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Hall of Fame golfer Jack Burke dies at 100

Photo courtesy of PGA Tour

Jack Burke Jr., who came from eight strokes back in the final round to win the 1956 Masters, died on Friday at the age of 100, the World Golf Hall of Fame confirmed.

“We were saddened this morning to learn of the passing of Texas golf legend and World Golf Hall of Fame member Jack Burke Jr., at the age of 100,” the Hall of Fame said in a tribute posted on X (formerly Twitter).

“He was a Masters champion, a PGA champion, and the founder of Champions Golf Club in Houston.

“Far more than that, he was a champion of golf, a man who poured his heart and soul into welcoming new people into the game. His humor, his love for his home state and country, and his generous spirit will be missed by all who knew him,” the Hall of Fame added in its statement, which did not specify a cause of death.

Burke, who had been the oldest living Masters champion, was one of the best golfers of the 1950s.

He won 16 times on the PGA Tour in the era of Ben Hogan, Sam Snead, Cary Middlecoff and Lloyd Mangrum.

In 1950, Burke’s second full-time season, he won four events, and in 1952, he won four tournaments in consecutive weeks.

He won both his major titles in 1956, the first at Augusta National, where Ken Venturi, then an amateur, took a four-shot lead over Middlecoff into the final round with the rest of the field at least seven adrift.

Venturi was six strokes in front of Middlecoff and Burke through eight holes.

Middlecoff faded with his third double-bogey of the day at 17, Venturi carded an 80 while Burke defied the brutal, windy weather to take the win by one stroke.

His one-under 71 was one of just two sub-par rounds on the day.

Three months later, Burke won the PGA Championship in the last edition in which it was a match-play event.

He won seven matches and defeated Ted Kroll 3 & 2 in the 36-hole final.

Burke also enjoyed an outstanding Ryder Cup career. He played on five straight US teams from 1951 through 1959, serving as playing captain in 1957.

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