Tour denies Ken Green’s medical exemption, but is there a silver lining?
Ken Green has experienced more pain and suffering in the last 10 months than 20 people go through in an entire lifetime. After losing his brother, girlfriend and dog in a horrific RV accident last June, Green watched as another member of his family, his son, Joseph, died of an accidental drug overdose in his dorm room on the campus of Southern Methodist University.
Green, who lost his right leg in the RV accident, has been trying to mount a comeback to golf ever since. Fighting through the pain of learning to play golf with a prosthetic leg, Green appeared to be on track to get a medical exemption from the Champions Tour. That was until he learned yesterday evening that the tour had denied his request.
Here’s what Green had to say about the matter on his blog:
So much for that warm snuggly feeling I had that the right thing would be done. The PAC (player advisory council) and board have both rejected my request.
The only thing left for me to do is sue, and I refuse to do that. Even though Mr. Finchem has no issue throwing the Tour’s money away on bad lawsuits that they are going to lose (I’ve been told my case is terriffic [sic]), this time around I will not because it revolves around me and not all golfers.
The decision really rubbed a lot of people the wrong way, and rightly so. Green, who was currently playing golf on an 11 month limited exemption before the wreck, had requested the tour grant him an additional 13 months to make up for the time he missed due to injury.
Seems like an open and shut situation to me. But the tour had other ideas regarding the matter. It’s easy to get red-faced about their decision until you hear Tour president, Mike Stevens, give his take on the matter.
“There are a lot of cases in the past where a player that was, like Ken, not fully exempt and has submitted a major medical request,” Stevens told the New York Times. “And their request was denied. We looked at this in every which way you can. Obviously, it’s tragic what happened to Ken. But when you look at changing the major medical category for a nonexempt player, the ramifications it has for field makeup are incredible.”
It’s good to hear the tour exhausted every avenue to get Green an extension; it just looks like they saw the appeal as water behind a dam that, if broken, could have caused a flood of other requests for medical exemptions in the future. In other words, they weren’t ready to set a new precedent for future players. Fair enough.
With Green’s current exemption set to expire in July, one can only hope that the tour and Green can come to some sort of amicable agreement that satisfies both parties. There’s still time to make this a feel-good story.