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Ken Green to Play in Senior PGA Championship
Ken Green will join the field for the 72nd Senior PGA Championship May 24-29 at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Ky. The 53-year-old, who now resides in West Palm Beach, Fla., was named the Champions Tour Comeback Player of the Year in 2009 following a tragic recreational vehicle accident in June 2009.
Green will be competing in his second Senior PGA Championship. He also played in 2009, 15 days before he lost his lower right leg in an accident near Meridian, Miss., that also claimed the life of his girlfriend, brother and pet dog.
Green gained an exemption this year by having been a U.S. Ryder Cup Team member (1989). "I'm really psyched about the opportunity to play in the championship, because it's a wonderful venue and a wonderful championship," said Green, whose 2010 included teaming with past Senior PGA champion Mike Reid for a share of 26th in the Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf.
"I believe that my story may be good for someone who has suffered a similar fate. If I can serve as any encouragement to someone missing a limb or possibly a parent who may be able to bring a kid to the course, I feel my time will be well spent."
Valhalla Golf Club will host the Senior PGA Championship for the second time; it was first played there in 2004. Green, believed to be the first amputee to compete in the event, will be granted the use of a golf cart to negotiate the 7,297-yard Jack Nicklaus-design course.
"I have always been a fan of Jack's courses," said Green. "I believe that I have a better chance to get around the course by the fact that it is not overly hilly. If a course has many hills, I have a hard time. I know that the course will be set up tough, but that may make it easier for me, as strange as that may sound. I cannot spin the ball the way I used to and hit the shots close to the flag."
Following rehabilitation Green was fitted for a prosthetic limb that he said is a part of an ongoing learning process to play competitive golf. "As far as prosthetics, we are really good, as there are always changes being made here and there. I real happy with what I am using," he said.
"The problem is I have to learn what I can do and what is needed to accomplish the next step. My problem is dealing with the pain level. Every amputee has different issues, and it's like pot luck. I'm dealing with the fact that the nerves refused to die away. You might say that I'm walking a cautious line."
Green said he's been working on his game with longtime coach, Peter Kostis, and hopes to compete in possibly two other events this season, including the Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf, April 18-24, in Savannah, Ga. "Peter is still my teacher and someone who can help me evaluate what I can do next," Green said. "He will see where I've fallen and do what is best to implement a training plan for me. Once I get healthy, I believe I can give it an honest chance. The pain level is the area that I have to work on the most."
Tickets for the Senior PGA Championship are available by calling the PGA Ticketing Center at 800/742-4653, or at www.2011SeniorPGA.com.
The above report is courtesy of the PGA of America. For more information, visit www.pga.com.
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