by Jeff Skinner
Finally, the voters at the World Golf Hall of Fame have righted a long overdue wrong. Ken Venturi is finally getting the recognition he deserved from the Hall of Fame as he was voted in through the lifetime achievement category. If Fred Couples is a World Golf Hall of Famer then Ken Venturi belongs in the Universe Golf Hall of Fame.
Venturi has had a legitimate on course resume worthy of Hall of Fame induction and pair that with his 35 year stint as the voice of golf and you have to wonder why it took so long for him to be honored.
Venturi was a world class amateur and nearly won the 1956 Masters before turning professional. With two PGA Tour wins in ’57, four in ’58, two in ’59 and two in ’60 Venturi had crafted an amazing career. He earned 10 wins by the time he was 29 and looked unstoppable. He then hit a four year slump but finally regained his game and made history in the heat at the 1964 U.S. Open with a 36 hole final in the crushing heat at Congressional.
Along the way he was friends with Hogan and mentored by his hero Byron Nelson. Unfortunately, carpal tunnel in both wrists ended his career too early for him to put up the huge numbers that some of his contemporaries would accumulate.
But fortune smiled on Venturi as CBS hired him into the booth and he became the most recognizable voice in golf. This feat was as amazing as his career in golf, considering that as a child he stuttered so badly he was told he never would talk normally.
Venturi a stutterer? That would seem impossible. Venturi not in the Hall of Fame? That’s even more impossible. Thankfully that wrong has been righted and Venturi finally takes his rightful place alongside so many of his friends.