The Golf Channel
Less than two weeks after being inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame, former major champion and noted broadcaster Ken Venturi has died, according to a San Francisco Chronicle report. No initial cause of death was available for Venturi, who had turned 82 on Wednesday.
Golf Channel later confirmed the report with Venturi’s family.
A native of San Francisco, Venturi won the California State Amateur in 1951 and again in 1956. In the latter year, he nearly won the Masters as an amateur, leading after three rounds before ultimately finishing second, one shot behind winner Jack Burke, Jr.
The highlight of Venturi’s playing career came in 1964, when he conquered challenging conditions and oppressive heat to claim the U.S. Open title in a 36-hole finish at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Md. It was his lone career major, and served as the 11th of 14 career PGA Tour titles.
After his playing days were over, Venturi went on to spend 35 years in the broadcast booth for CBS Sports, retiring in 2002.
Battling a variety of health issues, Venturi was unable to attend the Hall of Fame ceremony last week in St. Augustine, Fla., where he was inducted as part of the Lifetime Achievement category. Instead, his longtime broadcast partner, Jim Nantz, who was slated to introduce Venturi at the ceremony, accepted the honor on his behalf.