Monday, May 20, 2013

Ken Venturi played vs. Ben Hogan and Byron Nelson in "The Match"

 Ken Venturi, who passed away last week at the age of 82, was a famous golfer and excellent long-time golf announcer for CBS. The 2013 Golf Hall of Fame inductee was also part of a famous golf match detailed in the book "The Match" by Mark Frost.

"The Match" occurred in 1956 and was developed through a bet by two millionaires named Eddie Lowery and George Coleman. If you have ever seen the movie "The Greatest Game Ever Played" Eddie Lowery was the 10 year old caddy for Francis Ouimet when he won the 1913 U.S. Open as a 20 year old amateur.

Years later, at a celebrity/charity golf event, Lowery begins boasting that his two top amateur golfers Ken Venturi (who went on the win the U.S. Open) and Harvie Ward (an unbelievable talent who also enjoyed partying), can beat any two players in the world. George Coleman then makes a few calls and immediately recruits Byron Nelson and Ben Hogan, two of the greatest players in history, who happen to be at the tournament for the week.

At this point in time, the two upcoming amateurs were at the top of their games, while Nelson and Hogan's careers were winding down. Without giving the details, let's just say "The Match" was unbelievable. It occurred at Cyprus Point in California, was a back and forth battle all day, and all four of them went low.

The book provides an excellent description of the match that occurred that day, while at the same time discusses each player’s story, how they arrived at that point in time, and what they went on to in the future. All four players lived remarkable lives in the world of golf and the match that they played will always be a part of golf history.