Amateur great Reid Jack dies

ROBERT Reid Jack, the former Amateur champion and Walker Cup player who seemed to save his best golf for Muirfield, has died in North Berwick. He was 79.

Born in Cumbernauld on 17 January, 1924, Reid Jack, as he was universally known, scaled the heights of amateur golf and rubbed shoulders with the young Jack Nicklaus during the great American’s first visit to Scotland.

The high point of Reid Jack’s career came in 1957 when he won the Amateur Championship at Formby, defeating Sgt H Ridgley of the United States 2&1 in the final. Two years previously he had claimed the Scottish Amateur title by virtue of a 2&1 victory over A C Miller in the final at Muirfield.

The Gullane course was to prove a happy hunting ground for Jack, never more so than in 1959 when he almost pulled off a sensation at the Open. Leading on the final day with ten holes remaining, Jack was eventually caught by Gary Player, who came through for his first success in a major. Jack finished a creditable fifth equal and was the leading amateur.

Two months earlier, Muirfield had staged the Walker Cup, a tournament that saw a 19-year-old Nicklaus make his first appearance in Scotland as an amateur. America won the match convincingly, but Jack took one of only three British points when he defeated Billy Joe Patton in the singles.

The win gave Jack a measure of revenge over Patton, who had beaten him in the Walker Cup two years earlier at Minikahda.

Jack was also a member of the 1958 Eisenhower Trophy team, played nine times for Scotland, and represented Britain in European and Commonwealth events throughout the Fifties.