Palm Springs, CA – Recent World Golf Hall of Fame inductee Ken Venturi passed away on Friday just two days after his 82nd birthday.
At the 1964 U.S. Open, Venturi battled heat strokes as temperatures soared into the 100s. He barely hung on that day, which happened to be the last time the U.S. Open played the final 36 holes in one day. So exhausted at the end of his round, Venturi needed help adding up his score.
Venturi later had his playing career cut short by Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. He won 14 times in all on the PGA Tour, before being forced into retirement.
He went on to become an analyst for CBS Sports golf coverage for 35 years, and was inducted in the World Golf Hall of Fame May 6 for his lifetime of achievements in the game.
His son, Matt, confirmed his father's passing to the San Francisco Chronicle on Friday.
"The PGA Tour joins the world of golf in mourning the loss of one of its most treasured champions and ambassadors, Ken Venturi," read a Tour statement released Friday evening. "His impact on the Tour and the game itself cannot be overstated. His tremendous accomplishments on the golf course were certainly Hall of Fame worthy on their own, but in Ken one finds a rare example of a golfer whose second career, in television, rivaled the legendary status of his competitive achievements.
"His unique perspective and poetic delivery as an announcer enhanced countless memorable moments in golf, making his voice and presence as in indelible as the historic tournaments he covered. Ken will forever be remembered as a consummate gentleman, and he will be truly missed."
The elder Venturi had been hospitalized for some two months with a variety of health issues. Along with pneumonia, Venturi had been battling infections to his spine and his intestine.
Due to his failing health, Venturi's longtime CBS Sports partner, Jim Nantz, inducted Venturi into the World Golf Hall of Fame, and added a few remarks on his behalf.
Venturi's two sons, Matthew and Timothy, were also introduced at the ceremony and briefly thanked the Hall on their father's behalf. Venturi is also survived by his wife, Kathleen, and four grandchildren.
"When dad did receive the election into the Hall of Fame, he had a twinkle in his eye, and that twinkle is there every day," Tim Venturi said that night.
Venturi was the 54-hole leader as an amateur at the 1956 Masters and was runner-up to Arnold Palmer in 1960 at Augusta. Palmer birdied the final two holes that year to take the Masters title from Venturi.
His storied amateur career came to a head in 1956 after losing the Masters. Venturi teamed with Harvie Ward, another high-profile amateur, to take on legends Ben Hogan and Byron Nelson in what is simply known as, "The Match."
Venturi won his second California State amateur title in 1956.
As a youngster, Venturi turned to golf to get away from kids his own age that were bullying him due to a severe stuttering problem. He overcame that to become one of the most well-known golf announcers in the business.
Of his broadcasting career, Venturi once said, "It gave me a whole new career after I could no longer play."