Jack Burke Jr., oldest living Masters champion, dies at 100

Jack Burke, Jr.

Jack Burke Jr., the oldest living Masters champion and a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame, died Friday in Houston, according to The Associated Press. He was 100.

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Steve Timms, the CEO and president of the Houston Golf Association, confirmed news of Burke’s death to the AP on Friday after speaking to the longtime golfer’s wife.

Burke won 17 titles during his career, including the 1956 Masters and PGA Championship, according to the World Golf Hall of Fame. He was the first person to be inducted into the Hall of Fame in the veterans category in 2000, which was aimed at honoring golfers whose professional careers happened mostly before 1960.

Officials with the Hall of Fame mourned Burke in a series of social media posts on Friday, calling him “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,” they said.

His professional career began when he was 17 in 1941. He saw massive success in the 1950s, winning four events now considered PGA Tour events in 1950 and five more in 1952 before claiming victory in the first televised Masters in 1956, according to the Golf Channel. His final Tour title came in 1963, according to the sports station.

Burke and his longtime friend, fellow golfer Jimmy Demaret, partnered in 1957 to build The Champions Golf Club in their hometown of Houston, according to the Hall of Fame. It was one of the country’s first golf-only clubs and went on to host the Ryder Cup in 1967, the U.S. Open in 1969 and the Tour Championship for three years, Golf Week and the AP reported.

Burke, who was born in Fort Worth, Texas on Jan. 29, 1923, died just days before his 101st birthday.

He is survived by his wife, Robin, and five children, according to the Hall of Fame.

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