Ken Venturi, the best-known golfer from San Jose State University, died at age 82 on May 17. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Mr. Venturi was hospitalized in Southern California for more than the last two months.
A member of the San Jose State Sports Hall of Fame and accorded Legend status, Mr. Venturi was a highly-acclaimed high school golfer from San Francisco who played for the 1951 through 1953 Spartan golf teams. As a San Jose State golfer, he won the California State Amateur championship in 1951 and would repeat in 1956 before embarking on a career as a professional.
"Mr. Venturi was the epitome of what a gentleman golfer should be and he set that standard for this program from the very first day he set foot on the San Jose State campus. His high level of integrity both on and off the golf course is a model that every golfer who has played for San Jose State strives to achieve. His impact on the game he loved and on those who represent San Jose State cannot be understated," says San Jose State men’s golf head coach John Kennaday.
“I've lost a dear friend and a mentor, but the world of golf has lost one of its greatest ambassadors. Kenny was truly a wonderful person and I will miss him everyday.”
Mr. Venturi consistently assisted the San Jose State men’s golf program with his “Day with Ken” and “Friendraisers” fund-raising events. Becoming a better golfer and a better person from playing his game were at the core of his message.
Mr. Venturi joined the PGA Tour in 1956. He won 14 tournaments as a professional. His 1964 U.S. Open championship at the Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Md., continues to be remembered as one of the greatest victories in the history of the sport.
Mr. Venturi gained even more notoriety in his second career as the lead analyst for CBS Sports’ coverage of the PGA Tour. His 35 years as a commentator is acknowledged as the longest tenure in broadcast sports history.
Click here for a tribute to Mr. Venturi from his long-time CBS-TV broadcast partner Jim Nantz.
GolfWeek remembers Mr. Venturi.
The Golf Channel remembers Mr. Venturi.
Besides his San Jose State honors, Mr. Venturi was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in the lifetime achievement category on May 6, 2013.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made (in loving memory of Ken Venturi) to:
Loma Linda Childrens Hospital
11234 Anderson Street
Loma Linda, CA 92354