Jump to content

Ken Venturi

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Ken Venturi
Personal information
Full nameKenneth Paul Venturi[1]
Born(1931-05-15)May 15, 1931
San Francisco, California, U.S.
DiedMay 17, 2013(2013-05-17) (aged 82)
Rancho Mirage, California, U.S.
Height6 ft 0 in (183 cm)
Weight170 lb (77 kg; 12 st)
Sporting nationality United States
SpouseKathleen Venturi
(m. 2003–2013, his death)
Beau Wheat Venturi
(m. 1972–1997, her death)[2]
Conni Venturi
(m. 1954–1970, divorced)[3][4]
ChildrenMatthew, Tim
CollegeSan Jose State
Turned professional1956
Former tour(s)PGA Tour
Professional wins15
Number of wins by tour
PGA Tour14
Best results in major championships
(wins: 1)
Masters Tournament2nd: 1956, 1960
PGA ChampionshipT5: 1959, 1964
U.S. OpenWon: 1964
The Open ChampionshipCUT: 1973
Achievements and awards
World Golf Hall of Fame2013 (member page)
PGA Player of the Year1964
Sports Illustrated
Sportsman of the Year

Kenneth Paul Venturi (May 15, 1931 – May 17, 2013) was an American professional golfer and golf broadcaster. In a career shortened by injuries, he won 14 events on the PGA Tour including a major, the U.S. Open in 1964. Shortly before his death in 2013, Venturi was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame.[5]

Early years and amateur career


Born in San Francisco, California, Venturi learned to play golf at an early age, and developed his game at Harding Park Golf Course and other public courses in the Bay Area. He attended Lincoln High School and was the San Francisco high school golf champion in 1948 and 1949.[6] Venturi also attended San José State University, where he was a member of the Spartan men's golf team from 1951 through 1953.[7]

In the early 1950s, he was a pupil of Byron Nelson, and was also influenced by playing partner Ben Hogan. Venturi won the California State Amateur Championship in 1951 and 1956, serving in the U.S. Army in Korea and Europe in the interim.[8]

Venturi first gained national attention at age 24; while still an amateur, he finished second in the Masters in 1956, one shot behind Jack Burke Jr., Venturi led after each of the first three rounds in an attempt to become the first-ever amateur to win the Masters, but shot a final round 80 and relinquished a four-shot lead.[9] Through 2024, no amateur has won the Masters.

Professional career


Venturi turned pro at the end of 1956 and was a regular winner during his early years on the PGA Tour. He again came close to winning the Masters in 1958 and 1960, but was edged out both times by Arnold Palmer. On January 24, 1960, Venturi won the Bing Crosby National Pro-Am on the 1960 PGA Tour.[10]

After suffering minor injuries in an automobile accident in 1961, Venturi's swing, and thus his career, began to slide.[11] This slump lasted until 1964 when, for no reason even Venturi could fathom, he began playing well again.[4] After a couple of high finishes, Venturi reached the pinnacle of his comeback by winning the U.S. Open in 1964 at Congressional Country Club, after nearly collapsing in the near-100 °F (38 °C) heat and humidity of the 36-hole final day.[12][13][14][15] (The format was changed the next year in 1965.) Venturi was the first player to win the U.S. Open after conquering a sectional qualifier.

Venturi won again in July and August,[16] tied for fifth in the PGA Championship, and received that year's Sports Illustrated magazine's "Sportsman of the Year" award[3] and PGA Player of the Year award.[17][18] He played on the Ryder Cup team in 1965,[9][11] and received the 1998 Old Tom Morris Award from the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America, GCSAA's highest honor.

After 1964,[19] Venturi's career again took a blow when he was diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome in both wrists. After missing the cut at the Masters by nine strokes,[20] he received treatment at the Mayo Clinic in May.[21] Defending his title at the U.S. Open in June, Venturi continued to have difficulty with his hands and entered the championship with plans to have surgery the following week.[22] He missed the cut by ten strokes,[23][24] had the surgery on both wrists, and was sidelined until the Ryder Cup in October in England.[11] Venturi's condition improved and he won a tour event in January 1966 at the very familiar Harding Park in his hometown,[25][26] but he soon relapsed; after additional surgeries, he could not regain his form.[27]

Broadcasting career


After retiring from the Tour in 1967 with a total of 14 career wins, Venturi spent the next 35 years working as a color commentator and lead analyst for CBS Sports – the longest lead analyst stint in sports broadcasting history,[9] made remarkable by the fact that he had a stutter, which was less manageable early in life. He retired from broadcasting at age 71 in June 2002,[8][28] succeeded as CBS' lead analyst by Lanny Wadkins, then Nick Faldo in 2007.[29]

Other ventures




Venturi appeared in the 1996 film Tin Cup, portraying himself as a commentator at the U.S. Open, held at a fictional course in North Carolina. In one scene, Venturi is shown voicing his opinion that the film's protagonist, Roy McAvoy (Kevin Costner), should lay up on a long par-5 rather than try to reach the green in two shots. McAvoy, who decided to go for it, is then shown saying, "This is for Venturi up in the booth thinking I should lay up." His caddy, played by Cheech Marin, sarcastically responds, "Yeah, what does he know? He only won this tournament before you were born."

Venturi described the actor and singer Frank Sinatra as his best friend and former roommate.[9][28]

Course design and instruction


In 1990, Venturi redesigned and renovated the Eagle Creek Golf & Country Club course near Naples, Florida.[30] He also lent his name to a series of instructional schools.[9]



In 2004, after some controversy,[31] a Golden Palm Star on the Palm Springs, California, Walk of Stars was dedicated to Venturi.[32] In 2013, he was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in the lifetime achievement category.



Venturi died two days after his 82nd birthday, in Rancho Mirage, California, on May 17, 2013. He had been hospitalized for two months for a spinal infection, pneumonia, and an intestinal infection. Venturi is survived by his third wife Kathleen, two sons, Matthew and Tim and four adult grandchildren Peter, Andrew, Sara and Gianna.[33][34] He was buried at the Forest Lawn Cemetery in Cathedral City, California.

Amateur wins (5)


Professional wins (15)


PGA Tour wins (14)

Major championships (1)
Other PGA Tour (13)
No. Date Tournament Winning score To par Margin of
1 Aug 18, 1957 St. Paul Open Invitational 66-67-65-68=266 −22 2 strokes United States Bob Rosburg
2 Aug 25, 1957 Miller High Life Open 68-66-65-68=267 −13 5 strokes Canada Al Balding, United States Sam Snead
3 Jan 26, 1958 Thunderbird Invitational 70-63-66-70=269 −15 4 strokes United States Jimmy Demaret, United States Gene Littler
4 Feb 2, 1958 Phoenix Open Invitational 70-68-66-70=274 −10 1 stroke United States Walter Burkemo, United States Jay Hebert
5 Mar 2, 1958 Baton Rouge Open Invitational 69-69-69-69=276 −12 4 strokes United States Lionel Hebert, United States Arnold Palmer
6 Aug 4, 1958 Gleneagles-Chicago Open Invitational 65-67-68-72=272 −8 1 stroke United States Julius Boros, United States Jack Burke Jr.
7 Jan 5, 1959 Los Angeles Open 72-71-72-63=278 −6 2 strokes United States Art Wall Jr.
8 Jun 28, 1959 Gleneagles-Chicago Open Invitational (2) 64-75-68-66=273 −7 1 stroke United States Johnny Pott
9 Jan 24, 1960 Bing Crosby National Pro-Am 70-71-68-77=286 −2 3 strokes United States Julius Boros, United States Tommy Jacobs
10 Aug 28, 1960 Milwaukee Open Invitational (2) 65-69-68-69=271 −9 2 strokes United States Billy Casper
11 Jun 20, 1964 U.S. Open 72-70-66-70=278 −2 4 strokes United States Tommy Jacobs
12 Jul 26, 1964 Insurance City Open Invitational 70-63-69-71=273 −11 1 stroke United States Al Besselink, United States Paul Bondeson
United States Sam Carmichael, United States Jim Grant
13 Aug 23, 1964 American Golf Classic 71-66-69-69=275 −5 5 strokes United States Mason Rudolph
14 Jan 31, 1966 Lucky International Open 68-68-71-66=273 −11 1 stroke United States Frank Beard

PGA Tour playoff record (0–3)

No. Year Tournament Opponent(s) Result
1 1957 Thunderbird Invitational United States Jimmy Demaret, United States Mike Souchak Demaret won 18-hole playoff;
Demaret: −4 (67),
Souchak: +4 (75),
Venturi: +5 (76)
2 1958 Greater New Orleans Open Invitational United States Billy Casper Lost to eagle on second extra hole
3 1961 Houston Classic United States Jay Hebert Lost to birdie on first extra hole after 18 hole playoff;
Hebert: −1 (69),
Venturi: −1 (69)

Other wins (1)


Major championships


Wins (1)

Year Championship 54 holes Winning score Margin Runner-up
1964 U.S. Open 2 shot deficit −2 (72-70-66-70=278) 4 strokes United States Tommy Jacobs

Results timeline



Tournament 1953 1954 1955 1956
Masters Tournament T16 2 LA
U.S. Open CUT 8 LA
The Open Championship
The Amateur Championship R64


Tournament 1957 1958 1959
Masters Tournament T13 T4 CUT
U.S. Open T6 T35 T38
The Open Championship
PGA Championship T20 T5
Tournament 1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969
Masters Tournament 2 T11 T9 34 CUT 16 T21 T50 CUT
U.S. Open T23 1 CUT T17 T28 CUT CUT
The Open Championship
PGA Championship 9 T37 T51 T5 T15 T11 T48
Tournament 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974
Masters Tournament
U.S. Open CUT
The Open Championship CUT
PGA Championship
  Top 10
  Did not play

LA = Low amateur
CUT = missed the half-way cut
WD = withdrew
R64, R32, R16, QF, SF = Round in which player lost in match play
"T" = tied

Sources: Masters,[35] U.S. Open,[36] Open Championship,[37] PGA Championship,[38] 1955 British Amateur[39]


Tournament Wins 2nd 3rd Top-5 Top-10 Top-25 Events Cuts made
Masters Tournament 0 2 0 3 4 9 14 11
U.S. Open 1 0 0 1 3 5 13 8
The Open Championship 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
PGA Championship 0 0 0 2 3 6 9 9
Totals 1 2 0 6 10 20 37 28
  • Most consecutive cuts made – 12 (1959 U.S. Open – 1964 PGA)
  • Longest streak of top-10s – 2 (four times)

U.S. national team appearances





  1. ^ Klein, Gary (May 17, 2013). "Ken Venturi, golfer and broadcaster, dies at 82". Los Angeles Times.
  2. ^ Bamberger, Michael (June 10, 2002). "So long, Kenny". Sports Illustrated. p. G62.
  3. ^ a b c Wright, Alfred (December 21, 1964). "Sportsman of the Year: Ken Venturi". Sports Illustrated. p. 30.
  4. ^ a b Bamberger, Michael (June 9, 1997). "Proud Words". Sports Illustrated. p. G32.
  5. ^ "World Golf Hall of Fame adds Venturi to 2013 class". PGA Tour. October 8, 2012. Archived from the original on October 12, 2012.
  6. ^ CIF San Francisco Section. AAA Golf Boys Annual Champions. (Retrieved April 26, 2017.)
  7. ^ "San Jose State Golf Legend Ken Venturi (1931-2013)". SJSU. Retrieved April 22, 2022.
  8. ^ a b Mackin, Tom (June 13, 2011). "Ken Venturi, the '64 Open champ, says golf was a different game in his era". Golf Magazine. Archived from the original on January 24, 2013.
  9. ^ a b c d e Kelley, Brent. "Ken Venturi biography". About.com. Archived from the original on May 22, 2009. Retrieved August 9, 2011.
  10. ^ "1960 winners sorted by age". PGA Tour. July 9, 2008. Retrieved January 31, 2023.
  11. ^ a b c Reedy, Thomas A. (October 5, 1965). "Ken Venturi joins Ryder play team". Gettysburg Times. Pennsylvania. Associated Press. p. 5.
  12. ^ Wright, Alfred (June 29, 1964). "'Poor Ken' hits it rich again". Sports Illustrated. p. 12.
  13. ^ Bartlett, Charles (June 21, 1964). "Exhausted Ken Venturi Open champ". Chicago Tribune. p. 1, section 2.
  14. ^ Grimsley, Will (June 21, 1964). "Heat-dazed Ken Venturi captures Open on near record 278 score". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. Associated Press. p. 1, sports.
  15. ^ Mizell, Hubert (August 6, 1976). "The Ken Venturi Open: 1964 golfing classic". St. Petersburg Times. Florida. p. 1C.
  16. ^ McDonald, Jim (August 24, 1964). "Venturi makes 1964 a really big year". Toledo Blade. Ohio. p. 18.
  17. ^ "Venturi draws acclaims as golf's 'player of the year'". Quebec Chronicle-Telegraph. Quebec City, Canada. Associated Press. December 9, 1964. p. 13.
  18. ^ Attner, Paul (August 15, 1976). "Venturi's 1964 Open victory is a vivid memory". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Florida. (Washington Post). p. 9D.
  19. ^ "Venturi may have to quit golf tour". Lodi News-Sentinel. California. UPI. January 23, 1965. p. 7.
  20. ^ "Nicklaus, Palmer, Player lead". Milwaukee Sentinel. Associated Press. April 10, 1965. p. 2, part 2.
  21. ^ "Venturi wins Hogan Award". Toledo Blade. Ohio. Associated Press. December 25, 1965. p. 16.
  22. ^ "Venturi to attack with bloodless hands". Victoria Advocate. Texas. Associated Press. June 15, 1965. p. 10.
  23. ^ "'Won't play until hand is well' - Venturi". Milwaukee Sentinel. Associated Press. June 19, 1964. p. 2, part 2.
  24. ^ Bartlett, Charles (June 19, 1965). "Gary Player's 70-70--140 leads Open!". Chicago Tribune. p. 1, section 2.
  25. ^ "Venturi fires 5 under 66 to capture 'Lucky' by one". Milwaukee Sentinel. UPI. February 1, 1966. p. 2, part 2.
  26. ^ "Venturi's 273 wins Lucky golf title". Chicago Tribune. Associated Press. February 1, 1966. p. 1, section 3.
  27. ^ Grimsley, Will (May 13, 1971). "Ken Venturi is coming back again". Owosso Argus-Press. Michigan. Associated Press. p. 23.
  28. ^ a b Terrill, Joey (December 2004). "My shot: Ken Venturi". Golf Digest.
  29. ^ "Faldo to become lead golf analyst for CBS Sports". ESPN. Associated Press. October 3, 2006. Retrieved June 6, 2016.
  30. ^ "Course Information". Eagle Creek Golf & Country Club. Archived from the original on March 30, 2012. Retrieved August 17, 2011.
  31. ^ The controversy arose between Gerhard Frenzel, the founder of the Walk of Stars, and the City of Palm Springs over whether Venturi qualified for a Star under the Palm Springs Walk of Stars Foundation's contract with the city. See: "Palm Springs Walk of Stars Under Dispute." AP Online. Press Association, Inc. 2004.
  32. ^ "Palm Springs Walk of Stars" (PDF). 2012. Archived from the original on 2012-10-13. Retrieved 2021-05-07.
  33. ^ Golfstein, Richard (May 17, 2013). "Ken Venturi, U.S. Open Golf Champion and Broadcaster, Dies at 82". The New York Times.
  34. ^ Ferguson, Doug (May 17, 2013). "Ken Venturi, 1964 U.S. Open champion and CBS golf analyst, dies at age 82". PGA of America. Associated Press.
  35. ^ "Historical Records and Stats - 2016 Masters Tournament". archive.is. 2016-07-30. Archived from the original on 2016-07-30. Retrieved 2021-05-07.
  36. ^ "USGA Championship Database". champsdatabase.usga.org. 2010-12-21. Archived from the original on 2010-12-21. Retrieved 2021-05-07.
  37. ^ "Previous Open Championship Results and Winners". The Open. 2023.
  38. ^ "PGA Championship Media Guide" (PDF). pga.org. August 2015. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2021-05-07.
  39. ^ "Contrast In British And American Players". Glasgow Herald. June 2, 1955. p. 4.