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February 04, 2010

Tragedy Strikes Ken Green Again... But That Won't Stop His Comeback!

Let me take you back a few years...

It's 1982, I'm 13 years-old living in Portland, CT (Yes, there is a Portland in Connecticut). Golf is now my passion. I play it, read about it and watch it on TV as much as possible.

And up through the ranks comes a young guy with glasses from Connecticut wearing emerald green golf shoes.
Finally, someone from the Nutmeg state is on tour!

In a small state like CT, Kenny Green instantly becomes a hometown hero. Considering his accomplishments in the eighties it's not hard to see why.

Here's a look at results from his entire career:

Earned card at Q-School in Fall 1981 (after failing in ’79 & ’80)
Lost card after 1982 $11,899; regained card at ’82 Q-School
Lost card after 1984 $20,160, regained card at ’84 Q-School
Won the 1985 Buick Open, his 1st of 5 PGA Tour wins
PGA Career Earnings: $4,046,331
PGA TOUR (1982-2006) $3,745,345:
. . .508 events played, 274 cuts made
. . .Tour Wins: 5
. . .93 Top25’s, 44 Top10’s, 7 2nds, 4 3rds
NATIONWIDE TOUR (2005-2008) $154,169:
. . .55 events, 20 cuts, 1 3rd 6 Top10, 12 Top25
CHAMPIONS TOUR (2008-2009) $146,817:
. . .18 events, 18 cuts, 1 Top10, 2 Top25

With 5 PGA Tour wins, including two in a row, no doubt he's had a remarkable career.

But as we all know, golf is a very mental game... without a clear head it's unlikely any golfer can succeed at such a high level of play. And this is exactly what caused things to start going downhill for Ken Green.

Let's spring ahead to the mid-90's and see what's going on...

Green's life is beginning to spiral downward. He went through a brutal divorce, suffered depression, went into debt and (like many people in his situation) began drinking.

As he put it, "There are years, whole years from about 1998 to 2002 that I basically don't remember."

His life was such a mess that he even had thoughts of suicide.

But Green is a strong guy, has a lot of friends, and got through his bout with depression (etc.). He began playing golf again, this time on the Nationwide Tour. He had moderate success. In his head, he knew this was a great way to gear himself up for the Champions Tour as he approached 50 years-old.

During this time, he met a great woman who motivated, encouraged and helped him get his life in order. Things are looking up.

Kenny is now on the Champions Tour and having success, life is good. But then tragedy struck.

While driving between golf tournaments on June 8, 2009 on a Mississippi highway his RV blew out a tire, rolled over and was in a horrific accident.

Green lost his brother, Billy, his girlfriend, Jeanne Hodgin, and his dog, Nip - who he once saved from the jaws of an alligator by jumping in a canal behind his house and hitting the gator - in the accident.

"I lost the three best friends I had on the planet," Green said. "I'm never going to see them or talk to them again. There isn't one day I don't miss them, and that's never going to change... I still cry a lot, but you have two choices: You can move on or you can slowly rot and cause yourself more emotional pain than what you already feel... I'm choosing not to rot."

Ken was critically injured but needed multiple surgeries, ultimately having to get his leg amputated.

So could Ken Green ever play golf again? YEP!

Green asked his doctor about golf right away. It went like this, "That conversation was pretty brief... the doctor said the leg could be saved, but it'd be nothing more than a fixture. I'd walk, but that's about all. He said I could play golf, but I wouldn't be any good."

So Green asked, "What if you cut it off?"

"You could get a prosthesis and play," was the answer.

"I told him, 'Chop it!' " Green said. "I think I made it easier for them, because it was obvious they thought it was the best thing to do. If you get a patient who's reluctant, it presents a whole different set of problems."

Ken went through rehab, Peter Kostis has been working with him to get his swing back, and he's on his way to recovery.

Then, in January 2010, tragedy struck again...

The worst nightmare any parent could ever have. Ken's son Hunter passed away at college. I'm not going to get into details of that here, and I'm not going to talk about his nasty ex-wife who made this situation very difficult on Ken.

What I will say is this: Ken Green is one strong, resilient man. He will make it back on the Champions Tour, and he will succeed. With every fairway he hits, with every putt he drains - Billy, Jeanne, Nip and Hunter will be watching from above.

But here's the thing, Ken needs financial support from friends, family, and the golf community to get back on tour. As you may know, it's not cheap traveling the country, paying entry fees, food, etc...

Yet, there's a simple way we can support Ken Green's comeback. All it takes is $30 and you'll get one of these sweet hats in return:

All proceeds from the sale of these hats is donated directly to the Ken Green Living Expenses Trust.

To support Ken as he continues his comeback, just CLICK HERE and get a great looking hat and support this remarkable man.

He's been through more in the last few years than any man should have to go through in a lifetime.

If you really want to see firsthand what a good person he is, I recommend you read Ken Green's blog.


P.S. Ken is good friends with my brother-in-law Del and I often get to hear some very cool stories about what a good guy he truly is.

P.P.S. Just to show you what a fun guy Ken Green is here's a great story: When paired with Arnold Palmer at the 1997 Masters, Green had a pal bring him a beer on the 15th hole so he could always have a story to tell about having a beer with The King.


SueReu said...

Hey Larry, me again.

What an amazing story of courage! I would absolutely love to help Ken Green make his comeback (I'm partial to green), but the link doesn't work. Help?

Larry said...

Thank you Sue. The link is fixed.


claniac24 said...

Thanks for the link, Larry. I just ordered the hat. I have high hopes that many of our Clay Aiken fans will help Ken Green make his comeback.

katy said...

Larry, inspirational story. Just bought a hat!!

katy said...

Larry, me again. I'm going to put your blog in my favorites. I'm hoping other Clay Aiken see this and help Ken.

claysweetea said...

Thank you for inspirational story about Ken!

Pat said...

Hi Larry,

Just bought a hat for your friend, Ken, hope it helps. What a courageous and inspsiring man he is. Please tell him that he will be in my thoughts and prayers.

Liz said...

Hi Larry,
I didn't respond yesterday and wished I had, I am also a Clay fan and was heartfelt by Ken Green story, I just bought a hat to try and help out Ken, thank you for being the person you are that is giving and caring. This is why we love Clay. Good luck with your golf game and I hope Ken makes it back to his game.

Diana said...

I just checked out Ken Green's blog. Such a sad and fascinating life he's had. I hope his dreams of a comeback are realized.

Off to buy a hat.

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