Former PGA Tour Player Ken Green Crosses Paths with Tragedy Yet Again

Christopher Lane IIContributor IIJanuary 26, 2010

PEBBLE BEACH, CA - FEBRUARY 6:  Ken Green during the first round of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am on February 6, 2003 at Pebble Beach Golf Links in Pebble Beach, California.  (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Matthew Stockman/Getty Images


Since June of 2009, former PGA Tour golfer Ken Green has had to deal with the loss of his brother, girlfriend, his beloved dog, and half of his right leg due to a recreational vehicle wreck.

Now, less than a year after that accident, Green's son Hunter, only 21 years old, was found dead in his dorm room at Southern Methodist University.

SMU officials have told press there is an ongoing investigation; while causes are still unknown, no foul play is suspected.

Green acknowledged his latest loss Tuesday on his personal blog:

"Well, today is another sad day. I'm sorry to say that my youngest son, Hunter, has passed. His journey in life has ended and I can't tell you how difficult understanding this is."

It is hard to even fathom the pain and anguish the former PGA Tour bad boy is going through.

Mostly known for his outlandish outfits or his rebellion against the "norm" on the PGA Tour, Green had a solid career in the 1980's, racking up five wins and competing on the 1989 United States Ryder Cup team.

He was "Happy Gilmore" and "Roy McAvoy" before the world knew who those characters were. He was caught sneaking buddies into the Masters in the trunk of his car, drinking alcohol while playing in the 1997 Masters (while playing with the great Arnold Palmer), signing autographs while playing, swearing on the course and hitting trick shots in many clubhouses.

He became a golfer many fans could relate to, a normal guy on a grand stage. He was that regular Joe who was so gifted when it came down to his sport of choice. Green is a man who made the most out of playing on the PGA Tour and showed that while playing is a grind, it shouldn't take all the fun out of golf.

However, throughout the 1990's and 2000's, Green struggled to maintain his status on the PGA Tour and was forced to split time on the Nationwide Tour, and then more recently, The Champions Tour.

Throughout his career, Green has battled many demons, including struggles with gambling and depression, and previously lost his home.

Last June, tragedy struck when Green was on a vacation with his girlfriend, Jeanne Hodgin, his brother William, and his dog Nip (whom he once saved from an alligator by jumping in the water and pulling Nip away). The RV they were in was involved in a fatal accident, leaving Ken Green the only survivor.

Green would lose more than three of the closest people in his life when in the aftermath; he was forced to have the lower half of his right leg amputated.

Still, Green stayed positive and has been quoted since his accident vowing to return to professional golf, thus becoming the first player to ever compete with a prosthetic.

He is a man with a true passion for the game of golf, who is so proud to have represented his country on the grandest stage he could have (playing in the 1989 Ryder Cup). He is proud of what he has accomplished, but more importantly, he is right, no one can take that away from him.

He refused to let the tragedy of 2009 drag him down and hinder his chances of returning to the profession that he loves.

One can only hope that Green will have the same mentality after the loss of his youngest son, Hunter.

Today, the golf world is mourning the loss of Hunter Green, and they are also rallying around his father. Ken Green has been a man who has been faced with much adversity; actually conquering most of it along the way.

This time, his opponent is not an element of golf, but an element of life. I, among many others, wish Ken Green all the best for the future because he is a great man. He is one who can teach us all a thing or two about life, and who has had to deal with pain far greater than some people could ever imagine.

After the 2009 accident, Green said:

“I don’t know if I will ever play on the Tour again. But I do know this: I am so proud to have been a professional golfer for 30 years. I am proud of my five Tour wins and to have represented my country in the 1989 Ryder Cup. That will never be taken away from me.”

Words speak very loudly, and these words should encourage everyone who is aware of his story stand behind Ken Green and support him full heartedly.

Recently, Ken Green has lost so much, it is shocking and unfair. Hopefully, he can regain whatever it is he may be searching for, because, let's be honest, he deserves it.

(Please send your thoughts and prayers out to Green and his family as they deal with another tragedy.)