HP Byron Nelson interview: Lance Barrow

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May 18, 2013

HP Byron Nelson transcripts

Q. (No microphone.)

It's a sad day for‑‑ Jim Nantz was so close to him, I was close to Kenny, our whole family at CBS Sports Golf. It's a hard one.

Q. (No microphone.)

I got a text from someone that there was a rumor going around‑‑ we were still in the air, and we didn't want to say anything because it was just a rumor. We didn't have a chance to‑‑ a little different than when I found out about Pat Summerall. With Pat, I was out at Hilton Head and I had two phone calls, one from a CBS number that I saw, 975, whatever it was, and another one from 972 and it was 5:30 in the afternoon and I thought I better see what this call‑‑ because I'm not a big carry‑around‑my‑cell‑phone guy, and it was someone from CBS News saying, "We hear that Pat Summerall just passed away" and I called the other number and it was Valerie Bell, Pat's assistant, that said Pat had passed away.

And I called and talked to Valerie and I talked to Sherry, but somebody texted me during the show yesterday and said that Ken Venturi just passed away.

That's how we heard. Jim Nantz, I don't know if you can talk to Jim and see if he wants this out or not, but Jim Nantz was on a plane and he got on the Wi‑Fi and saw that it was an email from Tim Venturi and found out that he had passed away. That's how Jim found out.

Q. (No microphone.)

You know, you look back, it took a long time for Frank Chirkinian to get in the Hall of Fame years ago, same thing with Ken Venturi. Not only what he did as a golfer but as a contributor to the game of golf, giving back to the‑‑ I mean there were a lot of things you could touch base on with Ken Venturi and the sad part‑‑ the happy part is that they both knew that they were going into the Hall of Fame. The sad part, Frank passed away before he ever went in, and Kenny couldn't be there because he was in the hospital. That's the sad thing to me.

They both knew, so that makes me happy, but they couldn't accept it and get the pats on the back and the glory that they should have gotten for doing what they did for the game of golf in so many ways.

Q. How are you holding up?

You know, Pat Summerall, like I said so many times, was like a father to me. The reason I get to sit in the chair that I get to sit in, there was a lot of people but Pat was a big force to me getting to go sit there and then sitting, you know, in the chair, you know, for many years in the 18th tower with Ken Venturi and later being part of the crew and later being, you know, a producer of the show and being there the day he said goodbye at TPC Avenel. It's sad. Barry Horn today did a very good job in the "Dallas Morning News" About my relationship with Pat and I think about Kenny. I'm not ashamed to say, it brought tears to my eyes when I read the story, because you get to‑‑ you hate to say it but when you get to a certain age you start facing people that are very close to you, any day now you can get that phone call.

But I look at it, Pat and Ken lived into their 80s, you think about all the things that they did.

Q. Packed a lot in there.

They packed a lot in and if I could‑‑ if the Good Lord would say to me I'll give you that with basically good health until that time, I think I would roll the dice and say that's pretty good, because we should all be able to live life the way they did, 100 miles an hour, and that might even be insulting them by saying 100 miles an hour, because they lived it full out and they had a great time and they did a lot of great things for a lot of people.

They did great things for this game. That's the best part about it. That's what I‑‑ you know, I celebrate his life, Ken Venturi's life just like I did with Pat every day, because, man, what a great, great thing that they‑‑ great life they got to live. I think about heaven now, right now, I'm not sure how the Lord is dealing with Frank Chirkinian, because he's probably telling him what to do, like he did everyone else, and now he has Pat Summerall and Ken Venturi and Bob up there with him, and it's going to be something in heaven right now.

Q. (No microphone.)

Well, and also I mean, we sit here at a tournament, the HP Byron Nelson Championship, and there will be no way that anyone will win 11 in a row. No one will come close to that record, and Ken Venturi nearly forty years as an analyst in television sports much less any kind of job, especially with the way things are these days with the changes going on all the time. There will be no one, ever, in sports television again that will have the run that Ken Venturi had and will not even come close to it as an analyst in any sport, much less in golf.

Like I said about Pat Summerall, everybody felt like they knew Pat, and everyone felt like they knew Ken Venturi, because they were on TV all the time.

The only other person I have been around that people feel that way about is John Madden, even if they never met Pat or Ken, they felt like they were buddies of theirs, and when they would see them somewhere they always acted like they were buddies, and they treated people respectfully. They gave back. A lot of people don't realize the things that Ken Venturi gave back to the game and gave back to people, and he was like the great man that this tournament is named after, Byron Nelson, he tried to do everything that Byron Nelson taught him from never charging a dime for a golf lesson, from an amateur to a pro, because Byron said, "Don't do that." And he also said, when you go to a golf course, you walk into the pro shop ‑‑ and this was a great thing that Byron told him, "Go in and ask who holds the course record, and if it's the pro, don't break it, because that pro is there every day, and you're only there for a few days."
That's what Ken Venturi was like.

Q. I guess it's early but typically wouldn't you have the Dallas/Ft. Worth tournament‑‑ do you shift production there, but for a memorial service‑‑

There hasn't been anything. His wife Kathleen is meeting with people now about the funeral arrangements but our crew and such will all, like normal, will break down here Sunday night and head to Ft. Worth at Colonial. Obviously myself and Jim Nantz and the announcers and people like that will go to the memorial service, whatever day that will be.

I left and came to Dallas/Ft. Worth when Pat passed away and missed the weekend at Hilton Head. I don't think it will be something that will interfere with Saturday and Sunday at Colonial, just like it won't interfere with this tournament today and tomorrow.

But we don't have any word on when the funeral is going to be and when it's going to happen. It's unbelievable. It's unbelievable. To think about two legends‑‑ forget about CBS Sports, just two legends in the industry passing away within a month and one day. The other thing that's really, really unbelievable is that Jim Nantz who was so close to Ken Venturi, you know, Jim Nantz's dad had Alzheimer's, and Jim Nantz was fortunate to have President Bush No. 41 to be a close mentor and Ken Venturi to be a close mentor, and Ken Venturi died on Jim Nantz's birthday, yesterday. I didn't realize I was going to get into this long thing with you guys, I just came in to say hello!

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