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News Link • Entertainment: Sports

Ken Venturi, golf pro turned analyst, dies

•, Ron Kroichick

Mr. Venturi had been hospitalized for nearly two months for pneumonia and infections in his back and intestines. He survived prostate cancer in 2000-01 and quintuple heart-bypass surgery in 2006.

"He meant so much to the game, in so many different ways," said John Cook, a longtime tour pro whom Venturi mentored starting when Cook was 14. "Not just his great playing record but also as a transcending television analyst, and then with his philanthropic endeavors.

"Really, I can't think of one person who has hit the game so vastly and through so many different channels."

Mr. Venturi was an accomplished amateur golfer, but his path to prominence as a professional included several speed bumps. He overcame a severe stutter, weathered two crushing losses in the Masters, sustained lingering injuries in a September 1961 car accident and disappeared into a maddening, career-threatening slump.

So it seemed fitting, somehow, that his most triumphant moment occurred in trying circumstances, when he played 36 holes in scorching heat and humidity at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Md.

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