Venturi was born in San Francisco in 1931. He learned to play golf at an early age, and developed his game at Harding Park Golf Course and other public courses in the bay area. In the early 1950's, Venturi was a pupil of golfing legend Byron Nelson, and also influenced by Ben Hogan. Venturi won the California State Amateur Championship in 1951 and 1956. He served in the army during the Korean War. Venturi first gained national attention in 1956, when he finished second at The Masters, one shot behind Jack Burke. Amazing, since Venturi was still an amateur at the time. A final round 80 in windy conditions sunk the California golfers chances of wearing a green jacket.
Ken Venturi was a regular winner on the PGA Tour after turning pro at the end of 1956. After suffering minor injuries in an automobile accident in 1961, Venturi's swing and career began to slide. In 1964, he began to play well again. So well in fact, that he had his biggest victory that summer, winning the U.S. open at Congressional Country Club outside the nation's capitol.
Venturi retired from playing professional golf in 1967. After having won 14 tour events. He was diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome in both wrists.
However, that was just the beginning of another career that Kenny Venturi became, perhaps, even more famous for. He worked as a color commentator and lead golf analyst for CBS sports for 35 years. Truly remarkable, when one considers that Venturi suffered from severe stuttering early in life. Venturi retired from broadcasting in June of 2002. He was enshrined in the World Golf Half of Fame in Florida just weeks ago.