Hubert Green (1946-2018) was a well-known golfer from Alabama who won more than 70 amateur and 19 Professional Golfers Association (PGA) tournaments between the 1960s and the 1990s. He won both the coveted U.S. Open and the PGA tournaments and was inducted into the Alabama Golf Hall of Fame and the World Golf Hall of Fame.
Hubert Green Hubert Myatt Green was born December 28, 1946, in Birmingham, the youngest of four children of physician Albert Huey and Mildred Volentine Green. Green credited his father with instilling a love of sports in him and his siblings and teaching each how to play golf. Hubert played many sports as a child, but as he grew older, he eliminated one sport after another and settled on golf. His first win was at the Future Masters in Dothan at age nine as consolation runner-up for children 10 and under.
Green attended and played golf for Shades Valley High School in Birmingham and then Florida State University (FSU) in Tallahassee, Florida. While in college, he won the Southern Amateur Championship in 1966 on his home course at the Country Club of Birmingham. The next year he became the Alabama State Golf Amateur Champion, a title he took again in 1968. While at FSU, Green won the Cape Coral Inter-Collegiate Tournament by eight strokes and the Miami Invitational, the largest collegiate tournament, by five strokes. He led the nation in qualifying for the National Amateur Championship with course records at Atlanta’s Standard Country Club, shooting a 67 and 66. In the National Amateur Tournament in 1968 in Columbus, Ohio, he finished fourth and earned an invitation to the Masters as an amateur and a position as an alternate in the World Cup. Green graduated from FSU in 1968 with a degree in marketing. That year he also enlisted in the Alabama National Guard at Enterprise, Alabama.
Hubert Green with PGA Trophy In 1969, Green won the Southern Amateur Championship for a second time. As one of the top 10 amateurs in the country, Green turned pro and took a year to earn the PGA’s qualifications. His first win as a professional came in 1971 at the Houston Open, when he birdied the first extra hole in a playoff against Don January. Despite his unorthodox swing and putting stance, more victories followed. He was named Rookie of the Year by Sports Illustrated in 1971, having finished in the top 25 on the PGA Tour’s money earnings list.
In 1975 Green won the Japanese Dunlop-Phoenix Open, which brought him international fame. Then he captured three titles in a row: the Doral-Eastern Open in Miami, the Greater Jacksonville Open, and the Heritage Classic in Hilton Head, South Carolina. No other player has won these three championships back-to-back. In 1977 at age 30, Green won his first major tournament on the professional circuit, the U.S. Open at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Despite a death threat during his round from an unknown telephone caller and immediate undercover police protection, Green shot a sub-par round, winning by one stroke over Lou Graham. His performance under pressure won praise from golf officials and sportswriters alike.
Hubert Green The mayor of Birmingham declared July 11, 1977, “Hubert Green Day” and gave Green a key to the city. Green was also treated to a parade, a reception, and a luncheon. The Country Club of Birmingham honored him with a black-tie dinner and crystal decanter set. That same year, he won the Irish Open. In 1978 Green earned $1 million in winnings, becoming the 16th golfer to reach that milestone. Green was also a three-time member of the U.S. Ryder Cup Team, representing the United States in its annual competition against a team of European players. By winning each of his three individual matches in 1977, 1979, and 1985, Green helped the U.S. team succeed in two out of the three years he played.
In 1985, after suffering something of a dry spell, Green out-dueled defending champion Lee Trevino for the Professional Golf Association (PGA) title at Cherry Hills Country Club near Denver. In one memorable moment, Green hit a spectacular shot out of a sand trap on the 18th hole that stopped a foot away from the cup. In the head-to-head, two-man struggle, Green won by two strokes in a driving rainstorm. That PGA win at age 39 was Green’s 19th professional tour victory. Afterward, he played less often and began designing golf courses in his home state as well as in Georgia, Nevada, and even Japan.
When Green turned 50 in 1996, he qualified for the senior players’ Champions Tour and won the Bruno’s Memorial Classic in Birmingham in 1998. In his first senior victory, Green completed his final round with 64, playing the last six holes with an eagle, four birdies, and one par to beat Hale Irwin by one stroke. Coming from behind, he basked in the moment as the home crowd swelled and shouted encouragement.
Hubert Green, 1998 In 2003 Green was diagnosed with throat cancer. After radiation and chemotheraphy treatments, his cancer went into remission. Despite difficulty swallowing, the complications of diabetes, and efforts to maintain his strength, he continued playing on the senior tour until 2009. He established a golf scholarship at FSU he was inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame in 1987 and the Southern Amateur Hall of Fame in 2006. He received the Champions Comeback Player of the Year award in 2002 and 2004, and the American Cancer Life Inspiration Award in 2004. At the 2005 Masters Golf Tournament, Green was presented with the Ben Hogan Award for continuing to be active in golf despite a serious illness. In 2007 he was recognized nationally again when he was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame. Green died on June 19, 2018, and was interred at Highlands Methodist Church Columbarium in Birmingham; he remains Alabama’s most outstanding amateur and professional golfer.
Satterfield, Carolyn Green. The Country Club of Birmingham, A Centennial History. Birmingham, Ala.: Country Club of Birmingham, 1999.