POLK CITY, Fla. (AP) — Professional golfer Bart Bryant, who once beat Tiger Woods by six shots to collect the biggest paycheck of his career, was killed when a truck slammed into his SUV while he was stopped in a line of vehicles on a central Florida road for a construction crew, authorities said.
Bryant, 59, a three-time winner on the PGA Tour, was unresponsive when emergency responders in Polk City found him Tuesday afternoon. He was taken to a hospital where he died. His wife, Donna, 49, also was in the vehicle and was taken to a hospital with minor injuries, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office said in an emailed statement.
“The PGA Tour is saddened by the tragic passing of Bart Bryant and our hearts go out to his family and friends during this difficult time,” Commissioner Jay Monahan said. “The Bryants have been a part of the PGA Tour family for over four decades and we are grateful for the impact and legacy he made on our organization and countless communities. Bart will be dearly missed.”
According to the sheriff’s office, the Bryants’ SUV was stopped at the construction site near an intersection. A truck traveling in the same direction failed to see their stopped SUV and slammed into it, the sheriff’s office said.
It said an investigation was ongoing. Bryant lived in nearby Auburndale.
“He was a champion on and off the course and will be dearly missed by many,” the PGA Tour Champions tweeted.
Bryant had considered giving up golf because of a shoulder injury in the early 1990s but stayed the course and notched three victories after the age of 40. Two of those came in 1995, when he finished in the top 10 on the money list and cracked the top 25 in the world ranking.
He followed a victory at the Memorial Tournament with the stunning win at Atlanta’s East Lake Golf Club in his Tour Championship debut. He started the week with a course-record 62 and held at least a share of the lead after every rounds.
Bryant ended up winning by six strokes over Woods, who won two majors that year. It remains the furthest back Woods has ever finished in a tournament in which he was the runner-up.
Bryant is survived by his second wife, daughters Kristen and Michelle and his stepchildren. His first wife, Cathy, preceded him in death. She died in 2017 of brain cancer, 11 months after her diagnosis.
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