1964 U.S. Open: Ordeal Ends In Win

The 1964 U.S. Open was the 64th time the tournament was played. The winner had to survive not only challenges from the field, but from the brutal weather — and doctors who advised him to quit.

Winner: Ken Venturi, 278

Where it was played: Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Maryland

Tournament dates: June 18-20, 1964

Leader after first round: Arnold Palmer, 68

Leader after second round: Tommy Jacobs, 136

Leader after third round: Tommy Jacobs, 206

What Happened at the 1964 U.S. Open

One year later, for the 1965 U.S. Open, the USGA changed the schedule of play for its marquee event: The tournament went to four days, 18 holes per day. The 1964 U.S. Open was the last played under the previous schedule: three days, 18 holes each of the first two days, 36 holes on the third and final day.

The format in 1964 is especially relevant because of the circumstance the eventual winner, Ken Venturi, found himself in over those final 36 holes.

The leader entering the third round was Tommy Jacobs, who shot 64 — tying the U.S. Open record of that time — in the second round. Jacobs carded a third-round 70 and held a 2-stroke lead over Venturi going into the final round.

It was a very hot week in the Washington, D.C., suburbs at Congressional Country Club, and following his morning 18 — in which he fired a 66 — Venturi was showing signs of dehydration. He nearly collapsed on the 15th hole of the morning round, and walked and played slowly after that.

But Venturi did play, followed by doctors. He tried to keep cool in the near 100F-degree temperatures by using cold compresses and ice packs. And as he staggered (sometimes literally) around the course that afternoon, Venturi kept making shots. He wound up shooting 70 to Jacobs' 76, claiming a four-stroke victory. When his final putt dropped into the cup, Venturi raised his arms and said, "My God, I've won the Open."

Venturi's win was certainly a surprise. He hadn't won on the PGA Tour in four years, and hadn't even qualified for the U.S. Open the previous three years. It was also something of a vindication for Venturi, who at the 1956 Masters, as an amateur, took a 4-stroke lead into the final round only to shoot 80 and lose.

But at the 1964 U.S. Open, against the odds — and against doctor's advice — Venturi achieved victory in a major championship.

Raymond Floyd played the U.S. Open for the first time this year, finishing tied for 14th. He was Venturi's playing partner on the final day, over the last 36 holes.

1964 U.S. Open Final Scores

Ken Venturi 72-70-66-70—278
Tommy Jacobs 72-64-70-76—282
Bob Charles 72-72-71-68—283
Billy Casper 71-74-69-71—285
Gay Brewer 76-69-73-68—286
Arnold Palmer 68-69-75-74—286
Bill Collins 70-71-74-72—287
Dow Finsterwald 73-72-71-72—288
Johnny Pott 71-73-73-72—289
Bob Rosburg 73-73-70-73—289
George Bayer 75-73-72-71—291
Don January 75-73-74-69—291
Gene Littler 73-71-74-73—291
Bruce Crampton 72-71-75-74—292
Terry Dill 73-73-75-71—292
Raymond Floyd 73-70-72-77—292
Ed Furgol 72-74-72-74—292
Al Geiberger 74-70-75-73—292
Bobby Nichols 72-72-76-72—292
Tony Lema 71-72-75-75—293
Lionel Hebert 73-74-72-75—294
Bill Ogden 73-73-73-75—294
Ted Makalena 73-74-75-73—295
Jack Nicklaus 72-73-77-73—295
Gary Player 75-74-72-74—295
Dudley Wysong 74-73-75-73—295
Charlie Sifford 72-70-77-77—296
Jacky Cupit 75-71-75-76—297
Don Fairfield 75-72-74-76—297
a-John Farquhar 74-73-77-73—297
Labron Harris Jr. 72-76-74-75—297
Tom Nieporte 73-73-76-76—298
Doug Sanders 74-74-76-74—298
Monte Bradley 75-74-73-77—299
a-Bill Campbell 71-73-79-76—299
Mason Rudolph 76-73-74-76—299
Paul Scodeller 72-76-72-79—299
Sam Snead 77-72-75-75—299
George Archer 75-74-76-75—300
Larry Beck 77-73-75-75—300
Paul Harney 75-73-79-73—300
Bob Panasiuk 72-78-78-73—301
Davis Love Jr. 77-72-71-82—302
David Boies 73-72-83-75—303
Bill Martindale 72-76-80-75—303
Dan Sikes 77-73-76-77—303
Rex Baxter 76-73-76-80—305
Skee Riegel 80-70-82-74—306
Ron Howell 78-72-78-79—307
a-Jerry Greenbaum 75-74-80-79—308
Chick Harbert 76-74-80-78—308
Jimmy Clark 73-77-78-81—309
Babe Hiskey 78-72-78-83—311
William Gabal 76-73-83-80—312

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