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    Ken Venturi, 82, golf analyst, winner of memorable US Open

    Ken Venturi made the final putt on the 18th green during the US Open Golf Championship at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Md., on June 20, 1964.
    Associated Press
    Ken Venturi made the final putt on the 18th green during the US Open Golf Championship at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Md., on June 20, 1964.

    NEW YORK — Ken Venturi, who won the 1964 US Open while nearing collapse from heat exhaustion and who was later the longtime chief golf analyst for CBS Sports, died Friday afternoon.

    He was 82.

    Mr. Venturi’s son, Matt, told the Associated Press that his father died in a hospital in Rancho Mirage, Calif., and that he had been hospitalized the last two months for a spinal infection, pneumonia, and an intestinal infection.


    Mr. Venturi had a five-way heart bypass surgery and valve repair in December 2006.

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    Mr. Venturi, who had recently been elected to the World Golf Hall of Fame, won 14 tournaments between 1957 and 1966 in a career cut short by circulatory problems in his hands.

    He first gained notice in 1956 as an amateur when he led the Masters by four shots entering the final round, only to shoot an 80, losing to Jack Burke Jr. by a stroke. He was the runner-up at the Masters again in 1960, a shot behind Arnold Palmer, who birdied the final two holes.

    But his signature moment came at the Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Md., on a Sunday in June 1964. Temperatures were approaching 100 degrees, and the humidity seemed unconquerable as the players struggled to play 36 holes, the last time the Open staged its final two rounds on a single day.

    Mr. Venturi had not won since the 1960 Milwaukee Open, had considering quitting, and had been required to participate in two qualifying events before being allowed into the Open.


    He almost collapsed from the heat on the 17th green of his morning round but carded a remarkable 66.

    Going into the final 18 holes, he was two shots behind the leader, Tommy Jacobs. After a 45-minute break, Mr. Venturi virtually staggered through the final round, trailed by Dr. John Everett, who was monitoring the players and who had warned him against continuing out of fear he would die from heat prostration.

    Everett gave Mr. Venturi ice cubes, iced tea, and salt pills as he played on, instinct triumphing over pressure and exhaustion.

    He sank a 10-foot putt on the final hole to close out a 70, besting Jacobs by four shots.

    ‘‘I dropped my putter and I raised my arms up to the sky,’’ Mr. Venturi told AP in 1997. ‘‘I said, ‘My God, I’ve won the Open.’ The applause was deafening. It was like thunder coming out there.’’


    He was so weak that he could not reach into the hole to get his ball, so Raymond Floyd, his playing partner, did it for him.

    ‘‘I felt this hand on me, and it was Raymond Floyd handing me the ball,’’ Mr. Venturi remembered. ‘‘I looked at him, and he had tears streaming down his face.’’

    As Floyd later told AP: ‘‘He was running on fumes. If you had asked him his name, he could not have told you. It is one of the most heroic things I have ever seen.’’

    Mr. Venturi was named PGA player of the year for 1964 and was selected for the 1965 Ryder Cup team. By then, he had developed carpal tunnel syndrome and had surgery, hoping to relieve cold and numbness in his hands. But he never regained his form and soon retired.

    He was hired by CBS to provide commentary on the PGA Tour; he remained with the network for 35 years, retiring in 2002.

    ‘‘With that exhausting, emotional victory [at the Open], Mr. Venturi established a bond with viewers,’’ Peter McCleery wrote in Golf Digest in 2002. ‘‘His strength as an analyst has been the passion and conviction he brought to the booth. He said things with such authority and in such absolute terms that you believed him, or wanted to.’’

    Mr. Venturi was born and reared in San Francisco.

    He leaves his third wife, Kathleen, and two sons, Matthew and Tim.