PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Jeff Maggert withdrew from The Players Championship, telling tournament officials that his brother died in a small plane crash in Colorado en route to his son’s college graduation.
The Gilpin County (Colo.) Sheriff’s office said one man died and a 23-year-old passenger was injured Thursday afternoon when the single-engine plane crashed into a snowy mountain in Black Hawk, about 40 miles west of Denver.
Maggert told the PGA Tour that his older brother, Barry Maggert, died in the crash.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with Jeff and his family,” PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said.
Barry Maggert was on his way to Boulder for his son’s graduation from the University of Colorado. He had 23-year-old twin sons, Leen and Bryant. Gilpin County officials were waiting for the family arrive to release the name of the passenger.
Jeff Maggert played Thursday afternoon and opened with an even-par 72. He learned of the plane crash when he finished his round and was scrambling for information before withdrawing late Thursday and flying to Colorado early Friday.
Todd Hamilton, in the threesome with Maggert in the opening round, was not aware Maggert’s brother had been killed until he arrived at the golf course Friday morning.
“I saw he had withdrawn,” Hamilton said. “I thought it was kind of odd because he played quite well yesterday, even par in the afternoon. And then I walked out to go to the range, and one of the caddies mentioned to my caddie and myself what had happened. It’s terrible.”
Maggert is a three-time winner on the PGA Tour who has played on three Ryder Cup teams. He lives in Houston and has five children, including 3-year-old twin girls.
Barry Maggert, an engineer from Carbondale, Colo., made an unsuccessful candidacy last month as a town trustee.
Alpine Rescue Team spokesman Bill Barwick said about 50 people, some on snowmobiles, helped the rescue effort in mountainous terrain at 10,400 feet. He said the sheriff’s office was waiting for daylight and better weather Friday to bring down the body.
The 23-year-old passenger was taken to a Denver hospital. His condition was unknown. FAA spokesman Mike Fergus in Seattle said one of the people on board called 911 from a cell phone after the crash.