(Reuters) - Former U.S. Open champion and television broadcaster Ken Venturi, a 14-times winner on the PGA Tour, has been voted into the World Golf Hall of Fame as part of the class of 2013.
The 81-year-old American, whose selection in the Hall of Fame’s lifetime achievement category was announced on Monday, will be inducted on May 6 at the World Golf Village in St. Augustine, Florida.
“It’s just an honor,” Venturi said on a conference call from Pebble Beach Golf Links in his home state of Northern California. “The greatest reward in life is to be remembered and I thank the World Golf Hall of Fame for remembering me.
“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.”
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,” said PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem.
“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.”
Venturi joins 1992 Masters champion Fred Couples, who was voted into the World Golf Hall of Fame via the PGA Tour category three weeks ago.
The Hall of Fame will round out the class of 2013 by announcing inductees from the international ballot and the veterans category in the coming months.
Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles; Editing by Frank Pingue