To golf fans of a certain age, Ken Venturi was the voice of weekend afternoons, broadcasting the Masters and other PGA Tour events on CBS for decades.
To older fans, he was a tenacious competitor and 14-time champion on Tour, with no win bigger than the sweltering 1964 U.S. Open at Congressional.
For all of those contributions to the game, Venturi will enter the World Golf Hall of Fame in St. Augustine as part of the Class of 2013. Fred Couples was announced last month as another member of the class.
“The last time I had tears in my eyes was when I won the U.S. Open,” Venturi said Monday during a teleconference announcing his induction. “This has been a special day.
“The greatest reward in life is to be remembered and I thank the World Golf Hall of Fame for remembering me.”
Venturi was born in San Francisco and developed his game on the Bay Area’s great public courses. He finished second to Jackie Burke in the 1956 Masters as an amateur, and nearly won at Augusta in 1958 and 1960 (Arnold Palmer won both).
His 1964 U.S. Open win was the stuff of legend. At that time, 36 holes were played on Sunday, and that Sunday outside Washington, D.C., saw temperatures well above 100 degrees with 90 percent-plus humidity. Venturi was suffering after the morning round and a doctor told him he risked death by playing in the afternoon. Venturi defied the doctor, played and won. He was named Sportsman of the Year by Sports Illustrated.
That was the last year the U.S. Open played 36 holes on Sunday.
Tickets and travel packages to the 2013 Induction Ceremony will be available on Nov. 1. For more information on the Induction Ceremony and the World Golf Hall of Fame, visit the Hall's website.