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Jack Burke Jr.

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Jack Burke Jr.
Burke, circa 1950
Personal information
Full nameJohn Joseph Burke Jr.
Born(1923-01-29)January 29, 1923
Fort Worth, Texas, U.S.
DiedJanuary 19, 2024(2024-01-19) (aged 100)
Houston, Texas, U.S.
Height5 ft 7 in (170 cm)
Weight165 lb (75 kg; 11.8 st)
Sporting nationality United States
Turned professional1941
Former tour(s)PGA Tour
Professional wins19
Number of wins by tour
PGA Tour16
Best results in major championships
(wins: 2)
Masters TournamentWon: 1956
PGA ChampionshipWon: 1956
U.S. OpenT10: 1955
The Open ChampionshipDNP
Achievements and awards
World Golf Hall of Fame2000 (member page)
Vardon Trophy1952
PGA Player of the Year1956
PGA Tour Lifetime
Achievement Award
Bob Jones Award2004

John Joseph Burke Jr. (January 29, 1923 – January 19, 2024) was an American professional golfer who was most prominent in the 1950s. The son of a professional golfer, Jack Burke Sr., he won two major titles, both in 1956, the Masters and PGA Championship, and is a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame.

Burke won 16 PGA Tour events between 1950 and 1963. He won four times in 1950 and five times in 1952, including four in consecutive weeks in February and March. He had not won since 1953 when he won the 1956 Masters, coming from eight strokes behind in the final round to overtake leader Ken Venturi, an amateur, who took 80. Later in 1956 he won the PGA Championship, beating Ted Kroll 3&2 in the final. His last tour win came in 1963, just before his 40th birthday. Burke was on five successive American Ryder Cup teams from 1951 to 1959, serving as playing captain in 1957, when Great Britain won for the first time since 1933, and as the non-playing captain in 1973. He had a successful playing record, winning 7 of his 8 matches, only losing his singles match in 1957.

In 1957, Burke and Jimmy Demaret founded Champions Golf Club in Houston. The club has hosted a number of important events including the 1967 Ryder Cup and the 1969 U.S. Open.

Early life[edit]

Born in Fort Worth, Texas, Burke started playing golf at the age of seven. His father, Jack Burke Sr., was the club professional at Houston's River Oaks Country Club until his sudden death in 1943. He was a runner-up at the U.S. Open in 1920.[1][2] The younger Burke graduated from St. Thomas High School in Houston in 1940. He attended Rice University in 1941.[3] While still an amateur he qualified for the 1941 U.S. Open, the first to be played in Texas, but missed the cut.[4] In 1942 he became the professional at Galveston Country Club.[5] From 1942 to 1946 he served in the U.S. Marine Corps and was stationed at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar where he taught combat skills to Marines headed overseas for World War II.[6]

Golf career[edit]

After the war, Burke resumed his golf career after first considering work in the oil fields of Texas. His first job was as a teaching professional at Hollywood Golf Club in Deal, New Jersey, which was followed by a position as an assistant at Winged Foot Golf Club,[7] where he was mentored by Claude Harmon. From early 1948 he was the club professional at Metropolis Country Club in White Plains, New York.[1]

In January 1949, Burke finished tied for the third place in the Long Beach Open, having led after 3 rounds.[8] In September he won the Metropolitan Open at his home club, finishing six strokes ahead of Gene Sarazen. Burke started 1950 with a third-place finish in the Los Angeles Open.[9] In the following days he was a joint winner in the Bing Crosby Pro-Am, one of four players who finished tied.[10] In February he won his first outright tour event, the Rio Grande Valley Open and had further wins in March and July, finishing fifth in the PGA tour money list.[11][12] He did not win in 1951 but was runner-up five times and again finished fifth in the money list.[13] In February and March 1952 Burke won four successive tournaments in four weeks. Three of these he won by six or more strokes with the other being won in a three-way playoff. He had his fifth win of the season in December. In addition he lost two 18-hole playoffs during the year and finished second in the Masters.[14][15][16] Burke won the Vardon Trophy for the lowest scoring average in 1952, finishing third in the money list.[17]

Burke won a further PGA tour event in 1953 but only finished 19th in the money list.[18] He did not win in 1954 but he finished second in the Vardon Trophy standings and second in the money list, helped by $7,500 won for a runner-up finish in the big money World Championship of Golf. In 1955 he dropped to 15th in the money list. He reach the quarterfinals of 1955 PGA Championship, losing a nine-hour, 40-hole quarterfinal match to Cary Middlecoff.[19]

Burke won two majors in 1956, the Masters and the PGA Championship.[2] In his Masters victory, Burke came from eight strokes behind in the final round to overtake Ken Venturi, then an amateur. After three rounds Venturi led by four strokes from Cary Middlecoff with the rest of the field at least seven shots behind. After 8 holes of the final round Venturi had a six-stroke lead over Middlecoff and Burke. Middlecoff took a double bogey at the 17th hole, his third of the round, and finished in third place. Burke completed the last 10 holes in level par while Venturi had seven bogeys, giving Burke a one-shot victory over Venturi with Middlecoff a further shot behind.[20][21] For the 1956 PGA Championship the format had been changed with 128 players competing in a pure matchplay format, players qualifying through a mixture of exemptions and sectional qualifying. Previously there had been 36 holes of strokeplay followed by matchplay for the leading 64. Burke won 7 matches, defeating Leon Pounders, Bill Collins, Fred Haas, Chandler Harper and Fred Hawkins in 18 holes matches to reach the 36-hole semifinals. In his semifinal against Ed Furgol, Burke was 5-down after 14 holes of the morning round but recovered to win at the 37th hole, to meet Ted Kroll in the final. Kroll was 3-up after 19 holes but Burke made 5 birdies in 6 holes from the 4th hole to go 2-up and eventually won 3&2.[22] He was selected PGA Player of the Year in 1956, finishing 5th in the money list.[2]

After 1956, Burke had less success although he won further PGA Tour events in 1958, 1959, 1961 and 1963 bringing his total to 16 over his career.[23] In 1958, he finished 14th in the tour money list, his best season after 1956.[24]

Burke was in five successive American Ryder Cup teams from 1951 to 1959.[25] He was the playing captain in 1957 and the non-playing captain in 1973.[25] He had a successful playing record, winning his first 7 matches; two matches in 1951, 1953 and 1955, and winning in the foursomes in 1957, before losing to Peter Mills in the singles.[25] Mills won 5 holes in a row from the 6th to the 10th to be 5 up, finished the morning round 5 ahead and eventually won the match 5&3. Great Britain won 6 of the 8 singles and halved another to win the Ryder Cup for the first time since 1933.[26] Burke was in the 1959 Ryder Cup team but had a hand injury and was not selected for any matches.[27]

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, the club hosted the 1967 Ryder Cup, the 1969 U.S. Open, the 1993 U.S. Amateur, and the PGA Tour Championship in 1990, 1997, 1999, 2001, and 2003. 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.[2]

Burke shares his permanent locker at Augusta National Golf Club, home of The Masters, with Tiger Woods. Both kept their green jackets in the locker, awarded to the winners of the tournament. Burke coached several current PGA Tour stars, including Phil Mickelson, in putting.[28][29]

Personal life[edit]

Burke was first married to Ielene Lang in 1952.[30] His second wife was Robin Moran, an amateur golfer. She was runner-up in the 1997 U.S. Women's Amateur, played in the 1998 Curtis Cup and was the captain of the American 2016 Curtis Cup team. She was inducted into the Texas Golf Hall of Fame in 2016. They ran the Champions Golf Club together.[31][32]

Burke became a centenarian on January 29, 2023, and also became the first known major winner to turn 100.[33]


Burke died on January 19, 2024, 10 days before what would have been his 101st birthday.[34] At the time of his death in 2024, Burke was the oldest living major golf champion.[35]

Professional wins (19)[edit]

PGA Tour wins (16)[edit]

Major championships (2)
Other PGA Tour (14)
No. Date Tournament Winning score Margin of
1 Jan 15, 1950 Bing Crosby Pro-Am −2 (75-67-72=214) Shared title with United States Dave Douglas,
United States Smiley Quick and United States Sam Snead
2 Feb 19, 1950 Rio Grande Valley Open −20 (66-67-66-65=264) 2 strokes United States Skip Alexander
3 Mar 5, 1950 St. Petersburg Open −12 (67-67-69-69=272) 1 stroke United States Chick Harbert
4 Jul 30, 1950 Sioux City Open −20 (65-68-65-70=268) 3 strokes United States Skip Alexander
5 Feb 17, 1952 Texas Open −24 (67-65-64-64=260) 6 strokes United States Doug Ford
6 Feb 24, 1952 Houston Open −11 (69-67-69-72=277) 6 strokes United States Frank Stranahan (a)
7 Mar 3, 1952 Baton Rouge Open −7 (68-70-72-71=281) Playoff United States Tommy Bolt, United States Bill Nary
8 Mar 9, 1952 St. Petersburg Open (2) −22 (66-69-65-66=266) 8 strokes United States Al Besselink
9 Dec 14, 1952 Miami Open −7 (69-66-69-69=273) Playoff United States Dick Mayer
10 Jun 21, 1953 Inverness Invitational −12 (68-64-69-71=272) 2 strokes United States Fred Haas
11 Apr 8, 1956 Masters Tournament +1 (72-71-75-71=289) 1 stroke United States Ken Venturi (a)
12 Jul 24, 1956 PGA Championship 3 and 2 United States Ted Kroll
13 Jul 13, 1958 Insurance City Open Invitational −16 (63-67-69-69=268) 3 strokes United States Dow Finsterwald, United States Art Wall Jr.
14 Apr 20, 1959 Houston Classic (2) −11 (69-66-72-70=277) Playoff United States Julius Boros
15 Jul 4, 1961 Buick Open Invitational −4 (71-71-72-70=284) Playoff United States Billy Casper, United States Johnny Pott
16 Jan 27, 1963 Lucky International Open −8 (70-69-70-67=276) 3 strokes United States Don January


PGA Tour playoff record (4–4)

No. Year Tournament Opponent(s) Result
1 1952 Los Angeles Open United States Tommy Bolt, United States Dutch Harrison Bolt won 18-hole playoff;
Bolt: −2 (69),
Burke: E (71),
Harrison: +3 (74)
2 1952 Baton Rouge Open United States Tommy Bolt, United States Bill Nary Won with birdie on second extra hole
Bolt eliminated by par on first hole after 18-hole playoff;
Burke: −2 (70),
Bolt: −2 (70),
Nary: −2 (70)
3 1952 Kansas City Open United States Cary Middlecoff Lost 18-hole playoff;
Middlecoff: −6 (66),
Burke: E (72)
4 1952 Miami Open United States Dick Mayer Won with birdie on fifth extra hole
5 1955 Rubber City Open United States Jackson Bradley, United States Doug Ford,
United States Henry Ransom
Ransom won with birdie on first extra hole
6 1958 Eastern Open Invitational United States Bob Rosburg, United States Art Wall Jr. Wall won with birdie on first extra hole
7 1959 Houston Classic United States Julius Boros Won 18-hole playoff;
Burke: −8 (64),
Boros: −3 (69)
8 1961 Buick Open Invitational United States Billy Casper, United States Johnny Pott Won 18-hole playoff;
Burke: −1 (71),
Casper: +2 (74),
Pott: +2 (74)


Other wins (3)[edit]

Note: This list may be incomplete.

Major championships[edit]

Wins (2)[edit]

Year Championship 54 holes Winning score Margin Runner-up
1956 Masters Tournament 8 shot deficit +1 (72-71-75-71=289) 1 stroke United States Ken Venturi
1956 PGA Championship n/a 3 & 2 United States Ted Kroll

Results timeline[edit]

Tournament 1941 1942 1943 1944 1945 1946 1947 1948 1949
Masters Tournament NT NT NT
PGA Championship NT R64
Tournament 1950 1951 1952 1953 1954 1955 1956 1957 1958 1959
Masters Tournament WD 11 2 8 T6 T13 1 T7 CUT T34
U.S. Open CUT T41 T14 T15 T10 CUT WD
PGA Championship QF R32 R64 QF 1 R64 4 T17
Tournament 1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969
Masters Tournament T11 T7 T39 CUT CUT CUT T44 T53 CUT T24
U.S. Open CUT T21 CUT
PGA Championship T29 T52 T17 T34 T44 T8 T66 T42 T69
Tournament 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974
Masters Tournament CUT CUT
U.S. Open
PGA Championship T45 CUT 67 T56

Note: Burke never played in The Open Championship.

  Top 10
  Did not play

CUT = missed the halfway cut
WD = withdrew
R64, R32, R16, QF, SF = Round in which player lost in PGA Championship match play
"T" indicates a tie for a place.



Tournament Wins 2nd 3rd Top-5 Top-10 Top-25 Events Cuts made
Masters Tournament 1 1 0 2 6 10 22 14
U.S. Open 0 0 0 0 1 4 12 6
The Open Championship 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
PGA Championship 1 0 0 4 5 7 22 21
Totals 2 1 0 6 12 21 56 41
  • Most consecutive cuts made – 14 (1951 Masters – 1956 Masters)
  • Longest streak of top-10s – 3 (1955 U.S. Open – 1956 Masters)


U.S. national team appearances[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Sport: Texas Grass Fire". Time. March 13, 1950. Archived from the original on June 15, 2009. Retrieved January 3, 2013.
  2. ^ a b c d "Member bio: Jack Burke Jr". World Golf Hall of Fame. Retrieved December 20, 2013.
  3. ^ Montgomery, Philip (Fall 2002). "Par for the course" (PDF). Sallyport. pp. 26–29.
  4. ^ "U.S. Open scores". The Spokesman-Review. Associated Press. June 7, 1941. p. 9.
  5. ^ "Burke instructs marines in golf". The Long Beach Sun. January 27, 1943. p. 11.
  6. ^ Mickey, Lisa D. (November 11, 2017). "Veterans Day Has Special Meaning for Jack Burke Jr". United States Golf Association. Retrieved August 4, 2019.
  7. ^ Hauser, Melanie. "A Champion of Golf" (PDF). The Memorial Tournament magazine. Archived from the original (PDF) on July 17, 2011. Retrieved April 10, 2010.
  8. ^ "Demaret and Hogan Tie At 272". Daytona Beach Morning Journal. Daytona Beach, Florida. January 25, 1949. p. 5.
  9. ^ "Snead and Ben Hogan tie at 280 in Los Angeles Open Golf Tournament". The Spokesman-Review. January 11, 1950. p. 12.
  10. ^ "Four Deadlock At End of Crosby Golf". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Associated Press. January 16, 1950. p. 15.
  11. ^ "Burke Wins With a 264". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Associated Press. February 20, 1950. p. 18.
  12. ^ "Snead Winnings Reach $35,758.83". The Spokesman-Review. December 13, 1950. p. 20.
  13. ^ "Mangrum Grabs Double Crown". The Spokesman-Review. December 23, 1951. p. Sports3.
  14. ^ "Bolt Shoots 69 to Win Los Angeles Open Playoff". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Associated Press. January 9, 1952. p. 18.
  15. ^ "Middlecoff Wins Playoff". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Associated Press. August 19, 1952. p. 15.
  16. ^ "Snead's 286 Wins Masters Golf Title". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Associated Press. April 7, 1952. p. 20.
  17. ^ "Boros Jumps From Nowhere to Top By Collecting $37,032 on Golf Trail". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Associated Press. December 18, 1952. p. 22.
  18. ^ "Worsham Wins Professional Golf's '53 Dollar Derby". The Spokesman-Review. December 27, 1953. p. Sports2.
  19. ^ "Middlecoff's Great Rally Beats Burke in PGA". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Associated Press. July 25, 1955. p. 19.
  20. ^ "Jack Burke Surprise Winner of Masters Golf". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Associated Press. April 9, 1956. p. 18. Retrieved January 3, 2013.
  21. ^ Wind, Herbert Warren (April 16, 1956). "And Then—Jackie Burke Took Charge". Sports Illustrated. p. 28. Retrieved March 29, 2016.
  22. ^ "Burkes's Blazing Putter Wins PGA, 3 and 2". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Associated Press. July 25, 1956. p. 15. Retrieved January 3, 2013.
  23. ^ a b c "Jack Burke, Jr". PGA Tour. Retrieved January 20, 2024.
  24. ^ "Club History - Metropolis Country Club". www.metropoliscc.org.
  25. ^ a b c d "2012 Ryder Cup Media Guide" (PDF). Retrieved October 16, 2022.
  26. ^ "Ryder Cup regained after 24 years". The Times. October 7, 1957. p. 12.
  27. ^ "Judgment error gives U.S. lead". Dayton Daily News. November 7, 1959. p. 6 – via Newspapers.com.
  28. ^ Murray, Ewan (April 2, 2017). "The 94-year-old Masters champion, who shares Tiger's locker, on why he won't go back". The Guardian.
  29. ^ Michaux, Scott (April 4, 2011). "Burke still has plenty to teach". www.augusta.com.
  30. ^ "Pro Jackie Burke Weds Golf Fan". Tyler Morning Telegraph. October 9, 1952. p. 10.
  31. ^ "Robin Burke". Texas Golf Hall of Fame.
  32. ^ "FamilySearch.org". FamilySearch. Retrieved July 1, 2023.
  33. ^ Yocam, Guy (January 19, 2024). "A former Masters champ is turning 100 and throwing an all-star bash to celebrate". Golf Digest. Retrieved May 17, 2023.
  34. ^ Schupak, Adam (January 19, 2024). "Jack Burke Jr., the oldest living member of the World Golf Hall of Fame, has died at age 100". Golfweek. Retrieved January 19, 2024.
  35. ^ "Jack Burke Jr., who was the oldest living Masters champion, dies at age 100". NPR. Associated Press. January 19, 2024.
  36. ^ "Bolt wins rich Los Angeles Open". The Tribune (San Luis Obispo). January 9, 1952. p. 4 – via Newspapers.com.
  37. ^ "Met Open Championship Presented by Callaway History". Metropolitan Golf Association. March 8, 2012. Retrieved January 20, 2024.
  38. ^ "Burke wins Yomiuri golf". Honolulu Star-Bulletin. October 20, 1958. p. 19 – via Newspapers.com.
  39. ^ "Texas State Open History & Past Champions | Northern Texas PGA". Retrieved January 20, 2024.
  40. ^ a b Brenner, Morgan G. (2009). The Majors of Golf: Complete Results of the Open, the U.S. Open, the PGA Championship and the Masters, 1860-2008. Vol. 1. McFarland. ISBN 978-0-7864-3360-5.
  41. ^ McAuley, Ed (August 28, 1952). "Westerner wallops Doug Ford 9 & 7; British champ tops Julius Boros 2 up". The Montreal Gazette. p. 16.
  42. ^ McAuley, Ed (June 8, 1953). "U.S. pros conquer Canadians 27–18 in international golf". The Montreal Gazette. p. 23.
  43. ^ "Canadians bow 17–10 to U.S. pro golfers". The Montreal Gazette. January 20, 1955. p. 19.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]