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Wadkins takes over from Venturi at CBS

CBS on Thursday announced that Lanny Wadkins will take over the full-time analyst role when Ken Venturi retires in June.

The move had been expected since last year, when Wadkins worked six tournaments, including the PGA Championship, for the network.

Wadkins, 52, is a logical choice. He won 21 PGA Tour events, including the 1977 PGA Championship, appeared on eight Ryder Cup teams and always was one of the most outspoken players on the circuit.

"As a major championship winner and standout Ryder Cup player and captain, Lanny Wadkins has the experience and contemporary insight necessary to be an outstanding golf analyst," CBS Sports president Sean McManus said.

Venturi, whose 35 years of lead analysis represent the longest such tenure in the history of sports television, will work 10 tournaments for CBS and retire after the Kemper Open during the first weekend of June.

A former U.S. Open champion, Venturi has brought insightful and often colorful commentary to CBS broadcasts since 1968 at such events as The Masters and the PGA Championship.

Venturi, 70, is best known for his dramatic 1964 U.S. Open win at Congressional, where he overcame heat exhaustion when temperatures soared above 100 degrees on the 36-hole final day.

"That final round was the Open Championship, my sanity, my whole life," he once said.

Influenced by golf greats Ben Hogan and Byron Nelson, Venturi was named PGA Player of the Year and Sports Illustrated's Sportsman of the Year in 1964.

Venturi's playing career began in 1956 but ended prematurely in 1966 due to a severe case of carpal tunnel syndrome.

Just two years later, Venturi completed a remarkable turnaround with his appointment as CBS analyst. He had suffered from a stammering problem as a child.

Venturi's television excellence earned him the Lifetime Achievement in Journlism Award, which CBS presented to him in 1999.

The PGA also has honored him as a "Teaching Legend."

Two years ago, Venturi captained the United States to victory at the President's Cup, which he said was "a great way to cap it all off and wind down a career."

Venturi once said, "I owe everything good in my life to golf."

As Venturi's career comes to an end, Wadkins' broadcasting venture begins. But his move to TV also will cut down on his Senior Tour schedule. He joined the elder circuit in 2000 and won once in two years.

After winning the U.S. Amateur Championship in 1970, Wadkins joined the PGA Tour in 1971. He won his only major title at Pebble Beach in 1977, played on eight Ryder Cup teams and captained the 1995 squad.


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