You loved Golf World's Venturi story. He was a different kind of final-round Open hero.
As tough as it was yesterday for the field at Olympic--and it was plenty tough, with some of the fairways no wider than this desk, and the greens so fast they got "glossy" to use Jim Furyk's word--it was not the ordeal of 36 holes that the USGA once imposed on competitors on the final day. That ordeal was what set apart Ken Venturi's heroic victory at Congressional in 1964, recalled in Golf World's interview with the 81-year-old San Francisco native in its Open preview. You loved it. Here are two laudatory letters:
I really enjoyed the article getting Ken Venturi's take on the upcoming Open, "Recollections of a Native Son." He grew up there. To this day I miss him not being on the telecasts, and wished he were still around, now that we have the extended coverage's we get from the Golf Channel, ESPN, etc. To this day one of my favorite golf stories, or stories on life for that matter, is the one he told on an Open telecast several years ago, and again recently with Feherty, about his father finally telling he was the best he'd ever seen, when Ken was concerned about never playing again with his circulation problems.
We use his "Venturisms" ("Jimmy, now he's bringing 6 and 7 into the picture"... etc.) on the course as much as any 3 Stooges or CaddyShack line, and it always brings a laugh to all. He was a class act and true gentleman, whether playing or broadcasting. But why wouldn't he be, having been mentored by Eddie Lowery, Lord Byron and Mr. Hogan. I'm sure Jimmy, Gary, David, Verne and all those who worked with him are the better for it. You knew what it all meant to him every April at Augusta when he'd break down for a brief moment at the end.
Thanks for the article, and Mr. Venturi, God Bless, and thanks for the memories. Enjoy your retirement.
Thank you for your fine article about Ken Venturi. I learned to play the game
by watching the then "Wonderful World of Golf" sponsored by Shell Oil Co.
Ken would give short golf lessons during some of the commercial breaks I had
just started to play the game could not afford lessons. So I took them from
Venturi, watching every single round on the weekends just to see what he would
feature that week. He was a wonderful teacher and I learned not only the small
technical things of golf but also learned to love the game that he so obviously
loved as well.
Like you, I miss Venturi. In a way that even Johnny Miller cannot be, he was a bridge to different era of golf, one that we can remember as gracious, elegant and not so complicated. Would love to hear Ken on this week's Open set-up. Hmmm.
If you missed it, you'll also enjoy Michael Arkush's column arguing for Venturi's induction into the World Golf Hall of Fame.
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