World Golf Hall of Fame member Ken Venturi dead at 82

May 17, 2013 at 8:52 PM
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PALM SPRINGS, Calif., May 17 (UPI) -- Ken Venturi, whose 1964 U.S. Open victory was one of the most memorable feats in the history of the golf, died Friday at the age of 82.

His death came less than a week after he was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame.

Venturi had been hospitalized since March for a variety of health issues, including pneumonia and infections in his back and intestine.

He won 14 times on the PGA Tour before being forced into retirement by chronic stiffness in his hands. Venturi went on to become an analyst on CBS golf telecasts, a job he held for 35 years.

His most famous golfing achievement came at the U.S. Open played in searing heat at Congressional Country Club in suburban Washington.

In that era the tournament finished on Saturday with the playing of 36 holes, and the long day of golf took its toll on Venturi.

He suffered from the heat during the morning round and was advised by doctors not to play in the afternoon. Venturi, however, was only two shots behind third-round leader Tommy Jacobs and went to the first tee in hopes of pulling off the victory.

Venturi, walking slowly and occasionally staggering from fatigue, shot an even-par 70 in the afternoon round and defeated Jacobs by four shots.

The U.S. Open title helped make up for the biggest disappointment of Venturi's career, which came in 1956 when as an amateur he led the Masters through 54 holes. Venturi, however, shot an 80 in the final round and wound up losing to Jack Burke Jr. by a shot.

Venturi's poor health prevented him from attending the World Golf Hall of Fame induction ceremony last Saturday. CBS golf announcer Jim Nantz, Venturi's longtime television partner, spoke on Venturi's behalf.

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