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’64 Open: Venturi Beats the Heat & The USGA

by Jeff Skinner

The 1964 U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club marked a turning point in the way the USGA conducted its national championship.  Prior to the 64 Open the last two rounds were both played on the final Saturday.  It was a grueling test under normal circumstances but that week in Washington D.C. proved to be a bit abnormal.

With temperatures over one hundred degrees and high humidity it was unbearable to just watch golf no less play 36 holes on the toughest test of the year.  But that is what the competitors faced and eventual winner Ken Venturi was so overheated that he barely made it around the course.

After his first 18 he was advised by doctors to stop playing but persevered and staggered home with the victory.  He lost eight ponds that day and finished so confused that he couldn’t add his own score.  It was after that the USGA decided to finish with 18 holes on Sunday.  It was the highlight of Venturi’s career and signaled a major change for the USGA.

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