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Ken Venturi

Ken Venturi made the 1964 Open a most memorable Championship. After compiling an outstanding amateur record and enjoying much early success as a professional, Venturi lapsed into a 3-year slump beginning in 1961. He won less than $4,000 in 1963. Then, in the 1964 Open, Venturi made a remarkable comeback at the Congressional Country Club, Washington, D.C. His 72-hole total was 278, two above the record 276, with rounds of 72-70-66-70. Tommy Jacobs was second with 282.

Adding to the drama was Venturi's physical condition on a brutally hot and humid Saturday. Six strokes behind after 36 holes, Venturi turned in a 30, five under par, on Saturday morning, and was six under par when he went over par on the 17th and 18th holes. He appeared exhausted after this third round of 66 and there was doubt that he could play the fourth round. A doctor examined him and permitted him to play on. Venturi continued to hit brilliant strokes, overhauled the 54-hole leader, Jacobs, and, walking almost painfully, parred the last four holes to finish four strokes ahead of Jacobs.

First prize was $17,000. Arnold Palmer's 68 was the only sub-par round on the first day. Palmer followed with a 69 but did not retain his lead because Jacobs, after a first round of 72, made an astounding 60-foot putt for a birdie on the home green. His 64 tied the record for the lowest round in an Open set by Lee Mackey, Jr. in 1950. Jacobs' third-round score of 70 put him at 206, two strokes ahead of Venturi and six ahead of palmer, who slipped to a 75 in the third round.

Bob Charles, the 1963 British Open Champion, made a strong rally with a final round of 68 to finish third at 283. Low amateur was John Farquhar of Amarillo, Texas, with 297. Defending Champion Julius Boros had back trouble and his 36-hole score of 154 did not make the cut. Total attendance for the Championship was 55,498, second only to the record of 62,300 for three days at Oakmont in 1962.


Starts - 13

Best Finish - Winner 1964

Rds - 42

Cuts Made - 8

Top 3 - 1

Top 5 - 1

Top 10 - 3

Top 25 - 5

Avg. - 74.19

Scores In 60s - 4

Rds Under Par - 4

Earnings - $23,463.33
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    Historical Notes
    On Oct. 4, 1895, the first U.S. Open Championship was conducted by the United States Golf Association on the nine-hole course of Newport (R.I.) Golf and Country Club.
    The first U.S. Open was considered something of a sideshow to the first U.S. Amateur, which was played on the same course and during the same week. Both championships had been scheduled for September but were postponed because of a conflict with a more established Newport sports spectacle, the America's Cup yacht races.
    Ten professionals and one amateur started in the 36-hole competition, which was four trips around the Newport course in one day. The surprise winner was Horace Rawlins, 21, an English professional who was the assistant at the host course. Rawlins scored 91-82-173 with the gutta-percha ball.
    Prize money totalled $335, of which Rawlins won the $150 first prize. He also received a gold medal and custody of the Open Championship Cup for his club for one year.
    In its first decade, the U.S. Open was conducted for amateurs and the largely British wave of immigrant golf professionals coming to the United States.
    As American players began to dominate the game, the U.S. Open evolved into an important world golf championship. Young John J. McDermott became the first native-born American winner in 1911 and repeated as champion in 1912.
    In 1913, the U.S. Open really took off when Francis Ouimet, a 20-year-old American amateur, stunned the golf world by defeating famous English professionals, Harry Vardon and Ted Ray, in a playoff.
    Another surge in the championship's popularity coincided with the amazing career of Georgia amateur Bob Jones, who won the U.S. Open four times (1923, 1926, 1929, 1930). Spectator tickets were sold for the first time in 1922 and a boom in entries caused the USGA to introduce sectional qualifying in 1924.
    In 1933, John Goodman became the fifth and last amateur to win the U.S. Open. The others were Ouimet, Jerome D. Travers (1915), Charles Evans Jr., (1916), and Jones.
    In each era, the world's greatest players have been identified by surviving the rigorous examination provided by the U.S. Open. Ben Hogan's steely determination boosted him to four victories (1948, 1950, 1951, 1953). Arnold Palmer's record comeback win in 1960, when he fired a final round of 65 to come from seven strokes off the lead, cemented his dashing image. Jack Nicklaus' historic assault on the professional record book began when he won the first of his four U.S. Open Championships in 1962, his rookie season as a professional.
    Nicklaus, who also won in 1967, 1972, and 1980, is one of only four golfers to win four U.S. Opens. The others are Willie Anderson (1901, 1903, 1904, 1905), Jones and Hogan.
    In 1954, the U.S. Open course was roped from tee to green for the first time. That year also marked the first national television coverage. Coverage was expanded by ABC Sports in 1977 so that all 18 holes of the final two rounds were broadcast live. In 1982, on the ESPN cable network, the first two rounds were broadcast live for the first time. NBC began televising the U.S. Open in 1995.
    The format of the U.S. Open has changed several times. The USGA extended the championship to 72 holes in 1898, with 36 holes played on each of two days. In 1926, the format was changed to 18 holes played each of two days, then 36 holes on the third day. In 1965, the present format of four 18-hole daily rounds was implemented for the first time.
    In 2002, a two-tee (Nos. 1 and 10) start was used for the first and second rounds. In addition, Bethpage State Park's Black Course in Farmingdale, N.Y., was the first facility owned by the public to host a U.S. Open. International qualifying sites were added in 2005 and the champion at Pinehurst Resort in N.C. was Michael Campbell, who qualified in England.