Injured golfer Green: ‘I’m not giving up’

JACKSON, Miss.(AP) Injured golfer Ken Green issued a statement Friday thanking those who have offered him support since the accident that killed his brother and girlfriend.

Green remains hospitalized with unknown injuries and is in fair condition. He has declined Associated Press interview requests, but wanted to thank the golf community.

“I want to thank everyone for their thoughts, prayers and support that have come my way these past few days,” Green said in the statement. “The golf community is like one big family, and it means so much to me to have all of you wonderful people by my side.”

The Champions Tour player and five-time PGA Tour winner from Indiantown, Fla., was originally listed in critical condition after a tire blew out on his recreational vehicle Monday afternoon near Hickory, Miss.

The RV rolled down an embankment and smashed into a tree, killing Green’s brother, William Green, also of Indiantown, and his girlfriend, Jean Marie Hodgin, of Greensboro, N.C. Ken Green’s German shepherd was also killed in the crash.

“The pain and emptiness of losing my brother Billy, my girlfriend Jeannie and my dog Nip are enormous,” Green said. “They were always supportive and loving and stuck by me during my struggles. Not having them around is a tremendous loss and leaves a void that will never be filled.”

Green said he’s not sure if he will be able to play golf again. He joined the Champions Tour two years ago after struggling through the final years of his PGA Tour career with mental problems.

Green has talked openly of hearing critical voices in his head that made it almost impossible to focus on the golf course. He took 2007 off before joining the senior circuit. He was traveling east from Austin, Texas, where he’d played in a tournament last weekend when the accident happened.

“I don’t know if I will ever play on the Tour again,” Green said in Friday’s statement. “But I do know this: I am so proud to have been a professional golfer for 30 years. I am proud of my five Tour wins and to have represented my country in the 1989 Ryder Cup. That will never be taken away from me.”

Green assured well-wishers, “I’m not giving up.”

“You can’t always choose what happens to you in life; but you can choose how you deal with these setbacks,” he said.

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