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Ken Venturi, May 15, 1931 – May 17, 2013

Ken Venturi at the Presidents Cup. (Aubrey Washington, Action Images)
Ken Venturi at the Presidents Cup. (Aubrey Washington, Action Images)

He was part of the soundtrack of many of our golf lives. More than one lasting Masters moment had Ken Venturi’s signature on it. For 35 years he sat in the tower for CBS alongside the likes of Jack Whitaker, Pat Summerall and Jim Nantz.

And now, he’s gone. Venturi died on Friday at age 82 after an extended illness. He had been inducted just two weeks ago into the World Golf Hall of Fame, but couldn’t attend the ceremony because he was hospitalized. Many hoped for a recovery so that he could give his speech at next year’s gala.

Venturi retired from CBS in 2002, after holding a job that was nothing short of remarkable. As a young man, he had suffered from a speech impediment; he stuttered. But he overcame that obstacle to become one of golf broadcasting’s legends.

That wasn’t all he overcame. He endured triple-digit heat to win the 1964 U.S. Open at Congressional; it was one of the most enduring U.S. Open victories of all time. Venturi won a total of 14 PGA Tour events in his career, retiring from competition in 1967.


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