Hubert Green, U.S. Open winner who ignored death threat, dies at 71

Hall of Famer Hubert Green, who famously ignored a death threat to win the U.S. Open, died on Tuesday at the age of 71.

Hubert Green   -  (Getty Images)

Hubert Green, a World Golf Hall of Famer who ignored a death threat to win the U.S. Open, died on Tuesday after a lengthy battle with throat cancer. He was 71.

A native of Birmingham, Alabama, who combined what the PGA Tour described as "a unique low-hands, quick-tempo swing and steely determination," Green recorded 19 tour victories after being the 1971 Rookie of the Year.

His most famous victory came in the 1977 U.S. Open at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Clinging to a one-shot lead after three rounds, Green carried the advantage through 14 holes on Sunday when USGA officials told him they had received a threat that he would be shot when he reached the 15th green.

Given the option of waiting for the course to be cleared of fans or having play suspended until Monday, Green opted to play on as normal and somehow defied pressure and uncertainty over the threat to prevail by a stroke.

A tweet on Wednesday from the U.S. Open's official account read: "Hubert Green, who died on Tuesday at the age of 71, captured the U.S Open title in 1977 at Southern Hills, and did so under extraordinary circumstances. The @USGA and all of the golf community mourns the loss of one of the game's great champions."

The next spring, Green could have forced a play-off with Gary Player at the Masters, but he missed a three-foot putt on the 72nd hole to finish second.

However, Green would add a surprising second major victory in 1985. Having won only twice in the previous six years, he held off Lee Trevino at Cherry Hills in Denver to claim the US PGA Championship. It would be his last PGA Tour victory, though he went on to win four times on the Champions Tour.

Green also was a member of three Ryder Cup teams, never losing a singles match. He was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2007.

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