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Brent Kelley

Ken Venturi Joins 2013 Hall of Fame Class

By October 8, 2012

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Ken Venturi is - finally - a Hall of Famer. The 81-year-old will be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2013, it was announced on Monday.

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.

See also:
Ken Venturi biography

Comments

October 11, 2012 at 4:10 am
(1) Ron C Clair says:

Ken Venturi’s ego is such that no one is quite as good as he (thinks) was…I have seen him personally and although he is or was a great player, he doesn’t have to let his ego get in his way like he does…A supplier of Jay Overton’s at Innisbrook in Florida said once, “I always thought Arnold Palmer was the King of Golf, until I met Jay Overton”…too bad he hadn’t met Venturi or he could have changed the quote!

October 11, 2012 at 8:39 am
(2) Kelly Myers says:

I personaly had 2 encounters with Ken Ventura.
Very sarcastic and egotistical.
Kingwood Country club in Houston and Walden on lake Conroe
in the mid 70s.
But he could play golf!

December 8, 2012 at 4:47 pm
(3) mike z says:

just met him two days ago, he was gracious, articulate and extremely interesting. Not egotistical at all.

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