JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Pro golfer Ken Green’s brother and girlfriend were killed in a a recreational vehicle accident in which Green a so was hurt.
Green was driving on Interstate 20 near Hickory, Miss., on Monday when the right front tire of his RV blew out. Green was unable to control the vehicle and ran off the road and down an embankment before hitting a large oak tree.
Mississippi Department of Public Safety spokesman Jon Kalahar said Tuesday that passengers William Y. Green, of Indiantown, Fla., and Jean Marie Hodgin, of Greensboro, N.C., were killed in the wreck. William Green is Ken Green’s brother and caddie. Hodgin was the golfer’s girlfriend.
Kalahar said Ken Green was not wearing his seat belt. He was flown to University Medical Center in Jackson for treatment with unspecified injuries, and was listed in good condition Tuesday.
Sgt. Malachi Sanders of the Mississippi Highway Patrol said a German shepherd also was killed.
Sanders said it was unclear if the passengers were wearing seat belts. He described the embankment the RV traveled over as “a small cliff.”
“The whole front of the RV was totally demolished,” Sanders said.
Green, a five-time winner on the PGA Tour from Danbury, Conn., turned pro in 1980. He has played on the Champions Tour the last two seasons. His best finish this year was seventh at the AT&T Champions Classic in March.
His final years on the PGA Tour were marred by mental illness that that made it difficult for Green to concentrate while playing and led him to the verge of suicide. Now 50, Green has since spoken publicly about his ordeal.
News of the accident spread through the golf community Tuesday.
“All of us at the PGA Tour are saddened by the news of this tragic accident,” PGA commissioner Tim Finchem said in a statement. “Our thoughts and prayers are with Ken Green and his family in this very difficult time.”
Malcolm McLachlan, director of rules and competition for the Connecticut State Golf Association, has known Green and his family for decades. They played together at the Ridgewood Country Club in Danbury, where Green was a member in the 1970s.
He said Green battled his demons, but seemed to be doing well recently, making money on the Champions Tour.
“He just ran into rough times and it just kept getting worse,” he said. “But he had just gotten himself a little physically and mentally better off. He made more this year than he had in the last 10 maybe. This is just terrible.”
AP sports writer Pat Eaton-Robb contributed to this report from Hartford, Conn.