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Ken Venturi dies: What Jack Nicklaus says about him (+video)

Ken Venturi dies: What did Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer say about Ken Venturi, a 14-time PGA tour winner and CBS broadcaster?

Ken Venturi, CBS broadcaster, passes on
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Former U.S. Open champion and television broadcaster Ken Venturi, a 14-times winner on the PGA Tour, died on Friday at the age of 82 following various health complications.

Inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame just 11 days ago, Venturi died in a hospital in Rancho Mirage, Calif., where he had been living for several years, according to his son, Matt.

"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," said Jack Nicklaus in a statement posted on Facebook.

The highlight of Venturi's playing career came in the 1964 U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club where he overcame 100-degree temperatures and severe dehydration to win his only major championship.

He was forced to quit competitive golf because of carpal tunnel syndrome in 1967. The following year, he joined CBS television as an analyst and enjoyed a lengthy career as one of the most insightful and respected figures in the game.

"He played on the Ryder Cup in 1965, he captained the U.S. Presidents Cup in 2000," PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said last October after Venturi was voted into the World Golf Hall of Fame as part of the class of 2013.

"But to fans around the United States and around the world, he was the conduit of what PGA Tour level golf was to those fans for an incredible 35-year broadcast career which spanned many, many careers on the PGA Tour.

"Ken Venturi was a fixture to the game of golf for fans everywhere in terms of his ability to analyze the game and excite fans about the play they were watching."

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Venturi, a San Francisco native who learned to play golf at Harding Park, described his induction into the Hall of Fame as "just an honour" when speaking on a conference call from Pebble Beach Golf Links in California.

"The greatest reward in life is to be remembered and I thank the World Golf Hall of Fame for remembering me," Venturi said.

"I was taught by Byron Nelson and I asked him one time, 'How could I ever repay you for all you've done for me?' He said, 'Ken, be good to the game and give back.'

"And that's what I've tried to do because I've said many times, the world will never remember you for what you take from it, but only what you leave behind."

Arnold Palmer released the following statement: "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."

(Editing by Greg Stutchbury)


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