San Jose, Calif. - In a career marked by some of the greatest honors both on and off the course, San Jose State’s Ken Venturi will receive one of golf’s highest recognitions when he in inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame on Monday, May 6.
Venturi, a 1953 graduate, won the California State Amateur Championship at Pebble Beach Golf Links in 1951 and 1956 as well as the 1951 and 1953 Western Intercollegiate at the Pasatiempo Golf Club.
In his first appearance on a national stage,
in the 1956 Masters, playing as an amateur, he held a four-stroke lead at the start of the fourth round, but shot an 80 for a 290 total. He finished one stroke behind Jackie Burke, Jr., who set a Masters record with an eight-shot comeback in the final round.
Taking the lessons learned in 1956, Venturi earned his first PGA Tour victory, the Saint Paul Open Invitational, in 1957. It was the first of 10 wins he would earn over the next four years, including four victories in 1958 alone.
In 1964, he won three times, including the championship that would cement his legacy as a player, the U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Md. Entering the 36-hole final and 100-degree temperatures, Venturi shot a 66 in the morning session to stay within two strokes of 54-hole leader Tommy Jacobs.
Before the afternoon round began, doctors advised Venturi to withdraw. He was suffering dehydration due to the oppressive heat and had been taking treatments with tea and salt tablets in between rounds. Doctors warned him that he was risking heat stroke if he continued. Venturi ignored the warning and shot a 70 to Jacobs' 76 to earn a four-stroke victory and the U.S. Open title.
His score of 206 over the final 54 holes was a tournament record, as was his score of 136 over the last 36. His incredible accomplishment earned him the Sports Illustrated “Sportsman of the Year” and the PGA’s Player of the Year award.
Venturi, a member of the San Jose State Sports Hall of Fame, played on the victorious United States Ryder Cup team in 1965 and earned his final PGA Tour win in 1966.
In 1968 he joined CBS Sports and began a 35-year association with the network as both a lead analyst and color commentator on its golf coverage.
In 1998, Venturi received the Old Tom Morris Award, the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America’s most prestigious honor. Two years later, he received the PGA of America Lifetime Achievement in Journalism Award. Venturi also captained the United States to victory in the 2000 Presidents Cup.
Venturi will be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame with Fred Couples, Colin Montgomery, Willie Park, Jr. and Ken Schofield.
He joins Juli Inkster, a 2000 inductee, as San Jose State golfers in the World Golf Hall of Fame.
U.S. Open: 1964
PGA Tour Victories: 13
1957: St. Paul Open Invitational, Miller High Life Open
1958: Thunderbird Invitational, Phoenix Open Invitational, Baton Rouge Open Invitational, Gleneagles-Chicago Open Invitational
1959: Los Angeles Open, Gleneagles-Chicago Open Invitational
1960: Bing Crosby National Pro-Am, Milwaukee Open Invitational
1964: Insurance City Open Invitational, American Golf Classic
1966: Lucky International Open
Other Wins: 1
1959: Almaden Open
1951: California State Amateur Championship
1956: California State Amateur Championship