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.


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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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Man bites off finger during golf course brawl

By Associated PressAugust 19, 2018, 3:45 pm

PLYMOUTH, Mass. – A man has bitten off another man’s finger during a fight at a Massachusetts golf course.

WCVB-TV reports a 47-year-old man was arrested at the Southers Marsh Golf Club in Plymouth Friday after he apparently got into a fight with another golfer and bit off a part of his thumb.

The station reports the victim’s thumb had been bitten off to his knuckle and he was transported to a local hospital for treatment. The incident happened around sunset.

The attacker was arrested and charged with mayhem. A police dispatcher declined to comment Saturday and Chief Michael Botieri didn’t immediately return a call seeking more information.

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Snedeker leads by one heading into final round

By Associated PressAugust 19, 2018, 3:26 pm

GREENSBORO, N.C. – Brandt Snedeker took a one-stroke lead into the final round of the weather-delayed Wyndham Championship after finishing the third round Sunday with a 2-under 68.

Snedeker was at 16-under 194 through three rounds of the final PGA Tour event of the regular season. Brian Gay and David Hearn were at 15 under, with Gay shooting a 62 and Hearn a 64.

Thirty players were on the course Saturday when play was suspended because of severe weather. After a delay of 3 hours, 23 minutes, organizers chose to hold things up until Sunday morning.

Snedeker, who shot an opening-round 59 to become just the 10th tour player to break 60, is chasing his first victory since 2016 and his second career win at this tournament.

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Olesen edges past Poulter in Ryder Cup standings

By Will GrayAugust 19, 2018, 3:10 pm

With only two weeks left in the qualification window, Thorbjorn Olesen is now in position to make his Ryder Cup debut.

Olesen finished alone in fourth place at the Nordea Masters, two shots out of a playoff between Thomas Aiken and eventual winner Paul Waring. Olesen carded four straight sub-70 rounds in Sweden, including a final-round 67 that featured three birdies over his final seven holes.

It's a tight race for the fourth and final Ryder Cup spot via the World Points list, and Olesen's showing this week will allow him to move past Paul Casey and Ian Poulter, both of whom didn't play this week, into the No. 4 slot. Olesen is now also less than 40,000 Euros behind Tommy Fleetwood to qualify via the European Points list.

The top four players from both lists on Sept. 2 will qualify for next month's matches, with captain Thomas Bjorn rounding out the roster with four selections on Sept. 4. Poulter and Casey will both have a chance to move back in front next week at The Northern Trust, while the final qualifying week will include the PGA Tour event at TPC Boston and Olesen headlining the field in his homeland at the Made in Denmark.

Even if Olesen fails to qualify automatically for Paris, the 28-year-old continues to bolster his credentials for a possible pick from his countryman, Bjorn. Olesen won the Italian Open in June, finished second at the BMW International Open three weeks later and has now compiled four top-12 finishes over his last five worldwide starts including a T-3 result at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational earlier this month.

In addition to the players who fail to qualify from the Olesen-Poulter-Casey trio, other candidates for Bjorn's quartet of picks will likely include major champions Sergio Garcia and Henrik Stenson.

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Thompson bounces back from rule violation

By Randall MellAugust 19, 2018, 2:22 am

If Lexi Thompson’s trouble in the sixth fairway brought back any painful memories Saturday at the Indy Women in Tech Championship, she shook them off in a hurry.

If the approach of another rules official amid a spirited run of brilliant play rattled her, she didn’t show it.

Thompson posted an 8-under-par 64 in the third round despite another awkward rules infraction.

Her round was impressively bogey free but not mistake free, and so her work will be a little harder Sunday chasing Lizette Salas.

After incurring a one-shot penalty for violating a local rule in effect for preferred lies, Thompson will start the final round five shots back instead of four.

She knows she’s fortunate she isn’t six back.

If a rules official hadn’t witnessed Thompson in the middle of committing the infraction, she could have been assessed an additional penalty shot for playing from the wrong spot.

Thompson got the penalty after stepping on the 10th tee and blowing her drive right, into the sixth fairway. She got it after picking up her ball over there and lifting, cleaning and placing it. She got it because she wasn’t allowed to do that in any other fairway except for the fairway of the hole she was playing.

The preferred-lie rule was distributed to players earlier in the week.

The story here isn’t really the penalty.


Full-field scores from Indy Women in Tech Championship


It’s Thompson’s reaction to it, because she opened this week in such heartfelt fashion. After skipping the Ricoh Women’s British Open to take a month-long “mental break,” Thompson revealed this week that she has been struggling emotionally in the wake of last year’s highs and lows. She opened up about how trying to “hide” her pain and show strength through it all finally became too much to bear. She needed a break. She also candidly shared how the challenges of being a prodigy who has poured herself into the game have led her to seek therapists’ help in building a life about more than golf.

That’s a lot for a 23-year-old to unload publicly.

Last year may have been the best and the worst of Thompson’s career. She said dealing with that controversial four-shot penalty that cost her the ANA Inspiration title, watching her mother battle cancer and losing a grandmother were cumulatively more difficult to deal with than she ever let on. There was also that short missed putt at year’s end that could have vaulted her to Rolex world No. 1 for the first time and led to her winning the Rolex Player of the Year title. She still won twice, won the Vare Trophy for low scoring average and was the Golf Writers Association of America Player of the Year.

That’s a lot of peaks and valleys for a young soul.

That’s the kind of year that can make you feel like an old soul in a hurry.

So seeing a rules official approach her on Saturday, you wondered about Thompson gathering herself so quickly. You wondered what she was thinking stepping up and ripping her next shot 215 majestic yards, about her hitting the green and saving par. You wondered about how she  bounced back to birdie 13 and 14 and finish bogey free.

With this week’s soul bearing, you wondered a lot about what rebounding like that meant to her.

We’re left to wonder from afar, though, because she wasn’t asked any of those questions by local reporters afterward. The transcript showed three brief answers to three short questions, none about the penalty or the challenge she met.

Of course, there were other questions to be asked, because local rules have been an issue this year. Did she read the local notes with the preferred lies explanation? She got hit with another local rules issue in Thailand this year, when she hit her ball near an advertising sign and moved the sign, not realizing a local rule made the sign a temporary immovable obstruction.

Of course, there were other good stories in Indy, too, with Sung Hyun Park poised to overtake Ariya Jutanugarn and return to Rolex world No. 1, with Salas holding off Park so brilliantly down the stretch Saturday.

Thompson, though, is the highest ranked American in the world. She’s the face of American women’s golf now. A face more tender, resolute and vulnerable than we have ever seen it.

Folks along the ropes watching her on the back nine in Indy Saturday got to see that better than any of us.