Saturday, May 18, 2013

Ken Venturi dies: CBS golf analyst remembered for 1964 US Open win (+video) - Christian Science Monitor



Ken Venturi dies: After a long career both on and just above the golf course, Ken Venturi dies Friday in his native California.

Ken�Venturi, who overcame dehydration to win the 1964 U.S. Open and spent 35 years in the booth for CBS Sports, died Friday afternoon.

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His son, Matt Venturi, said he died in a hospital in Rancho Mirage, Calif., 12 days after he was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame.

He couldn't make it to the induction. His sons, Matt and Tim, accepted on his behalf after an emotional tribute by Jim Nantz, who worked alongside Venturi at CBS.

"When dad did receive the election into the Hall of Fame, he had a twinkle in his eye, and that twinkle is there every day," Tim Venturi said that night.

Venturi was all about overcoming the odds.

A prominent amateur who grew up in San Francisco, he captured his only major in the 1964 U.S. Open at Congressional, the last year the final round was 36 holes. In oppressive heat, Venturi showed signs of dehydration and a doctor recommended he stop playing because it could be fatal. Venturi pressed on to the finish, closed with a 70 and was heard to say, "My God, I've won the U.S. Open."

He had a severe stuttering problem as a child, yet went on to become one of the familiar voices in golf broadcasting. He began working for CBS in 1968 and lasted 35 years.

"We all knew what a wonderful player Ken�Venturi was, and how he fashioned a second successful career as an announcer," Jack Nicklaus said. "But far more important than how good he was at playing the game or covering it, Ken was my friend. Ken was fortunate in that the game of golf gave him so much, but without question, Ken gave back far more to the game he loved than he ever gained from it. Over the years, Ken developed a circle of friends that is enormous and whose collective heart is heavy today."

Venturi played on one Ryder Cup team and was US captain in the 2000 Presidents Cup.

As an amateur, he was the 54-hole leader in the 1956 Masters until closing with an 80, and he was runner-up at Augusta National in 1960 to Arnold Palmer, who birdied the last two holes.

Venturi was born May 15, 1931, in San Francisco, and he developed his game at Harding Park Golf Course. He won the California State Amateur at Pebble Beach in 1951 and 1956, while serving in the Army in Korea between those two amateur titles.

His stammering problem is what led him to golf.

"When I was 13 years old, the teacher told my mother, 'I'm sorry, Mrs. Venturi, but your son will never be able to speak. He's an incurable stammerer,'" Venturi said in 2011. "My mother asked me what I planned to do. I said, 'I'm taking up the loneliest sport I know,' and picked up a set of hickory shaft across the street from a man and went to Harding Park and played my first round of golf."

Source: http://news.google.com/news/url?sa=t&fd=R&usg=AFQjCNEvQj-eY7FPMKGrKWLonoB6Wt81IA&url=http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Latest-News-Wires/2013/0517/Ken-Venturi-dies-CBS-golf-analyst-remembered-for-1964-US-Open-win-video