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Posted May 17, 2013, 8:16 pm
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Ken Venturi, US Open champion and CBS analyst, dies

  • Article Photos
    Ken Venturi, US Open champion and CBS analyst, dies
    Photos description
    Rain clouds cut short practice rounds for this trio of Masters Tournament players (left to right) Byron Nelson, Ken Venturi and Jackie Burke at Augusta National Golf Club in 1961.
  • Article Photos
    Ken Venturi, US Open champion and CBS analyst, dies
    Photos description
    Arnold Palmer (hands on waist) argues a rules point at the 12th hole after his ball became embedded in the mud during final round of the Masters in 1958. The final ruling gave the 28-year-old Palmer, of Latrobe, Pa., a 3 on the hole and 73 round for 284 total. The others from left, are, Ken Venturi; an unidentified official; Bobby Jones, president of the Augusta National Golf Club; Cliff Roberts, gold committee chairman; and an unidentified caddy.
  • Article Photos
    Ken Venturi, US Open champion and CBS analyst, dies
    Photos description
    Jack Burke, Jr. (left) and Ken Venturi at the Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club in 1958.
  • Article Photos
    Ken Venturi, US Open champion and CBS analyst, dies
    Photos description
    Amateur Ken Venturi watches his putt on the 18th hole at Augusta National Golf Club during the 1956 Masters Tournament. The putt dropped for a birdie, giving him 69 for the day and a four-stroke lead in the tournament.
  • Article Photos
    Ken Venturi, US Open champion and CBS analyst, dies
    Photos description
    Ken Venturi hits from trap on No. 18 during the 1956 Masters Tournament.
  • Article Photos
    Ken Venturi, US Open champion and CBS analyst, dies
    Photos description
    Billy Joe Patton (left) and Ken Venturi at the Masters Tournament in 1956.
  • Article Photos
    Ken Venturi, US Open champion and CBS analyst, dies
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    Ken Venturi 1954-55
  • Article Photos
    Ken Venturi, US Open champion and CBS analyst, dies
    Photos description
    Ken Venturi poses for a portrait outside the CBS compound behind the Par 3 course at Augusta National Golf Club in 2002.
  • Article Photos
    Ken Venturi, US Open champion and CBS analyst, dies
    Photos description
    A tournament referee talks to U.S. team captain Ken Venturi (right) near the fourth green at the Presidents Cup at Robert Trent Jones Golf Club in Gainesville, Va., in 2000.
  • Article Photos
    Ken Venturi, US Open champion and CBS analyst, dies
    Photos description
    Ken Venturi looks at his laptop as he gets ready to broadcast for the USA Network from the No. 10 green during the Masters Tournament in 2000.
  • Article Photos
    Ken Venturi, US Open champion and CBS analyst, dies
    Photos description
    This June 2, 2011 file photo shows retiring CBS golf broadcaster Ken Venturi waving to Kemper Open winner Bob Estes from the broadcast booth during the final round at the TPC at Avenel in Potomac, Md.
  • Article Photos
    Ken Venturi, US Open champion and CBS analyst, dies
    Photos description
    This June 20, 1964 file photo shows Ken Venturi making the final putt on the 18th green during the U.S. Open Golf Championship at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Md.
  • Article Photos
    Ken Venturi, US Open champion and CBS analyst, dies
    Photos description
    Ken Venturi kicks in Bryon Nelson at the Masters Tournament in 1962.
  • Article Photos
    Ken Venturi, US Open champion and CBS analyst, dies
    Photos description
    This June 20, 1964 file photo shows golfer Ken Venturi getting a kiss from his wife Conni as he accepts the title holder's silver cup of the U.S. Open golf tournament, after a searing final round on the Congressional Country Club course at Bethesda, Md.

Ken Venturi, who overcame dehydration to win the 1964 U.S. Open and spent 35 years in the booth for CBS Sports, died Friday afternoon. He was 82.

His son, Matt Venturi, said he died in a hospital in Rancho Mirage, Calif. Venturi had been hospitalized the last two months for a spinal infection, pneumonia, and then an intestinal infection that he could no longer fight.

Venturi died 12 days after he was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame.

He couldn’t make it to the induction. His sons, Matt and Tim, accepted on his behalf after an emotional tribute by Jim Nantz, who worked alongside Venturi at CBS.

“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 all about overcoming the odds.

A prominent amateur who grew up in San Francisco, he captured his only major in the 1964 U.S. Open at Congressional, the last year the final round was 36 holes. In oppressive heat, Venturi showed signs of dehydration and a doctor recommended he stop playing because it could be fatal. Venturi pressed on to the finish, closed with a 70 and was heard to say, “My God, I’ve won the U.S. Open.”

He had a severe stuttering problem as a child, yet went on to become one of the familiar voices in golf broadcasting. He began working for CBS in 1968 and lasted 35 years.

“Doctors told his mother he will never speak,” Nantz said at the Hall of Fame induction. “He will never be able to say his own name. That’s what drove him to golf, to sit on a range, beating balls, hearing himself in total clarity in his head, ‘This is to win the U.S. Open.’ And he overcame that with great will and determination, and became the longest-running lead analyst in the history of sports television.”

Venturi played on one Ryder Cup team and was U.S. captain in the 2000 Presidents Cup team.

As an amateur, he was the 54-hole leader in the 1956 Masters until closing with an 80, and he was runner-up at Augusta National in 1960 to Arnold Palmer, who birdied the last two holes.