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Pro golfer Bart Bryant killed in vehicle accident in Florida

Bart Bryant, who once beat Tiger Woods to win the biggest pay cheque 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 organisation and countless communities. Bart will be dearly missed.”

Bryant's older brother, Brad, also won on the PGA Tour. They both qualified for the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines.

Bryant's career was marked by humility and perseverance, and he was awarded the Ben Hogan Award by the Golf Writers Association of America in 2006 for staying active in golf despite physical setbacks.

He had rotator cuff surgery in 1992 that sent him bouncing around mini-tours and trips to PGA Tour qualifying school to keep his card. He also had surgery on both elbows, and he won his first tournament at the 2004 Texas Open.

Nothing could top the 2005 season. He held off Fred Couples to win the Memorial, saving par from a creek on the 18th hole at Muirfield Village. And at the Tour Championship at East Lake to end the year, he opened with a 62 and went wire-to-wire, winning by six shots over Woods.