Partner should ease his pain

Amputee Green, pal Calcavecchia paired in Legends

April 21, 2011

Twenty-two birdies. That's all Ken Green wants out of his teammate this week.

"I don't think I've made 22 birdies in my last four tournaments combined," Mark Calcavecchia said Wednesday. "We'll have fun either way."

Green and Calcavecchia are paired at this week's Legends of Golf, a partnership they sometimes discussed in the days before they hit the Champions Tour — "when I was actually normal," Green said.

That was before Green lost his lower right leg in a fiery 2009 RV accident.

Green played the Legends a year ago, an inspiring first entry. He and Mike Reid tied for 26th in the 33-team field, including an opening 67. But Green admits he never felt comfortable, even wondering whether he should be playing.

Little chance of that this week. He and Calcavecchia have known each other since their junior days in South Florida, becoming fast friends after both reached the PGA Tour in the early 1980s.

Even though Green occasionally suffers excruciating nerve pain in the amputated area — "I didn't know the body could inflict this much pain," he said — he is determined to set it aside this week.

"It's always better when you're playing golf with one of your best friends on the planet," Green said.

Expanding … shrinking: A longer Royal St. George's awaits British Open competitors this summer. It has been lengthened 105 yards to measure 7,211 for the 140th edition. But par will reduce to 70.

The difference comes at the fourth hole — eight years ago it was a par-5 measuring 497 yards, now set to play two yards shorter as a par-4. Fairways at Nos. 1, 17 and 18 also will be wider after 2003 stats showed fewer than 30 percent of entrants could find the short grass.

Tap-ins: Nearly eight years after his death, Bob Hope still has a way with presidents. The William J. Clinton Foundation has signed a partnership deal with the Bob Hope Classic, with health-care provider Humana as its title sponsor. The Hope had been sponsorless for three years. … Dustin Johnson and caddie Bobby Brown have split after a three-year working relationship, marked by a pair of near-misses in 2010's majors.

— Jeff Shain

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