by Jeff Skinner
For the four months prior to The Masters much of the world’s media, and all of golf’s media, were focused on the comeback of Tiger Woods from the biggest scandal in golf history. This week we will be witness to another comeback to the course as Ken Green will make his first appearance on The Champions Tour since his horrific accident last June. There won’t be any non-golf media at The Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf, after all Ken Green is not Tiger but his story is something more of us could understand and relate to.
Green was in the midst of his own comeback to golf last year on The Champions Tour when his motor home crashed killing his girlfriend, his brother and his dog. Green has said they were the three most important things in his life. Green had serious injuries from the accident which included a crushed eye socket and a mangled left leg. When he was told the leg could be saved but would not be functional he choose to have it amputated. He knew his chances of playing golf at the professional level were better with a left leg that worked, even if it was a prosthetic one.
Green has seen tough times in his personal and professional life before. He was a successful tour player (five wins in the late 80’s) that lived in the fast lane for awhile and had to deal with a drinking problem and depression. As he approached fifty he made a commitment to play golf again and had been living his dream of competing on the Champions Tour. He has also had to deal with the death of his estranged, 21 year old son in January. It hasn’t been at all easy for Green.
Green had asked for a “major medical” exemption from The Champions Tour so he could keep playing for the months he had missed due to the injury. In what can best be described as odd, he was denied the exemption. It seems that since Green was not a fully exempt player he did not qualify. The exemption is open only to players in the categories of top 30 money winners from the previous season and winners from the current year. So Green was denied the exemption. If there ever was a “major medical” issue I would think this would qualify. Green wasn’t thrilled by the decision but will play until his status expires in July and rely on sponsor’s exemptions to get in other tournaments this season.
Green and his comeback will not make the front page of the tabloids or be covered by TMZ or People Magazine but his story is more compelling and sympathetic than the Tiger Scandal. Green has many friends on the tour and they’ll all be thrilled to welcome him back to play this weekend. It will be a long and painful odyssey for Green but he’s determined to play on tour again. He says he was put in this position for a reason and he’ll do his best to play golf and just try to be a normal player on tour. In my book playing professional golf with a prosthetic leg is anything but normal. Good luck to Ken Green this weekend. Let’s hope this year will be a little easier than his last.