The eldest son of Texas trailblazing club pro Jack Burke, Sr., Jackie Burke, Jr. was born in Fort Worth on January 29, 1923, and started playing golf at the age of seven. The younger Burke graduated from St. Thomas High School in Houston in 1940. While still an amateur he qualified for the 1941 U.S. Open, the first to be played in Texas, He turned professional later in 1941. From 1942 to 1946 he served in the Marine Corps and was stationed at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar where he taught combat skills to Marines headed overseas for World War II.
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 pro at Hollywood Golf Club in Deal, New Jersey, which was followed by a position as an assistant at Winged Foot Golf Club, where he was mentored by Claude Harmon. From early 1948 he was the club professional at Metropolis Country Club in White Plains, New York.
He will always be remembered for his string of four consecutive victories (Texas Open, Houston Open, Baton Rouge Open, and St. Petersburg Open) in 1952. Burke’s earnings for his four wins only amounted to $8,000. At the end of the season, he had pocketed $21,000 and was third on the money list. But his best years were yet to come.
In 1952, he won both the Vardon Trophy with a stroke average of 70.54 and was named Player of the Year. During his playing career, Burke won 17 PGA Tour titles, most notably the 1956 Masters and 1956 PGA Championship, and was named PGA Player of the Year that year.
Burke was on five successive U.S. Ryder Cup teams from 1951 to 1959. He was the playing captain in 1957 and the non-playing captain in 1973. He was inducted into the PGA Hall of Fame in 1976, the Texas Sports Hall of Fame in 1978 and the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2010.
The late Jimmy Demaret was Burke’s life-long friend, confidant and business partner. In 1957, they built the famed Champions Golf Club in Houston, site of the 1967 Ryder Cup matches and the 1969 U.S. Open. When Demaret died in 1983, Burke became the sole owner.
In 2004, Jackie Burke Jr. was awarded the Bob Jones Award for the recognition of distinguished sportsmanship in golf.
- 1952 Vardon Trophy and Player of the Year
- 17 PGA Tour Titles
- 1956 Masters Champion
- 1956 PGA Championship
- Ryder Cup: Played on five Teams 1951-1959, Captain 1957, 1973 and Assistant Captain in 2004 for Hal Sutton
- 2010 Inducted in the World Golf Hall of Fame
Born in Fort Worth, Texas, in 1923, Jack Burke, Jr., started playing golf at the age of seven, learning from the steady hand of his father, noted golf instructor Jack Burke, Sr. The younger Burke, commonly called “Jackie,” served as a caddy at Houston’s River Oaks Country Club, where his father was the head professional. His dad also tutored future PGA players Jimmy Demaret and Jack Grout as well as LPGA star Babe Didrikson Zaharias. Jackie and Demaret, who was Jackie’s childhood babysitter, ultimately combined to win 47 PGA Tournaments and five major championships, including four Masters Tournaments.
A Few Good Men
Jackie graduated from high school in Houston in 1940 and, while still an amateur, qualified for the 1941 U.S. Open played at Colonial Country Club, the first U.S. Open played in Texas (or anywhere in the South). Jackie elected to turn professional later that year, but it was a short-lived venture, as he soon decided to join the Marine Corps during World War II. Staff Sergeant Burke served as a combat trainer at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego, demonstrating survival techniques to Marines heading overseas who may face kamikaze attacks or hand grenade detonations.
After serving four years in the Marines, Jackie returned to the PGA Tour and worked as a golf professional, including a key stint at historic Winged Foot Golf Club in New York under the tutelage of 1948 Masters champion Claude Harmon. In 1952, Jackie claimed four straight PGA Tour victories (winning the Texas Open, Houston Open, Baton Rouge Open and St. Petersburg Open consecutively), two of which came in his home state. His achievement still ranks second in PGA Tour annals behind only Byron Nelson’s 11-victory streak in 1945. Jackie’s winning run was finally halted at the 1952 Masters, where he finished as the runner up to Sam Snead.
Nifty in the Fifties
Jackie won 14 PGA tournaments in the decade of the 1950s and was selected to represent the United States in five straight Ryder Cup teams between 1951 and 1959. In 1956, Jackie claimed two major titles, the Masters and the PGA Championship. In his Masters win, Jackie came back from an eight-shot deficit in the final round. He shares his permanent locker at Augusta National Golf Club with Tiger Woods, where both keep their green jackets. In 2023, Jackie became the first winner of any major to live to be 100 years old.
An Appropriately Named Club
While still playing on the PGA Tour, Jackie co-founded the famed Champions Golf Club in Houston with longtime friend Jimmy Demaret in 1957. Champions served as the site of the 1967 Ryder Cup, 1969 U.S. Open, 1993 U.S. Amateur and 2020 U.S. Women’s Open. It also hosted the Tour Championship five times (1990, 1997, 1999, 2001 and 2003). The club was the site of a pair of “lasts” for Texan Ben Hogan, who as a non-playing captain made his final Ryder Cup appearance in 1967, and four years later played in his last-ever PGA Tour event.
Keepsake: Green Jacket Still Fits at 100!
1956 Masters Champion shows off his green jacket.
Keepsake: Houston Sports Hall of Fame
Jack was inducted into the Houston Sports Hall of Fame in 2019. Other members of his class included Dan Pastorini, George Foreman, and A.J. Foyt.
Deep Dive Interviews
Jack Burke Jr. - Jackie Burke Green Masters Jacket
Jack puts on his 1956 Masters Jacket.
Jack Burke Jr. - Jackie Burke Green Masters Jacket
Jack Burke Jr. - Hall of Fame Jacket and Ring
Demaret and Jack Burke Jr.
Burke Jr. and Gene Sarazen
Jack Burke Jr. poses for a fashion ad
Champions Dinner at the Masters
Jack Burke Jr. Receives the PGA Lifetime Achievement Award, 2003
Jack Burke Jr.'s "8 Ways To 80"
Burke Jr. on the tee
Enjoying the course with friends
Young Jimmy Demaret
Jack Burke Jr. and Jimmy Demaret
Young Jack Burke Jr.
A young Jack Burke Jr. being introduced to the game
The Burke children
A young Marine, Jack Burke Jr.
Jack attends the Curtis Cup with his daughter
Burke swings away
Larry Knobel, Jimmy Demaret, Eddie Roman and Jack Burke Jr.
Young Jack Burke Jr. in the Marines
Ryder Cup Champions
Burke Jr. and Ben Hogan
Jack Burke Jr. Swinging
Burke Jr. swings away as Hogan watches
Captain Jack Burke Jr. celebrates a Ryder Cup victory with his team
A gathering of Masters Champions
Jack Burke Jr. stand with Chi-Chi Rodriguez and Arnold Palmer
Jimmy Demaret and Jack Burke Jr.
On the range
Jack Burke Sr. showing Jack Jr. the fundamentals
1956 Masters Champion Jack Burke Jr.
Jack Burke 1952 Three (of 4) Wins in a Row
Jack Burke Putting at Champions