POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — Three-time PGA Tour winner Bart Bryant was killed Tuesday in a two-vehicle crash along State Route 33 in unincorporated Polk City, according to deputies.
The Polk County Sheriff’s Office said Bryant and his wife were waiting in a white Volkswagen SUV while construction crews, equipped with flags, cones, and signs, stopped traffic in the northbound and southbound directions of SR 33.
While the couple was stopped, authorities said a black 2011 Ford F-150 pickup truck, driven by 21-year-old Mark Farkas of Clermont, was driving southbound at roughly 60 mph when he failed to stop. Deputies said Farkas’ pickup truck slammed into the back of the Volkswagen.
When first responders arrived, they found the 59-year-old Auburndale golfer unresponsive. Authorities said CPR was immediately provided until Bryant arrived to a local hospital where he ultimately died as a result of his injuries.
Bryant’s 49-year-old wife, Donna, was transported to an area hospital with minor injuries. Farkas was not injured.
Bryant earned three title wins after turning 40 – the 2004 Valero Texas Open. The following season, Bryant won the Memorial Tournament and the Tour Championship.
“He was just a great influence here at the club great player and he always willing to give his knowledge to people like me who teach the game and he help me with my own game personally,” said Bryan Moran, head golf professional at Lone Palm Golf Club in Lakeland.
Bryant was a member at Lone Palm.
Authorities are still unsure why Farkas failed to stop for traffic before he crashed. An investigation is ongoing.
“We’re going to miss him and he was just a great influence and we send our best wishes to his family at this time,” said Moran.
Bryant was a New Mexico State alum. The school gave condolences to the two-time all-American on social media. The Valero Texas open said, “We feel grateful to have been just small part of his life & golf career.”
Bryant’s first wife, Cathy died in 2017 from brain cancer. Bryant’s brother, Brad, is also a tour winner.
“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,” PGA TOUR Commissioner Jay Monahan said in an online statement. “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.”
“The Bryant family is grateful for all the prayers and support from the golf community across the country. We know Bart is with Jesus . We will miss him,” the Bryant Family said in a statement.
SR 33 was closed for approximately four hours during the investigation, deputies said.