"We all knew what a wonderful player Ken Venturi was, and how he fashioned a second successful career as an announcer," Jack Nicklaus said. "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."
Venturi was born May 15, 1931, in San Francisco, and he developed his game at Harding Park Golf Course. He won the California State Amateur at Pebble Beach in 1951 and 1956, while serving in the Army in Korea between those two amateur titles.
His stammering problem is what led him to golf.
"When I was 13 years old, the teacher told my mother, 'I'm sorry, Mrs. Venturi, but your son will never be able to speak. He's an incurable stammerer,'" Venturi said in 2011. "My mother asked me what I planned to do. I said, 'I'm taking up the loneliest sport I know,' and picked up a set of hickory shaft across the street from a man and went to Harding Park and played my first round of golf."