Going up the 14th fairway, however, he said to Joseph C. Dey Jr., the USGA official who was refereeing the match: "If you won't slap a two-stroke penalty on me, Joe, I'm going to slow down." And he did, cutting his pace in half, from a slow walk to an eerie, slow-motion march. A well-struck five-iron here rolled back into the deep bunker fronting this green, and he took a bogey 5, his final bogey of the tournament.
Jacobs was still faltering behind him, and soon Venturi was at 18. All the way down the fairway the gallery was five and six deep, and it cheered this tired golfer step by step. "It's all downhill, Ken," the people shouted. He again removed his cap, but his face was wrinkled in concentration as he strained to read the scoreboard across the pond and assure himself that he was, at long, long last, a winner. His ball lay in a bunker alongside the green, but even three more shots would keep him safe.
As he neared his ball, a weird distraction erupted close to the green—a bloody fistfight between two tournament marshals over who could stand where (right). Venturi, seemingly blessed with tunnel vision, ignored them. He played a tricky 35-yard explosion to within 10 feet of the hole, then watched as Floyd sank a short putt along much the same line, demonstrating the slight break to the left. Venturi's putt took the same route into the hole, giving him his 278, the second-lowest score in Open history. Jacobs was second at 282 and Palmer, with his last day's 75-74, tied for fifth behind Bob Charles and Billy Casper.
When he saw the ball on that last putt disappear, Venturi let his putter fall to the grass and raised his arms in joy and relief. "I had told myself that I was going to keep control of myself, that I wasn't going to get emotional," he remembers. "Then Ray Floyd came over to shake my hand and he was crying. So I started crying too."
Imagine. Standing out there in all that sunlight and crying in front of 22,000 people.