Hall of Fame golfer Hubert Green, who won a U.S. Open playing portions of the final round despite a threat against his life, has died. He was 71.
Green won the 1977 U.S. Open and the 1985 PGA Championship in a career that included 19 PGA Tour victories and four on the seniors circuit. The PGA Tour announced that Green died Tuesday after battling throat cancer.
Green held a one-stroke lead at Southern Hills in Tulsa, Oklahoma, when he completed the 14th hole of the final round of the U.S. Open. He then was notified by tournament officials they had received a threat saying he would be shot when he reached the 15th green.
Given the choice to clear the course of fans or return the following day, Green played on and captured his first major by one stroke, even making birdie at the 16th hole.
He outlasted Lee Trevino on the back side of the final round of the 1985 PGA Championship at Cherry Hills in Denver.
Green was a member of three U.S. Ryder Cup teams and never lost a singles match. He was the PGA Tour rookie of the Year in 1971.
Curtis Strange, who entered the Hall of Fame the same year as Green, tweeted : “Sad day in golf. Hubert was a good man, great player, and friend. He was a tough guy, demanded a lot of himself, a complete competitor. You wanted Hubert on your team. RIP my friend.”
A native of Birmingham, Alabama, Green was recruited to Florida State in 1968 by basketball coach Hugh Durham. He turned pro in 1969 and earned his PGA Tour card in 1970.
His swing was distinctively fast and featured a cock of the wrist. But it certainly worked, prompting him to once say: “I don’t analyze it. I looked at it once on film and almost got sick.”
Green championed several philanthropic causes, including battling childhood cancer, cerebral palsy and other illnesses.
He is survived by his wife, Becky Blair, and three sons: Hubert Myatt Green Jr., Patrick Myatt Green and James Thomas Green.
Getting back on track
Some of the biggest names in golf missed the cut at last week’s U.S. Open. They’re spending this week in Connecticut looking to fix whatever might be wrong with their game before next month’s British Open.
Jordan Spieth, the defending champion at both this week’s Travelers Championship and next month’s Open Championship, will try to avoid missing the weekend for the third straight tournament.
“In order for (my game) to be ready, major championship ready for the Open Championship, I think being in contention this week would be a big key,” he said. “It’s tough to go win a major championship if you’re not at least coming off of top 10 finishes in tournaments where you had a chance to win.”
A year ago, a previously struggling Spieth shot a 7-under 63 in his first-ever round at TPC River Highlands and went wire to wire, winning the tournament in a playoff. That started a memorable summer that included his first Claret Jug.
He’s looking to become this tournament’s first repeat champion since Phil Mickelson won in Connecticut in 2001 and 2002.
Spieth be joined this week by plenty of others who played just two days last week, including Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Bubba Watson.
“Missing the cut is definitely disappointing,” Day said. “But, to be able to come back and hopefully do what Jordan did last year would be nice.”
British Open legend dies
Hailed as a hero to some and as golf royalty to others, Peter Thomson, a five-time winner of the British Open and the only player in the 20th century to win the tournament for three straight years, died Wednesday. He was 88.
Thomson had been suffering from Parkinson’s disease for more than four years and died at his Melbourne home surrounded by family members, Golf Australia said.