Jack Burke Jr., who was the oldest living Masters champion and staged the greatest comeback ever at Augusta National for one of his two majors, died Friday in Houston. He was 100.
Burke, a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame, also won the PGA Championship and was equally skilled as a teacher. He built the fabled Champions Golf Club in Houston and delivered lessons along with a dose of homespun wisdom.
“Why did golf give us 34 rules when God only gave us 10 commandments?” he said over dinner at his home in Houston in 2000, one of endless examples of a sharp wit always grounded in common sense.
His death was confirmed by Steve Timms, the CEO and president of the Houston Golf Association who spoke with Burke’s wife, Robin.
Burke won two majors in 1956 when he was the PGA Player of the Year, none more famous than his staggering rally at the Masters when he started the final round eight shots behind Ken Venturi. In conditions so blustery only two players broke par, Burke posted a 1-under 71 for a one-shot victory over Venturi, who shot 80.
Later that year, Burke defeated Ted Kroll 3 and 2 to win the PGA Championship.