Jack Burke Jr.

Jack Burke Jr. (1 Masters, 1 USPGA, 5 Ryder Cup's.)

1923

John Joseph "Jack" Burke Jr. (born January 29, 1923) is an American professional golfer who was most prominent in the 1950s. He first rose to fame with two victories in the 1951 Ryder Cup and was subsequently selected for the 195319551957, and 1959 teams, serving as playing captain in 1957. Burke also served as non-playing captain in the 1973 matches, and as special assistant captain to Hal Sutton in 2004. He won two major titles during his career, both in 1956, the Masters and PGA Championship.[1] 

Born in Fort Worth, Texas, Burke started in golf at age seven. His father, Jack Burke, was the club professional at Houston's River Oaks Country Club and a runner-up at the U.S. Open in 1920.[2][3] The younger Burke graduated from St. Thomas High School in Houston in 1940 and turned professional at age 17, then served four years in the Marines during World War II. After the war, Burke resumed his career in golf after first considering work in the oil fields of Texas. His first job was as a teaching pro in New Jersey, which was followed by a position as an assistant at Winged Foot Golf Club,[4] where he was mentored by Claude Harmon, and later club pro at Metropolis Country Club in White Plains, New York.[2]

Burke won 16 PGA Tour events in his career, which included two majors in 1956.[3] In his Masters victory, Burke came from eight strokes behind in the final round, with a one-under 71 to overtake leader Ken Venturi, then an amateur, who shot 80 (+8).[5][6] Perhaps his most famous match was his nine-hour, 40-hole quarterfinal loss to Cary Middlecoff at the PGA Championship in 1955. The next year he went the distance in the match play format and won.[1][7] Burke won the Vardon Trophy for lowest scoring average in 1952, a season in which he won four straight Tour events. He was selected PGA Player of the Year in 1956.[3]

Burke partnered with Jimmy Demaret to found Champions Golf Club in Houston in 1957. The 36-hole facility hosted a PGA Tour event from 1966 to 1971, today's Shell Houston Open, as well as the 1967 Ryder Cup1969 U.S. Open, and 1993 U.S. Amateur. Burke was the fifth recipient of the PGA Tour Lifetime Achievement Award in 2003, and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2000.[3]

Burke shares his permanent locker at Augusta National Golf Club, home of The Masters in Augusta, Georgia with Tiger Woods. As tradition dictates, both keep their prized green jackets, awarded to the annual winner of the tournament, in a wooden, finished locker with gold name plates on the front, with each year listed for the year they won.

In recent years, Burke has coached several current PGA Tour stars, including Phil Mickelson, in putting.