When Ken Green (below), who had his lower right leg amputated in June '09, learned last week that he would not receive a major medical exemption, many of his peers on the Champions tour were sympathetic but defended the decision. Green, whose brother and girlfriend died in the motor home accident that cost him his leg, does not qualify for the exemption because it's open only to the top 30 money winners from the previous season and winners from the current season. Before the accident Green had been playing on a two-year exemption in the career winners' category. That exemption ends on July 23, Green's 52nd birthday. "We're trying to figure out a way to help Ken Green without having to make a rules change that would open the tour to liability from past guys [who were injured]," says Loren Roberts, a member of the tour's player advisory council. "The players want to help Ken. We simply have to figure out a way to do it."
Says Phil Blackmar, "If Ken gets healthy enough, he's going to get a lot of sponsor exemptions. Any sponsor would be silly to turn him down." The players have also discussed pooling part of the weekly pro-am prize to help Green.
ALL HAIL MR. 999
Hale Irwin (right) made his 999th start on the PGA Tour and Champions tour at Cap Cana (PGA: 659; Champions: 340). Miller Barber is the alltime leader with 1,292 combined starts.
Fred Couples (left) produced an impressive win at Cap Cana, but almost as noteworthy is his streak of 12 consecutive Champions tour rounds in the 60s, putting him one ahead of Lee Trevino (1992) and Nick Price (2009) for second place all time. Irwin holds the record with 13 (1999).