John Joseph "Jack" Burke, Jr. (born January 29, 1923) is an American professional golfer who was most prominent in the 1950’s. He first rose to fame with two lopsided victories in the 1951 Ryder Cup matches. He was subsequently selected for the 1953, 1955, 1957, and 1959 teams, serving as playing captain in 1957. He also served as non-playing captain in the 1973 matches, and as special assistant captain to Hal Sutton in 2004.
Burke was born in Fort Worth, Texas. His father, Jack Burke, Sr., the pro at Houston's River Oaks Country Club, started him in golf at age seven. He turned professional in 1940. Burke served for four years with the Marines during World War II. After the war, he 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, where he was mentored by Claude Harmon, and later club pro at Metropolis Country Club in White Plains, New York.
Burke won 16 PGA Tour events in his career, including the 1956 Masters and PGA Championship. In his Masters victory, Burke came from eight strokes behind in the final round, with a 71 in heavy winds, to overtake amateur leader Ken Venturi, who shot 80. Perhaps his most famous match was his nine-hour, 40-hole quarterfinal loss to Cary Middlecoff in the 1955 PGA Championship. 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 Tour Player of the Year in 1956.
After retiring from competition, Burke, along with Jimmy Demaret, was the main force in creating and managing Houston's Champions Golf Club, a 36-hole facility which has been the site of many PGA Tour events, as well as the 1967 Ryder Cup, 1969 U.S. Open and 1993 U.S. Amateur. He became the fifth recipient of the PGA Tour Lifetime Achievement Award in 2003, and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2000.
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, at which he is a renowned expert.
- 1950 (4) Bing Crosby Pro-Am (tie with Dave Douglas, Smiley Quick, Sam Snead), Rio Grande Valley Open, St. Petersburg Open, Sioux City Open
- 1952 (5) Texas Open, Houston Open, Baton Rouge Open, St. Petersburg Open, Miami Open
- 1953 (1) Inverness Invitational
- 1956 (2) Masters Tournament, PGA Championship
- 1958 (1) Insurance City Open Invitational
- 1959 (1) Houston Classic
- 1961 (1) Buick Open Invitational
- 1963 (1) Lucky International Open
Major championships are shown in bold.
this list may be incomplete
- 1949 Metropolitan Open
- 1967 Texas State Open
- 1956 Masters Tournament
- 1956 PGA Championship