After more than 10 years in America and a victory on the US PGA Tour, Nathan Green will tackle this week’s Isuzu Queensland Open at the crossroads of his playing career.
“You could call it a mid-life crisis,’’ said Green. “I really don’t know what happened, but I wasn’t playing great over there, wasn’t enjoying the travel and wasn’t 100 per cent motivated.
“All I knew was that I really didn’t really have it anymore at that level. I have a young family and in the end it was an easy decision to come back home.
“I’ve not really closed the door on playing but just have to see how things go for a while.’’
New South Welshman Green, 40, achieved his US Tour victory in the 2009 Canadian Open where he defeated Retief Goosen in a sudden-death playoff.
“That is something I’m pretty proud of because I never really thought I had to game to win on the PGA Tour,’’ he said.
A popular character on Tour, the genial Green came close to a significant debut victory three years earlier when involved in a three-way playoff with Tiger Woods and dual Masters champion Jose Maria Olazabal at the 2006 Buick Invitational.
He had par on the first play-off hole but was eliminated with Woods defeating Olazabal on the second sudden-death hole.
“I played really well in my early days on the US Tour and competing against those really good players made me realise I could be competitive,’’ he said.
Green also won the New Zealand Open in 2006 which took him into the world’s top-100 for the first time.
He had made headlines early in his professional career with a $500,000 hole-in-one prize during the 2001 Australian Masters at Huntingdale.
“I’d only been a pro for three years and it certainly opened doors,’’ he recalled. “It helped set me up, but there was a downside in that I lost my hunger for a couple of years.’’
Since returning to Australia last year Green has undertaken a “bridging course” with the PGA of Australia and helps out in the pro shop of the Toronto Country Club on the lower north coast of NSW where his brother, Darren, is head professional.
“All of my family are based around the area and I’m doing some coaching at the club,’’ he said.
Green admits his preparation for the Queensland Open has not been ideal.
“The only golf I’ve played has been the last four Saturday competitions at Toronto,’’ he said. “I haven’t had a lot of time to go out and hit balls and I’ve heard Brookwater is one of the toughest tournament courses we play.
“I’m looking forward to a practice round on Tuesday and then Wednesday’s pro-am,’’ he said. “I’m looking forward to the week … it will be good to get out with the boys again.’’