Ken Venturi: Professional golfer (1931 - 2013) | Biography, Facts, Information, Career, Wiki, Life
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Ken Venturi
Professional golfer

Ken Venturi

Ken Venturi
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro Professional golfer
Was Athlete Golfer
From United States of America
Field Sports
Gender male
Birth 15 May 1931, San Francisco, San Francisco County, California, U.S.A.
Death 17 May 2013, Rancho Mirage, Riverside County, California, U.S.A. (aged 82 years)
The details (from wikipedia)


Kenneth Paul Venturi (May 15, 1931 – May 17, 2013) was an American professional golfer and golf broadcaster. In a career shortened by injuries, he won 14 events on the PGA Tour including a major, the U.S. Open in 1964. Shortly before his death in 2013, Venturi was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame.

Early years and amateur career

Born in San Francisco, California, Venturi learned to play golf at an early age, and developed his game at Harding Park Golf Course and other public courses in the Bay Area. He attended Lincoln High School and was the San Francisco high school golf champion in 1948 and 1949.

In the early 1950s, he was a pupil of Byron Nelson, and was also influenced by playing partner Ben Hogan. Venturi won the California State Amateur Championship in 1951 and 1956, serving in the U.S. Army in Korea and Europe in the interim.

Venturi first gained national attention at age 24; while still an amateur, he finished second in the Masters in 1956, one shot behind Jack Burke, Jr., Venturi led after each of the first three rounds in an attempt to become the first-ever amateur to win the Masters, but shot a final round 80 and relinquished a four-shot lead. Through 2016, no amateur has won the Masters.

Professional career

Venturi turned pro at the end of 1956 and was a regular winner during his early years on the PGA Tour. He again came close to winning the Masters in 1958 and 1960, but was edged out both times 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 in 1964 at Congressional Country Club, after nearly collapsing in the near-100 °F (38 °C) heat and humidity of the 36-hole final day. (The format was changed the next year in 1965.) Venturi was the first player to win the U.S. Open after conquering a sectional qualifier.

Venturi won again in July and August, tied for fifth in the PGA Championship, and received that year's Sports Illustrated magazine's "Sportsman of the Year" award and PGA Player of the Year award. He played on the Ryder Cup team in 1965, and received the 1998 Old Tom Morris Award from 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 syndrome in both wrists. After missing the cut at the Masters by nine strokes, he received treatment at the Mayo Clinic in May. Defending his title at the U.S. Open in June, Venturi continued to have difficulty with his hands and entered the championship with plans to have surgery the following week. He missed the cut by ten strokes, had the surgery on both wrists, and was sidelined until the Ryder Cup in October in England. Venturi's condition improved and he won a tour event in January 1966 at the very familiar Harding Park in his hometown, but he soon relapsed; after additional surgeries, he could not regain his form.

Broadcasting career

After retiring from the Tour in 1967 with a total of 14 career wins, Venturi spent the next 35 years working as a color commentator and lead analyst for CBS Sports – the longest lead analyst stint in sports broadcasting history, made remarkable by the fact that he suffered from severe stuttering early in life. He retired from broadcasting at age 71 in June 2002, succeeded as CBS' lead analyst by Lanny Wadkins, then Nick Faldo in 2007.

Other ventures


Venturi appeared in the 1996 film Tin Cup, portraying himself as a commentator at the U.S. Open, held at a fictional course in North Carolina. In one scene, Venturi is shown voicing his opinion that the film's protagonist, Roy McAvoy (Kevin Costner), should lay-up on a long par-5 rather than try to reach the green in two shots. McAvoy, who decided to go for it, is then shown saying, "This is for Venturi up in the booth thinking I should lay-up." His caddy, played by Cheech Marin, sarcastically responds, "Yeah, what does he know? He only won this tournament before you were born."

Venturi described the actor and singer Frank Sinatra as his best friend and former roommate.

Course design and instruction

In 1990, Venturi redesigned and renovated the Eagle Creek Golf & Country Club course near Naples, Florida. He also lent his name to a series of instructional schools.


In 2004, after some controversy, a Golden Palm Star on the Palm Springs, California, Walk of Stars was dedicated to Venturi. In 2013, he was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in the lifetime achievement category.


Venturi died at age 82 in Rancho Mirage, California, on May 17, 2013. He had been hospitalized for two months for a spinal infection, pneumonia, and an intestinal infection. Venturi is survived by his third wife Kathleen, two sons, Matthew and Tim and four adult grandchildren Peter, Andrew, Sara and Gianna. He was buried at the Forest Lawn Cemetery in Cathedral City, California.

Amateur wins (5)

  • 1950 San Francisco City Amateur Championship
  • 1951 California State Amateur Championship
  • 1953 San Francisco City Amateur Championship
  • 1956 California State Amateur Championship, San Francisco City Amateur Championship

Professional wins (15)

PGA Tour wins (14)

No. Date Tournament Winning score To par Margin
of victory
1 Aug 18, 1957 St. Paul Open Invitational 66-67-65-68=266 −22 2 strokes United States Bob Rosburg
2 Aug 25, 1957 Miller High Life Open 68-66-65-68=267 −13 5 strokes Canada Al Balding, United States Sam Snead
3 Jan 26, 1958 Thunderbird Invitational 70-63-66-70=269 −15 4 strokes United States Jimmy Demaret, United States Gene Littler
4 Feb 2, 1958 Phoenix Open Invitational 70-68-66-70=274 −10 1 stroke United States Walter Burkemo, United States Jay Hebert
5 Mar 2, 1958 Baton Rouge Open Invitational 69-69-69-69=276 −12 4 strokes United States Lionel Hebert, United States Arnold Palmer
6 Aug 4, 1958 Gleneagles-Chicago Open Invitational 65-67-68-72=272 −8 1 stroke United States Julius Boros, United States Jack Burke, Jr.
7 Jan 5, 1959 Los Angeles Open 72-71-72-63=278 −6 2 strokes United States Art Wall, Jr.
8 Jun 28, 1959 Gleneagles-Chicago Open Invitational 64-75-68-66=273 −7 1 stroke United States Johnny Pott
9 Jan 24, 1960 Bing Crosby National Pro-Am 70-71-68-77=286 −2 3 strokes United States Julius Boros, United States Tommy Jacobs
10 Aug 28, 1960 Milwaukee Open Invitational 65-69-68-69=271 −9 2 strokes United States Billy Casper
11 Jun 20, 1964 U.S. Open 72-70-66-70=278 −2 4 strokes United States Tommy Jacobs
12 Jul 26, 1964 Insurance City Open Invitational 70-63-69-71=273 −11 1 stroke United States Al Besselink, United States Paul Bondeson
United States Sam Carmichal, United States Jim Grant
13 Aug 23, 1964 American Golf Classic 71-66-69-69=275 −5 5 strokes United States Mason Rudolph
14 Jan 31, 1966 Lucky International Open 68-68-71-66=273 −11 1 stroke United States Frank Beard

PGA Tour playoff record (0–3)

No. Year Tournament Opponent(s) Result
1 1957 Thunderbird Invitational United States Jimmy Demaret, United States Mike Souchak Demaret wins 18-hole playoff (Demaret:67, Souchak:75, Venturi:76)
2 1958 Greater New Orleans Open Invitational United States Billy Casper Lost to eagle on second extra hole
3 1961 Houston Classic United States Jay Hebert Lost to birdie on first extra hole after 18 hole playoff (Hebert:69, Venturi:69)

Other wins (1)

  • 1959 Almaden Open

Major championships

Wins (1)

Year Championship 54 holes Winning score Margin Runner-up
1964 U.S. Open 2 shot deficit –2 (72-70-66-70=278) 4 strokes United States Tommy Jacobs

Results timeline


Tournament 1953 1954 1955 1956
Masters Tournament DNP T16 DNP 2 LA
The Open Championship DNP DNP DNP DNP
The Amateur Championship DNP DNP R64 DNP


Tournament 1957 1958 1959
Masters Tournament T13 T4 CUT
U.S. Open T6 T35 T38
The Open Championship DNP DNP DNP
PGA Championship DNP T20 T5
Tournament 1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969
Masters Tournament 2 T11 T9 34 DNP CUT 16 T21 T50 CUT
PGA Championship 9 T37 T51 DNP T5 DNP T15 T11 T48 DNP
Tournament 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974
Masters Tournament DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
The Open Championship DNP DNP DNP CUT DNP

LA = Low amateur
NT = No tournament
DNP = Did not play
WD = Withdrew
CUT = missed the half-way cut
DNQ = Did not qualify for match play portion of U.S. Amateur
R64, R32, R16, QF, SF = Round in which player lost in match play
"T" indicates a tie for a place
Green background for wins. Yellow background for top-10

Sources: Masters, U.S. Open, Open Championship, PGA Championship, 1955 British Amateur


Tournament Wins 2nd 3rd Top-5 Top-10 Top-25 Events Cuts made
Masters Tournament 0 2 0 3 4 9 14 11
U.S. Open 1 0 0 1 3 5 13 8
The Open Championship 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
PGA Championship 0 0 0 2 3 6 9 9
Totals 1 2 0 6 10 20 37 28
  • Most consecutive cuts made – 12 (1959 U.S. Open – 1964 PGA)
  • Longest streak of top-10s – 2 (four times)

U.S. national team appearances


  • Walker Cup: 1953 (winners)
  • Eisenhower Trophy:


  • Ryder Cup: 1965 (winners)
  • Presidents Cup: 2000 Presidents Cup (winners, non-playing captain)
The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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