CHARLIE Green OBE, arguably Scotland’s most decorated amateur golfer, passed away yesterday after losing his battle with cancer.
He was 80.
One of the legendary figures in Scottish golf, Green won the Silver Medal for finishing as the leading amateur behind Arnold Palmer in the 1962 Open Championship at Royal Troon.
On the domestic scene, the Dumbarton player claimed three Scottish Amateur titles, the first of those coming in 1970, when he holed a six-foot putt on the last to beat Hugh Stuart at Royal Aberdeen.
He reached the final once again 12 months later, losing to Sandy Stephen at St Andrews, before having to settle for the runners-up spot for a second time in 1980, when his return to Royal Aberdeen ended in defeat to Donald Jamieson.
Undeterred by that double disappointment, Green regained the SGU’s flagship title in 1982 at Carnoustie, where he beat George Macgregor in the final, then made it back-to-back wins with a narrow victory over John Huggan, 27 years his junior, in the following year’s final at Gullane.
Green also chalked up a brace of victories in the Scottish Stroke-Play Championship – 1975 and 1984 – and had a record second to none when it came to representing Scotland. He first donned the dark blue at men’s level in 1961 and, with the exception of 1965, played in every Home International series held between then and 1989.
He played in five Walker Cups – 1963, 1969, 1971, 1973 and 1975 – and captained Great Britain & Ireland on two other occasions in the biennial contest. Jay Sigel, an American amateur legend, was his opposite number both times and, though Green’s sides epitomised his own battling spirit on both occasions, they lost 13.5-10-.5 at Royal Liverpool in 1983 before going down 13-11 at Pine Valley two years later.
Green’s charges in the latter included Colin Montgomerie, who also played under his compatriot twice in the Eisenhower Trophy, an event Green also represented GB&I twice himself.
Awarded the OBE in 1983 for his services to golf, Green continued to enjoy a remarkable success rate after turning 50. Between 1988 and 1996, he won the Seniors Open Amateur Championship six times and was runner-up on three occasions. His record in the Scottish Seniors Championship was equally impressive, comprising of six victories in seven years from 1988.
“The first time I met Charlie was in the mid-1960s when we both went for coaching from John Jacobs at Inverclyde,” said Macgregor, a subsequent Walker Cup himself and now the SGU’s director of championships.
“He was a very individual type of player and was as tough a competitior as I ever came across. He never allowed himself to think he was beaten. He could always pull something out of the bag.
“There was never such a thing as an impossible shot for Charlie – he would always find a way to get back into play, whether it was stroke-play, match-play or whatever.”
The funeral will take place next Monday at Cardross Parish Church (11.15am).