The 1964 U.S. Open winner and long-time CBS golf analyst has been hospitalized for nearly two months in Palm Springs, according to his former partner Jim Nantz. Venturi, 82, has been suffering from an infection and a subsequent stomach surgery.
Nantz described Venturi’s condition as extremely weak.
“It’s such a shame,” Nantz said. “I kept thinking about how he battled during that final day of the U.S. Open, when it was so hot and people were telling him not to go out there. I kept hoping that there would be the same storyline here, and that he would snap out of it and be well enough to be there. It’s not going to happen. He will be terribly missed.”
Venturi had asked Nantz to be his presenter at the ceremony. Nantz, along with his sons Matt and Tim, now will accept the honor on his behalf.
Nantz said the acceptance speech will be “very spare” in the hope that Venturi can return in 2014 and speak on his own behalf.
“We’re going to tell people that we want Ken to be making this talk,” Nantz said. “We were thinking if he didn’t make it to the Hall of Fame, it would crush him. He would have a hard time recovering. But once he hears he has a chance to come back in ’14 and give that speech, he’ll be OK. God willing, he’ll be there.”