Hall of Famer, U.S. Open winner Venturi dies at 82

By Rex HoggardMay 18, 2013, 12:13 am

Dr. John Everett missed the mark by only 49 years, but in the good doctor’s defense he never could have known how much fight Ken Venturi harbored within his slight frame.

Everett was a member at Congressional Country Club and the physician summoned to examine Venturi 54 holes into the 1964 U.S. Open. At the time, Venturi was two strokes behind front-runner Tommy Jacobs and deep in the throes of heat exhaustion.

With temperatures hovering above 100 degrees, Everett advised Venturi that he could be risking his health if he played the final 18 holes.

Of course, Venturi ignored Everett, endured all that Mother Nature, Congressional’s Blue Course and the USGA could throw at him and won the '64 Open, the 11th of 14th PGA Tour victories and his only major championship.

On Friday, Venturi’s incredible ride ended. The California native, who was recently hospitalized with an infection following a surgical procedure, died just two days after turning 82 and 11 days after being inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame.

Ken Venturi: Articles, videos and photos

Photos: Venturi through the years

Photos: Venturi on 'Feherty'

On May 6 at the Hall of Fame induction ceremony, CBS Sports’ Jim Nantz, Venturi’s longtime broadcast partner who accepted the honor on his behalf because Venturi was unable to travel to the ceremony, called him “the walking embodiment of the sport and all its virtues.”

Although Venturi’s career was cut short by a series of injuries, including Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, his resume went well beyond that of a former-player-turned-broadcaster.

In 1956, he held the 54-hole lead at the Masters as an amateur and in 1960 he lost to Arnold Palmer by a stroke after the King finished birdie-birdie.

“I was very sorry to hear of Ken's passing,” Palmer said Friday in a statement. “He was a friend and an opponent and I had the utmost respect for him throughout his career. He was a great competitor and the golf world will miss him.”

A back injury in 1962 nearly ruined a swing that Byron Nelson had groomed to near perfection, but Venturi would go on to win four more titles.

When his injuries proved to be too debilitating, Venturi began a broadcast career with CBS Sports that lasted 35 years, the longest tenure ever for a lead broadcaster, and before retiring in 2002 he captained the United States to victory at the 2000 Presidents Cup at Robert Trent Jones Golf Club in northern Virginia.

“I don’t know of anybody in golf that transcended all aspects of the game the way he did,” said John Cook, who had been mentored by Venturi since he was 14. “Through his playing career and then through broadcasting and the credibility he brought to that. The body of work that Ken put together in this game is second to none, it really is.”

When it was announced last October that he had been voted into the Hall of Fame via the Lifetime Achievement category, Venturi said he cried for the first time since winning the 1964 U.S. Open.

“The greatest reward in life is to be remembered. It’s the dream of a lifetime,” he said.

But it was that scorching day in June 1964 that will be remembered. When Everett advised him after the third round that he was in danger of suffering heat stroke if he kept playing, Venturi shrugged, “I’ve got nowhere else to go.”

By the time Venturi reached the turn at Congressional he’d caught Jacobs, although the heat was clearly taking a toll, and he pulled three strokes clear with a birdie at the 13th hole.

“Although the weariness showed as he moved from shot to shot, there was nothing frail about the way he struck the ball,” Alfred Wright wrote in the June 29, 1964, edition of Sports Illustrated.

Everett walked all 18 holes with Venturi that afternoon, feeding him a dozen salt tablets while the crowds emboldened him with not-so-faint praise. When the final putt dropped for a four-stroke victory he finally allowed himself to succumb to emotion, if not exhaustion.

“I had told myself that I was going to keep control of myself, that I wasn't going to get emotional,” Venturi said. “Then Ray Floyd came over to shake my hand and he was crying. So I started crying too.”

On Friday, all golf shed a collective tear.

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Kelly, Sauers co-lead in Hawaii; Monty, Couples in mix

By Associated PressJanuary 19, 2018, 3:52 am

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii - Fresh off a solid performance on Oahu, Jerry Kelly shot an 8-under 64 on the Big Island on Thursday to share the first-round lead at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

The 51-year-old Kelly, who tied for 14th at the PGA Tour's Sony Open last week in Honolulu, birdied five of his final seven holes to shoot 30 on the back nine at Hualalai. He won twice last season, his first on the over-50 tour.

Gene Sauers also shot 64, going bogey-free amid calm conditions. Thirty-two of the 44 players broke par in the limited-field event, which includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

Rocco Mediate and Colin Montgomerie were one shot back, and Fred Couples, Kevin Sutherland and Kirk Triplett were another shot behind.

Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was in the middle of the pack after a 69.

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Rahm (62) fires career low round

By Will GrayJanuary 19, 2018, 12:03 am

The scores were predictably low during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge, where the top-ranked player in the field currently sits atop the standings. Here's how things look after the first day in Palm Springs as Jon Rahm is out to an early advantage:

Leaderboard: Jon Rahm (-10), Austin Cook (-9), Andrew Landry (-9), Jason Kokrak (-9), Brandon Harkins (-8), Martin Piller (-8), Aaron Wise (-8), Beau Hossler (-8)

What it means: Rahm is coming off a runner-up finish two weeks ago at Kapalua, and he picked up right where he left off with a 10-under 62 at La Quinta Country Club. It marked his lowest career round on the PGA Tour, and it gave him a one-shot lead heading to the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Cook is the only player within two shots of Rahm who has won already on Tour.

Round of the day: Rahm got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under, and he made it around La Quinta without dropping a shot. The 62 bettered his previous career low on Tour by two shots and it included an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole to go along with eight birdies.

Best of the rest: Cook was a winner earlier this season at the RSM Classic, and he's now in the mix for trophy No. 2 following a 9-under 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Like Rahm, he opened with a seven-hole stretch at 6 under and turned in a scorecard without a bogey. He'll now head to the more difficult Stadium Course for his second round.

Biggest disappointment: Patrick Reed blitzed the three-course rotation in Palm Springs en route to his first career Tour title back in 2014, but he's unlikely to repeat that feat after opening with a 2-over 74 on the Nicklaus Tournament course. Reed made only one birdie against three bogeys and was one of only 32 players in the 156-man field who failed to break par in the opening round.

Main storyline heading into Friday: Rahm deserves the spotlight, as he entered the week as one of the event's headliners and did nothing to lose that billing in the opening round. But the pack of contenders is sure to keep pace, while players like Phil Mickelson (-2) will look to put up a low score in order to build some momentum heading into the weekend.

Shot of the day: Wesley Bryan's 7-under 65 on the Nicklaus Tournament course was helped in large part by an eagle on the par-4 10th, where he holed a 54-degree wedge from 112 yards away. Bryan went on to birdie the next hole amid a five-hole stretch of 5 under play.

Quote of the day: "Shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for." - Rahm

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Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder

By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:45 pm

Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Web.com Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.

"Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."

Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.

"That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."

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Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn

By Jason CrookJanuary 18, 2018, 11:40 pm

There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.

Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.

Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.

Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.


A post shared by Alex Noren (@alexnoren1) on

The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.

It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him.