed them pretty quick.”
Green was also fined by the PGA Tour for some of his actions during the Masters. “I was probably fined more times at the Masters than at any other event; I was fined at least once for every event I played, and twice once,” said Green, for offenses ranging from cursing to club abuse. The reasons for so many fines at Augusta National, he said, was because “there were so many different officials on every hole.”
His most famous incident came in the 1997 Masters. Playing with an injured finger, Green shot 87 in the first round and was planning to withdraw. In those days, the pairings were changed each day, and he decided not to withdraw when he found he drew Arnold Palmer in the second round as a playing partner. “He was my hero growing up and I had a wonderful time playing with him,” Green said. Green got in trouble, however, on the 15th hole. “I’d always dreamed of having a beer with Arnold Palmer and I knew I’d never get that chance again, so I had a friend bring me a beer.” Afterward, when questioned by officials, he admitted to drinking the beer, which is a violation of PGA Tour rules. “Like a fool I opened my mouth and told the truth, which is what I always do,” Green said.
Back in 1989, he snuck friends onto the grounds, hiding two of them in the back seat and two more in the trunk of his car. He had to get 8 people in, so he made 2 trips each day. “We had 16 people and my wife had half the badges,” Green said. “She wouldn’t come and she refused to send them.” Green told Augusta National officials his problem. “I told them the truth and they wouldn’t let me do it (buy more badges),” Green said. “So I improvised.” Green pulled off the stunt every day that week. “I got pretty good at it and never got caught,” he said. “I would drop them off and tell them they were on their own (to avoid being caught without a badge). ”As luck would have it, the only person who got caught was one of her (his then-wife’s) brothers.”
With his checkered past at Augusta National, Green said he was “a little leary” when he called the club to see if he could purchase some extra Wednesday practice-round tickets for some relatives who made the trip with him this week.
“I was hoping they didn’t hold a grudge against me.”
Green got the tickets.
“Ken Green who lost his right leg to an automobile accident was awarded the Ben Hogan Award by the Golf Writers Association of America at their 38th Annual Awards Dinner at the Savannah Rapids Pavilion in Martinez, GA Wednesday evening.” (Jeff Janowski/Special)
“After an opening-round 68 in the 1986 Masters, Ken Green was tied for the lead with Bill Kratzert. Green finished 44th in that year’s tournament.” (Augusta.com File)
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“Ken Green, Tom Watson Share Ben Hogan Award”
By Tom Yantz, Hartford Courant, Jan. 6, 2010
Ken Green and Tom Watson share the Golf Writers Association of America Ben Hogan Award, according to a PGA Tour press release.
There will be plenty of cheers and some tears when Green accepts this honor in April. Green, a Danbury native, had his lower right leg amputated last summer as the result of a traffic accident that killed his brother and girlfriend. Watson almost won the British Open last year after having hip replacement surgery the year before.
The Hogan Award is for golfers who remain active in the sport despite a physical handicap or serious illness. Green is working to be the first golfer to play with a leg prosthesis on the Champions Tour.
In addition, Pete Dye, who redesigned Edgewood Golf Club in Cromwell to the TPC at River Highlands in the early 1980s, was honored with the William D. Richardson Award, given annually to recognize individuals who have consistently made an outstanding contribution to golf. Dye is a noted golf course architect. One of his famed creations was TPC at Sawgrass.
((( All the awards will be given out at the GWAA Awards Dinner April 7 in Augusta, Ga. ))) Others to receive awards include Padraig Harrington (ASAPSports/Jim Murray Award, which recognizes a golfer for cooperation, quotability and accommodation with the media) and GWAA players of the year Tiger Woods (PGA Tour), Jiyai Shin (LPGA) and Loren Roberts (Champions). To read more go to http://www.pgatour.com .
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“Harrington, Watson, Green, and Dye Honored By Golf Writers”
By Golf Digest, Jan. 5, 2010
Tom Watson, Padraig Harrington, Ken Green and course architect Pete Dye have been honored with three of the Golf Writers Association of America’s most prestigious awards.
Watson, 60, a Hall-of-Famer and the 2009 British Open runner-up, and Green, who lost part of his right leg in an accident that claimed the lives of his brother and girlfriend, both received the Ben Hogan award, given for remaining active in golf despite a physical handicap or serious illness. This year marks the first-ever tie for the award.
Harrington, a 3-time major winner, received the ASAPSports/Jim Murray award, which honors a golfer for cooperation with the media. Dye, whose course designs include TPC Sawgrass, Whistling Straits, Black Wolf Run and PGA West, received the William D. Richardson Award, given to individuals who have consistently made an outstanding contribution to golf.
Watson, Harrington, Green and Dye will be honored April 7 in Augusta, Ga., at the annual GWAA Awards dinner. Players of the Year Tiger Woods, Jiyai Shin and Loren Roberts will also be honored.
Harrington, 38, was the 2008 GWAA Male Player of the Year, and Watson was the recipient of the Charlie Bartlett Award in 2004. Green, 51, is rehabilitating and determined to return to the Champions Tour.
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Exciting News from Kevin Richardson 1-7-10. . .
“Ken has been honored by the Golf Writers Association of America as the 2010 recipient of the Ben Hogan award, for remaining active in golf despite a physical handicap. Ken will be honored, along with Tom Watson, in Augusta on April 7, 2010, the eve of The Masters.”