" Ray Floyd, who was playing with me, was a terrific help. I holed a very tough birdie putt at 13—a critical shot—and I guarantee Ray must have jumped six feet in the air. I could just feel his encouragement. I parred 15, 16 and 17. I can't describe how I felt on 18. I hardly knew where I was. After I hit my tee shot, I asked Bill Hoelle, a friend of mine, 'How do I stand?' He said, 'All you gotta do is stay on your feet. You're four strokes ahead.' It was like a miracle or something. And then I hit that last putt, and it broke into the hole. I dropped my putter, and the only words that came out were 'My God, I've won the Open.' "
There followed the wild confusion and congratulations that always attend such peaks in sports drama, and it was not until late that evening that Ken called home and talked to his son Matthew. Now, it is not in the nature of small boys to understand lean years or hard times, and some months before Matthew had been pleading for a swimming pool in the backyard. "You can have it if I win the Open," Ken told him, taking what was surely a safe way out. When Matthew finally got on the phone that emotion-filled night last June he asked his father: "Is this the Open you meant?"
The pool is in now, and landscaped, a luxury that will consume a sizable part of the Open champion's winning purse of $17,000. And the fact that it is there says a great deal about the new Venturi and his belief in himself. He is confident of success at last. He went on from the Open to win two other tournaments and more than $60,000 this year, and he feels he is only just beginning to play the kind of golf he is capable of. He laughs when he quotes his friend and staunchest backer, Ed Lowery, who said at a victory dinner in San Francisco: "Ken has won the U.S. Open—four years behind schedule."