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Multiple PGA Tour winner and amputee Ken Green trying to inspire others on G4D Tour

Multiple PGA Tour winner and amputee Ken Green trying to inspire others on G4D Tour

Multiple PGA Tour winner, former Ryder Cup player and amputee Ken Green says he hopes he can inspire others as he contemplates a regular return to competitive golf after playing on the G4D Tour for the first time at Wentworth Club this week.

Ken Green G4D Tour-1675781686

Green might have been a new name on the G4D Tour at the BMW PGA Championship this week, but he needs little introduction to many in the golf world.

His life is one that has been covered extensively by the golf media and even by himself in an emotional and brutally honest tell-all biography entitled HUNTER OF HOPE: A Life Lived Inside, Outside and On the Ropes.

On the front of his biography, there is a quote from Paul Azinger that says “one of the most courageous men in the world”.

And it’s clear to see why.

A five-time PGA Tour winner and member of the 1989 United States Ryder Cup team, Green’s participation this week is as an amputee golfer following a tragic motor home accident in 2009 that resulted in the loss of his partner, his brother and his dog.

Green, who was a notoriously big personality on and off the course, had already navigated a difficult upbringing and several obstacles on his way to the PGA TOUR, and his accident left him facing another tough hand - with little option than amputating his lower right leg. He told doctors he’d find a way to play golf, and he has, but it was far from the end of his heartbreak.

A year later, his son died of an overdose.

Amid unfathomable circumstances, Green’s outlook on life is breathtakingly positive for someone who has endured so much, and the 65-year-old hopes that through his love of golf and his faith, he can inspire others to keep going like he has.

“I'm a firm believer you have just got to keep going all the way,” Green told the DP World Tour.

“If you're sitting there thinking your life is over and what's the purpose, you have got to remind yourself that it's your responsibility to yourself to live life at its best.

"And then if you are a giving person, think of the good that you might be able to do by taking your tragedy and turn it into a positive.

"Even if you just help five people for the rest of the time, when you do the trickle down effect from a young kid who might be having a problem, he's eventually going to get married and kids and boom, boom. You understand what I'm saying? It's just you're helping more than five, it's going to turn into hundreds and hundreds and then go to thousands. And that's worth living for to help others.”

Back Row L-R: Chip Beck, Tom Kite, Ken Green, Tom Watson, Mark McCumber, Curtis Strange, Lanny Wadkins, Mark O'Meara, Front Row L-R: Fred Couples, Paul Azinger, Ray Floyd (captain) holding the trophy, Payne Stewart, and Mark Calcavecchi

Telling his story, Green explained what had happened on that fateful day 14 years ago.

“I had just turned 50 and we were coming back from Austin, Texas to my wife's home in Greensboro, North Carolina. My wife, my brother who was caddying for me and my favourite dog, Nip.

“I had gone into bed to take a nap and my brother was driving and all I remember is hearing this bang, a big thump. From that point on, I don't remember anything, so I assume I had rushed forward. The tyre blew and we had crashed straight off the road and we went down this steep embankment and we landed headfirst into some massive oak. If you saw the RV, it would blow your mind because it just got squished. So I must have gotten thrown out the window. One half of my body went out one piece of the window and there's a pole in between the two, and that's where the leg went out that side.

“Unfortunately, I lost my brother and my wife and my dog Nip, and then I woke up a couple days later in the hospital with no idea what had happened. I woke up and my sister is there, and I was like, what are you doing? Then she told me what happened, and within a day they realised that my leg was really in bad shape and they were concerned because everyone told them, there's no way I'm going to elect to cut my leg off because I love golf too much. The doctors came and said, listen, here's what's going to happen. We can keep your leg, but you're going to end up kind of dragging it a lot. I knew dragging it meant I can't play golf. So I just said, cut it. I mean, I'll figure out a way to play.

“So you pick up the pieces, so to speak. That recovery was probably a good three, four months. They ended up having a lot of infections, but it got me going. I was ready to tackle my next responsibility to life. I'm a firm believer you have just got to keep going all the way.

“Then some awful news came, I lost my son in college, a mix of some drugs and some alcohol. That was a tough one. You just don't expect to lose your 21-year-old.

“It's unfortunate, but if you believe in God, you got to know it's going to be all right. If you don't believe in God, well you better damn well live the one life you have. I happen to believe. So I'm trusting the big picture, and I think it's important to keep going. You can't give up on life until you're done.”

More recently Green was diagnosed with a so far incurable disease called Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, caused by his amputation, and it’s his drive to raise awareness for this disease – as well as promoting the benefits of golf – that added to his motivation to play this week.

“Unfortunately, it is been a rough go," he added. "There's been a lot of pain. And so we kept trying to figure out what was causing all this pain.

"It's really strange in that my girl and I would walk out of a doctor and I'd say he didn't believe a word I just told him.

"They would say, it's this and this. Then I'd end up having another surgery, and think things are going to be good.

"I'd wake up and within a week my pain is still back. It was just recently that I was diagnosed with a very rare disorder. It's called CRPS, complex Regional Pain Syndrome. It's a nightmare.

“It's been a tough fight because I'm on Oxycodone, I'm on fentanyl just to get out here.

"There's one clinic in the world that deals with this disease and I spent four months there a couple years ago and they cut the pain in half. So I was ecstatic.

"I'm no longer on the edge of seeing what cliff I want to go off, so to speak, so that besides the adaptive golf and trying to help that, I'm also hopeful.

“I'm trying to generate some notoriety for the disease because no one is working on a cure. There is no cure.

"It's a wild disease. I mean, it's too long for me to explain it, but if people are bored and they want to read something about, just look up CRPS and it will blow your mind.”


Throughout it all though, golf has been there for him. Without it, he isn’t sure if he would be here.

Now he just wants to help as many people as he can, and believes, like most others who play on the G4D Tour do too, golf is a good way to do that.

He learnt how to play with a prosthetic, and made his return to competition at the 2022 Adaptive U.S. Open. And after being invited to play this week, Green jumped at the chance, aligning with his desire to help others find their inner strength to keep going when life becomes inescapably difficult.

And after just one event at Wentworth, Green is seriously considering what it would mean to play more regularly on the G4D Tour, and whether he could return to competitive golf on a more consistent basis.

“If I hadn't fallen in love with golf, I don't think I would be even standing here, to be honest with you," he said.

"I think I would've done what happens to a lot of kids that get abused like this and drink alcohol, take drugs and all that. So golf had already saved me, and it was about to save me again because obviously I knew that I couldn't ever play professional golf. I was okay with that.

“We can't change their lives without having the publicity and the notoriety and what the G4D Tour is doing is phenomenal. When they invited me to play, I was like, absolutely, because I've been wanting to try to do something.”

“I didn't know they had this prior to maybe six months ago. So when I get back home, I'm going to have to sit down and really decide, alright, do I want to try to get to number one? Now I got an age problem.

"That's kind of a killer trying to beat the kids here, but kids are kids. It doesn't matter what you're playing, but I have a lot of advantages that they don't have.

"I'm see-sawing, but I have got a feeling I'm going to lean towards giving it a shot.”

Green finished his week with rounds of 77 and 80, in a tie for seventh.

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