Palmer, Nicklaus release statements on Venturi


With the news Friday that former major champion and longtime broadcaster Ken Venturi died at age 82, two of the game's greats – as well as several organizations tied to both Venturi and the game – released statements regarding the Hall of Famer's passing:

'I was very sorry to hear of Ken's passing. 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.' – Arnold Palmer

'I was very upset and saddened to hear the news of Ken¹s passing. We all knew what a wonderful player Ken Venturi was, and how he fashioned a second successful career as an announcer. But far more important than how good he was at playing the game or covering it, Ken was my friend.  Ken was fortunate in that the game of golf gave him so much, but without question, Ken gave back far more to the game he loved than he ever gained from it. Over the years, Ken developed a circle of friends that is enormous and whose collective heart is heavy today. All those in and out of the golf community will miss him, just as Barbara and I will.

'If there is some sense of fairness, it is that Ken was inducted into a Hall of Fame that he very much deserved to be in and, in fact, should have been in for many years. While I know he was not able to be there in person for his induction, I am certain there was an overwhelming sense of pride and peace that embraced Ken. It was a dream of Ken Venturi¹s that became a reality before he sadly left us.' – Jack Nicklaus

'Ken Venturi provided lead analysis and commentary for CBS Sports’ coverage of golf for 35 years from 1968 when he, along with Jack Whitaker, co-hosted “CBS Golf Championship” and “CBS Golf Classic,” until 2002 as the lead golf analyst for the CBS Television Network.  He was the longest-running lead analyst on television for any sport.

'One of golf’s elite players, Venturi won the 1964 U.S. Open Championship, and was recently inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in a ceremony on May 6. 

“For the second time in a month, the CBS Sports family has lost one of its legends with the passing of Ken Venturi.  Ken was not only one of golf’s greatest champions, but also the signature voice of golf for almost two generations of fans and viewers.  His stature, expertise and personality working in the 18th tower alongside Pat Summerall, Jim Nantz and the rest of the CBS golf team will forever be synonymous with the greatest golf events on CBS.” Sean McManus, Chairman, CBS Sports 

“He was one of the finest gentlemen the world will ever know and one of the greatest friends you could ever have.  He was a deeply principled man with a dynamic presence. He just exuded class.  Through his competitive days and unequalled broadcasting career, Kenny became a human bridge connecting everyone from Sarazen, Nelson and Hogan to the greatest players of today's generation.  Kenny faced many adversities in his life and always found a way to win.  When I hear Frank Sinatra's 'My Way,' I will always believe that Ol’ Blue Eyes was singing that song for his close pal, Kenny Venturi. It makes me think of him every time.  On his farewell broadcast in 2002 I told him, ‘You will be, always by my side.'   Five years later I wrote a book about my Dad and father figures in my life. I named the book after that very moment.

'I'm so happy he lived to know he was going to be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame. I will cherish my 17 years working with him.  But more than that, I will treasure the rich, personal, deep friendship that we shared for nearly 30 years.” – Jim Nantz

'The PGA Tour joins the world of golf in mourning the loss of one of its most treasured champions and ambassadors, Ken Venturi. His impact on the Tour and the game itself cannot be overstated. His tremendous accomplishments on the golf course were certainly Hall of Fame worthy on their own, but in Ken one finds a rare example of a golfer whose second career, in television, rivaled the legendary status of his competitive achievements. His unique perspective and poetic delivery as an announcer enhanced countless memorable moments in golf, making his voice and presence as in indelible as the historic tournaments he covered. Ken will forever be remembered as a consummate gentleman, and he will be truly missed.' – Tim Finchem

'On behalf of the Members, staff and volunteers of the World Golf Hall of Fame & Museum, we are saddened to learn of the passing of Ken Venturi. He was one of golf's iconic figures, and our thoughts and prayers go out to Ken's family. 

'Ken made an unforgettable imprint on the game we love. He was a fantastic player, and captivated the nation with his thrilling victory in the 1964 U.S. Open. For 35 years in the broadcast booth at CBS, he was the warm, friendly voice millions invited into their homes to share his unique insights. 

'To honor him, the United States flag at the Hall of Fame will be lowered to half-mast and a special tribute will be created in the Museum. When Ken learned he would be a part of the Class of 2013, he said, 'The greatest reward in life is to be remembered.' The Hall of Fame and golf fans everywhere will never forget the impact Ken had on the game.' – Jack Peter, Chief Operating Officer, World Golf Hall of Fame & Museum