Ken Venturi (born
May 15, 1931) was a prominent PGA Tourprofessional during the late 1950s and early 1960s.
Venturi was born in
San Francisco, California. Venturi first gained national attention in 1956 when, as an amateur, he finished second in that year's Masters after leading from the first round. He shot a final round 80 and blew a four shot lead which prevented him from winning outright and thus becoming the first amateur to do so in the history of The Masters. Years later it would be compared to Greg Norman's back nine collapse in 1996.
In the early 50's, Venturi had been a pupil of the great
Byron Nelsonand was also influenced by playing partner Ben Hogan. With this fine tuning combined with his tremendous talent, Venturi was a regular winner during his early years on the PGA Tour after turning pro at the end of 1956. He again come close to winning the Masters in 1958 and 1960, both times being edged out by Arnold Palmer.
After suffering minor injuries in an automobile accident in 1961, Venturi's swing, and thus his career, began to slide. This slump lasted until 1964 when, for no reason even Venturi could fathom, he began playing well again. After a couple of high finishes, Venturi reached the pinnacle of his comeback by winning the U.S. Open at
Congressional Country Clubafter nearly collapsing in the scorching heat during the then 36-hole final round. He received " Sports Illustrated" magazine's " Sportsman of the Year" award. He played on the 1965 Ryder Cupteam. Venturi received the 1998 Old Tom Morris Awardfrom the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America, GCSAA's highest honor.
After 1964, Venturi's career again took a blow when he was diagnosed with
carpal tunnel syndromein both wrists. After several surgeries his condition was reversed, but he was never able to regain his past form. After retiring from the Tour in 1967 with a total of 14 career wins, Venturi spent the next 35 years working as a color commentatorfor CBS Sports(until his retirement in June 2002) as well as owning and operating a series of instructional schools.
PGA Tour wins (14)
St. Paul Open Invitational, Miller High Life Open
Thunderbird Invitational, Phoenix Open Invitational, Baton Rouge Open Invitational, Gleneagles-Chicago Open Invitational
Los Angeles Open, Gleneagles-Chicago Open Invitational
Bing Crosby National Pro-Am, Milwaukee Open Invitational
*1964 (3) U.S. Open,
Insurance City Open Invitational, American Golf Classic
Lucky International Open
Other wins (1)
LA = Low Amateur
DNP = Did not play
CUT = missed the half-way cut
"T" indicates a tie for a place
Green background for wins. Yellow background for top-10
Golfers with most PGA Tour wins
* [http://www.golfstarsonline.com/V/Ken_Venturi/ Ken Venturi at Golf Stars Online] Directory of interviews, sites and feature articles with or about him
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