Jack Burke Jr. has truly had a Hall of Fame career. He has been a great champion as a player, architect of one of the country’s finest championship golf courses and has championed the purity of the game. For all of his contributions to golf, Burke was selected as the first choice to be elected into the World Golf Hall of Fame via the Veterans Category, which was formed to allow the World Golf Hall of Fame Advisory Board to consider players whose career occurred primarily before 1960.
During his playing career, Burke won 17 titles, most notably the 1956 Masters and PGA Championship when he was named PGA Player of the Year. At the Masters, Burke rallied from a remarkable eight strokes behind to win the green jacket. Ken Venturi, a 24-year-old amateur, led by four shots heading into the final round, but he soared to an 80 on the final day. “There was a 50-mile-an-hour wind. On the fourth hole, a par 3, I hit a driver and a 9-iron.
The pressure that day was to not shoot 100,” said Burke. “I shot 71, which was the low round of the day, and Venturi just couldn’t make it on the back nine and he handed me the trophy. I thank him a lot for that.”