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June 30, 2023

Alabama State Amateur was homecoming for Greens

By Tommy Hicks, Alabama Golf News Contributor
Jimmy Green (right) with son Will

Ex-Tour pro caddies for son in State Am

MOBILE – The name Jimmy Green is a familiar one in golf circles around the state.

The Jimmy Green Junior Tour in Mobile is named in his honor and the former Alba High School standout starred at Auburn University and later played on the PGA Tour.

Since his playing days, Green has remained active on the state golf scene as general manager of the Auburn University Club course and partnering in a group that owns that course as well as Cherokee Ridge Golf Club just south of Huntsville.

Now, Jimmy’s son Will is beginning to show up on amateur leaderboards in tournament golf. Jimmy and Will returned to Mobile recently for the Alabama State Amateur Championship at the Country Club of Mobile, where Jimmy played a few times as a junior and amateur in statewide tournaments.

This time Will was the competitor and Jimmy served as his caddie.

“Being anywhere to follow him in a tournament is fantastic, but when he asked me to go to the (state tournament) qualifier I said, absolutely,” Jimmy said. “I didn’t even know where the state am was [being held]. Then when I knew it was here, I was hoping and praying he would get in, which he did.”

Jimmy enjoyed his return to Mobile, staying with his sister and her husband.

“It’s been fantastic,” he said. “It’s good to get to see everybody down in this area. It feels like being home again.”

Missed cut

Will shot 74 in the first round but missed the 36-hole cut, ending his visit, but Jimmy liked what he saw from his son.

“He hit a lot of good golf shots,” Jimmy said of Will’s opening round. “I mean, he really did, he hit a lot of good shots.”

Jimmy said he didn’t offer a lot of advice, but instead let Will navigate the course in a way that was comfortable for him. When called upon, he offered suggestions, but for the most part Will relied on his game and his instincts. Jimmy’s past experiences at the course were a few years ago and the course features a different layout than when he competed there.

“He plays a different game than I do,” Jimmy said of Will. “He hits hit 25-30 yards further than I do or I have ever done. His better shots are so much better than my better shots. I think the more he plays in competitive rounds, he’s only going to get better. But that just comes from playing.”

Will said it was fun to have his dad on the bag with him and to be back in Mobile for the tournament.

“Growing up, I wasn’t really old enough to get out there and watch him play,” Will explained. “It was always a dream of mine that if he ever got out on the Champions Tour or something like that, that I could caddie for him. We switched those roles and I had him on the bag. It was comfortable out there and I could talk to him like he was my best friend, which he really is. 

“He gave me some pointers, but he really just let me play my game. He was not in my head or anything like that. We had a really good time. I wouldn’t have anybody else on my bag, honestly.”

The delebrated career of Jimmy Green

Jimmy grew up playing on the Driftwood Golf Course where his dad was the pro. He went on to Auburn where he was a three-time All-SEC player and an All-America player. He won six individual tournament titles while at Auburn, and in 1991 he won medalist honors at the SEC Championship.

He turned pro in 1992, playing on the Tour and Nike Tour as well as the PGA Tour. He won the Nike Buffalo Open and was a PGA Tour player in 1997 as well as 1999 through 2001, playing in 128 PGA Tour events. Adding to his local legend, Jimmy qualified for the Nike Tour Championship when it was played on the Crossing Course at Mobile’s Magnolia Grove Golf Course, finishing in the Top 15 and earning his PGA Tour card.

Late to the game

Will, who turns 25 later this month, recently graduated from Auburn and currently works for a residential home builder in Auburn. He was a baseball player in high school and hoped to play college baseball, though that opportunity did not materialize.

“I really didn’t pick up a club until probably two years after high school,” Will said.

He admits he enjoys hearing stories of his dad’s experience as an amateur and professional golfer, and brings up the subject when they spend time together.

“This is the one who taught me golf,” Will said. “I played a little bit of high school golf when I was younger and there’s nothing better than sitting around and asking him to tell stories. ‘Who was your favorite person to play with?’ Or we’ll sit there and watch golf and I’ll say, ‘Did you play with him?’ And he’ll say, ‘Yeah, I know him real well.’ But everything I’ve learned has come through him. It’s good to have him as a father. He’s a huge role model for me and I can go to him and ask him any kind of question. We’re comfortable with each other and we really don’t bump heads at all. He’s a good teacher.”

As for being back in Mobile, Jimmy said “this is home,” noting the family already owns a home in the area and when it is time to retire, the family will move there.

Note: Tommy Hicks, a contributor to Alabama Golf News, is a sports writer in Mobile. A version of this story originally appeared in

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Featured image of Jimmy Green (right) and son Will courtesy of Tommy Hicks

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