Ken Venturi, A Gentlemen of the Game

by Jeff Skinner

Golf lost one of its true gentlemen on Friday as recent Hall of Fame inductee and 1964 U.S. Open Champion, Ken Venturi passed away.  Venturi’s career was cut short by Carpel Tunnel syndrome but certainly was worthy of entry into the Hall.  In just ten years on tour he won 14 PGA Tour events.

He had a great amateur career and played in what may be the one of the greatest match play events ever when he and fellow amateur Harvie Ward took on the best professionals in the game, Ben Hogan and Byron Nelson.

“The Match” as it was called in Mark Frost’s book of the same name, marked a changing of the guard in golf.  In Venturi’s own words, “The Match was a dream I never thought would come true.  If I hadn’t been there I wouldn’t believe it myself…  No one will ever see an event like this again. Fiction can’t touch it.”

An entire generation of golfers only knew Venturi as the voice of golf on CBS Sports but he was much more as he mentored many of the best golfers of the day.

Click here for his obituary in his hometown San Francisco Chronicle.  And here for the New York Times.


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