Golf: Former Marco Island resident Ken Venturi dies

Retiring CBS golf broadcaster Ken Venturi waves to Kemper Open winner Bob Estes from the broadcast booth during the final round of the Kemper Open at the TPC at Avenel in Potomac, Md., Sunday June 2, 2002. (AP Photo/Roberto Borea)

Photo by ROBERTO BOREA, AP2002

Retiring CBS golf broadcaster Ken Venturi waves to Kemper Open winner Bob Estes from the broadcast booth during the final round of the Kemper Open at the TPC at Avenel in Potomac, Md., Sunday June 2, 2002. (AP Photo/Roberto Borea)

Born: May 15, 1931 (82 years old), San Francisco

PGA Tour wins: 14

Major titles: 1 (1964 U.S. Open)

Broadcasting career: 35 years with CBS as golf commentator and analyst from 1968-2002

Notable: Lived on Marco Island from 1976-2002. ... Led the 1956 Masters as an amateur before a final-round 80 left him in second, a stroke behind Jack Burke Jr. Finish was best for an amateur in the history of the event. ... 1964 PGA Tour player of the year and Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year. ... Played on 1965 U.S. Ryder Cup team. ... Gave the eulogy at fellow golf legend and Marco resident Gene Sarazen’s funeral on Marco Island in 1999. ... Captain of the winning 2000 U.S. Presidents Cup team, which routed the International team, 21 1/2-10 1/2, at Robert Trent Jones Golf Club in Gainesville, Va.

Hall of Fame info:Venturi donated a crystal replica of the trophy for winning the 1964 U.S. Open; the clubs he used to win 10 times on the PGA Tour in the 1960s; and his jacket from his times as the lead CBS golf analyst. ... Venturi’s exhibit and lockers, and those of the other inductees, opened to the public on May 7.

— Former longtime Marco Island resident Ken Venturi has died. He had turned 82 Wednesday.

Venturi had been hospitalized for a couple of months in his native California after undergoing surgery for infections in his back. He had missed his induction ceremony for the World Golf Hall of Fame in St. Augustine on May 6.

Venturi lived on Marco Island from 1976-2002, then moved back to California to be close to sons Matt and Tim, and their children.

Naples Daily News stories, photos on Ken Venturi

Matt Venturi called the San Francisco Chronicle to say his father had died.

Ken Venturi won the 1964 U.S. Open, overcoming massive heat in the 36-hole final round, before carpal tunnel syndrome ended his playing career a few years later. Even though he stuttered, Venturi was approached about becoming a golf television analyst, and quickly found he was good at it. Venturi was CBS Sports' lead golf analyst for 35 years before retiring in 2002.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, in addition to the back infections, he had developed pneumonia and later an intestinal infection.

Venturi was the captain for the U.S. Presidents Cup team in 2000 at Robert Trent Jones Golf Club in Gainesville, Va. He led the Americans to a 21 1/2 to 10 1/2 rout of the International team.

There, on the broiling Blue Course on June 20, 1964, Venturi became an enduring symbol of perseverance in winning the U.S. Open under brutal conditions. He shot 66-70 on the final day – back then, the tournament concluded with 36 holes on Saturday – to win his only major championship.

According to the Chronicle, funeral arrangements are pending.

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Comments » 1

lpr writes:

You should have done more research on his years here on Marco Island. The article today was horrible...you took context from other articles on the AP and sports websites.
Why not do some actual investigating on who was here in those years that actually knew him as there are quite a few here still on the island...especially the few kids that played golf during that era and he took them under his wings and was their "playing partner" and mentor.
Shame on you for not putting Beau's picture with his on that front page on the eagle. She was also instrumental in many things on this island.
I can attest to many of them as I was one of his "kids' and continued our relationship on the PGA Tour as I was married to a player and continued our friendship into adulthood.
He deserved more of a tribute than what was published.
Paige Rhodes

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