Long overdue, in my opinion. On the surface, Venturi's playing credentials - 14 wins, one major - appear slight. But, then, his numbers are about the same as those of Fred Couples (15 wins, 1 major), the previously announced member of the Class of 2013. (The Hall's inductee from the International ballot, and possibly other inductees, are still to be announced.)
However, on the course, Venturi had a knack for being involved in high-profile happenings, even as an amateur. He nearly won the 1956 Masters as an amateur, before imploding in the final round.
Also in 1956, Venturi was one of the participants in a four-ball challenge match, a match that has passed into legend and is called by some the greatest match ever played. Decades later, the story of that match was told by Mark Frost in his book, The Match.
Of course, there was Venturi's infamous rules brouhaha with Arnold Palmer at the 1960 Masters.
And the major he finally won, the 1964 U.S. Open, is still remembered for Venturi staggering through the final holes, trying to finish despite dehydration and heat exhaustion.
Not all of those things are positives, but they are all part of golf lore. And Venturi's on-course accomplishments mostly happened by the age of 33, when carpal tunnel syndrome curtailed his time as a top pro player.
Then there are Venturi's off-course contributions to the game. Lesser-known is Venturi's work as an instructor, where he helped create the concept of the nationally branded and franchised golf school.
More famously, when his playing days ended Venturi joined CBS in 1968 and was the network's lead golf analyst for 35 years, one of the longest runs as lead analyst in sports broadcasting history.
In my opinion, Venturi could have been voted in as a player long ago, and could have been voted in solely on the basis of his broadcast career. Going in through the Lifetime Achievement category recognizes both facets of Venturi's career.
Ken Venturi biography