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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McCoy earns medalist honors at Web.com Q-School

By Will GrayDecember 11, 2017, 12:30 am

One year after his budding career was derailed by a car accident, Lee McCoy got back on track by earning medalist honors at the final stage of Web.com Tour Q-School.

McCoy shot a final-round 65 at Whirlwind Golf Club in Chandler, Ariz., to finish the 72-hole event at 28 under. That total left him two shots ahead of Sung-Jae Im and guaranteed him fully-exempt status on the developmental circuit in 2018.

It's an impressive turnaround for the former University of Georgia standout who finished fourth at the 2016 Valspar Championship as an amateur while playing alongside Jordan Spieth in the final round. But he broke his wrist in a car accident the day before second stage of Q-School last year, leaving him without status on any major tour to begin the year.

McCoy was not the only player who left Arizona smiling. Everyone in the top 10 and ties will be exempt through the first 12 events of the new Web.com Tour season, a group that includes former amateur standouts Curtis Luck (T-3), Sam Burns (T-10) and Maverick McNealy (T-10).

Players who finished outside the top 10 but inside the top 45 and ties earned exemptions into the first eight events of 2018. That group includes Cameron Champ (T-16), who led the field in driving at this year's U.S. Open as an amateur, and Wyndham Clark (T-23).

Everyone who advanced to the final stage of Q-School will have at least conditional Web.com Tour status in 2018. Among those who failed to secure guaranteed starts this week were Robby Shelton, Rico Hoey, Jordan Niebrugge, Joaquin Niemann and Kevin Hall.

Els honored with Heisman Humanitarian Award

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 11:41 pm

The annual Heisman Trophy award ceremony is one of the biggest moments in any football season, but there was a touching non-football moment as well on Saturday night as Ernie Els received the Heisman Humanitarian Award.

The award, which had been announced in August, recognized Els' ongoing efforts on behalf of his Els for Autism foundation. Els received the award at Manhattan's PlayStation Theater, where Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield won the Heisman Trophy.

Els, 47, founded Els for Autism in 2009 with his wife after their son, Ben, was diagnosed with autism. Their efforts have since flourished into a 26-acre campus in Jupiter, Fla., and the creation of the Els Center for Excellence in 2015.

The Heisman Humanitarian Award has been given out since 2006. Past recipients include NBA center David Robinson, NFL running back Warrick Dunn, soccer star Mia Hamm and NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon.

A native of South Africa, Els won the U.S. Open in 1994 and 1997 and The Open in 2002 and 2012. He has won 19 times on the PGA Tour and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2011.

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Monday finish for Joburg Open; Sharma leads by 4

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 8:57 pm

Rain, lightning and hail pushed the Joburg Open to a Monday finish, with India’s Shubhankar Sharma holding a four-stroke lead with 11 holes to play in Johannesburg.

Play is scheduled to resume at 7:30 a.m. local time.

South Africa’s Erik van Rooyen will have a 3-foot putt for birdie to move within three shots of Sharma wen play resumes at the Randpark Golf Club. Sarma is at 22 under par.

Tapio Pulkkanen of Finland and James Morrison of England are tied for third at 14 under. Pulkkanen has 10 holes remaining, Morrison 11.

The top three finishers who are not already exempt, will get spots in next year’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.



Stricker, O'Hair team to win QBE Shootout

By Will GrayDecember 10, 2017, 8:55 pm

It may not count in the official tally, but Steve Stricker is once again in the winner's circle on the PGA Tour.

Stricker teamed with Sean O'Hair to win the two-person QBE Shootout, as the duo combined for a better-ball 64 in the final round to finish two shots clear of Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry. It's the second win in this event for both men; Stricker won with Jerry Kelly back in 2009 while O'Hair lifted the trophy with Kenny Perry in 2012.

Stricker and O'Hair led wire-to-wire in the 54-hole, unofficial event after posting a 15-under 57 during the opening-round scramble.

"We just really gelled well together," Stricker said. "With his length the first day, getting some clubs into the greens, some short irons for me, we just fed off that first day quite a bit. We felt comfortable with one another."

Full-field scores from the QBE Shootout

Stricker won 12 times during his PGA Tour career, most recently at the 2012 Tournament of Champions. More recently the 50-year-old has been splitting his time on the PGA Tour Champions and captained the U.S. to a victory at the Presidents Cup in October. O'Hair has four official Tour wins, most recently at the 2011 RBC Canadian Open.

Pat Perez and Brian Harman finished alone in third, four shots behind Stricker and O'Hair. Lexi Thompson and Tony Finau, the lone co-ed pairing in the 12-team event, finished among a tie for fourth.