Ken Venturi, 1964 U.S. Open champion, dies at 82

Ken Venturi waves to winner Bob Estes from the broadcast booth during the final round of the Kemper Open in 2002.
(Roberto Borea / Associated Press)

Ken Venturi, a San Francisco native and the 1964 U.S. Open golf champion, has died. He was 82.

Matt Venturi says his father died Friday afternoon at a hospital in Rancho Mirage, Calif., after a two-month battle with a spinal infection, pneumonia and an intestinal infection.

Venturi is best known for his only major victory when he battled oppressive heat and humidity to win the U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Md., by shooting 66-70 on the final day. He also was runner-up in the 1956 and 1960 Masters.

“I’ve seen people over the years who not only tell me I won the Open, they tell me where I won it, what I shot and exactly what I did,” Venturi said in an April 2011 interview. “There aren’t many Opens where everyone can tell you all about it.”


Venturi, who won California State Amateur titles in 1951 and ’56, overcame a stuttering problem as a youth and survived a car accident in 1961.

After his playing days, when he won 14 times on the PGA Tour, Venturi became a renowned golf analyst, joining CBS in 1968. When he retired in 2003, his 35 years as a lead analyst wer the most in sports broadcast history.

“In every decision I’ve considered in my life, the determining question I would ask myself was: ‘Would my mother and father be proud?’” Venturi said in a biography.

Venturi, who turned 82 on Wednesday, was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame last week as a recipient in the Lifetime Achievement category.



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Wire service and Internet reports contributed to this story.