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Grayson Murray’s PGA Tour peers pay tribute following tragic death

Grayson Murray died on Saturday at the age of 30.

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At the end of a sad, surreal day at the Charles Schwab Challenge, PGA Tour players mourned the sudden death of Grayson Murray, their 30-year-old peer who withdrew from the event the day before.

On Friday morning Murray tied it with Peter Malnati in an 8:06 break. The third, Adam Schenk, withdrew after the first round due to a back injury, so they played to two draws. But Murray withdrew following a bogey on the 16th hole, citing illness; Malnati finished alone. Saturday morning came the shocking news in the form of a message from PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan: Murray is gone.

After Saturday’s round Malnati joined CBS radio, where he sat with Amanda Balionis.

“This is going to be really hard,” Malnati said, with tears in her eyes. “I didn’t know Grayson that well, but I spent two days with him. And it’s funny, we work hard here on, you know, a bad break here or a good break there. We compete here and you want to beat each other — then something like this happens and you realize that we’re all human.

“It’s a really difficult day because when you look at Grayson, you see in him someone who has been seen to be struggling on the outside and has been open about it. And I see him getting his life back to a place where he feels good about things.”

Malnati recalled a story from Wake Forest golf coach Jerry Haas. College wasn’t right for Murray — “he’ll be the first to admit that college wasn’t right for him,” Malnati said — but he left an impression on the semester he spent playing for the Demon Deacons.

“The week of the Wyndham Championship I was talking to Jerry and he told me, he said, ‘I had Bill [Haas] come here. I had Webb [Simpson]. But the most talented player I ever saw set foot on this campus and I had to keep him for one semester was Grayson Murray.’

Malnati continued to cry.

“Just knowing that he’s not going to do that anymore, I think it’s a big loss for all of us on the PGA Tour. It is a great loss for our fans. At a time like this you realize that as much as we want to beat each other, as much as we want to compete, we are really one big family. And we lost one today, and that’s bad.”

In the hours following his death, tributes to the player have helped paint a picture of a man who was open about his struggles with addiction, depression and anxiety but who made strides toward a promising future on and off the course — and who seemed eager to help. others face any battles he has ever faced.

Webb Simpson heard the news about 10 minutes before his tee time on Saturday; speaking to reporters following his round. He and Murray had shared a teacher who had reached out to Simpson with the news.

“We have a long history,” Simpson said. “I think I first met Grayson at my club when Grayson was about eight, maybe nine.” Murray was also the first ever winner of the Webb Simpson Challenge Junior Tournament. They had played together on Tour as recently as the Wells Fargo Championship two weeks ago, where they were on the same team for the first two rounds.

“I know his mom was with him during the Wells Fargo Championship and I think they hung out together, and I loved those two days we spent together,” Simpson said. “So I’m very grateful to have had a good time with him before today’s bad news.”

Simpson added that he dined with Murray at Pebble Beach in January and enjoyed hearing Murray explore his faith.

“There definitely seemed to be another light on him, in a good way, the last few months when I would see him,” Simpson said.

Justin Rose was on their team at Wells Fargo; She tweeted that she will remember their time together as a reminder that “you never know what challenges people face in their lives and how they can internalize things.”

“RIP Grayson,” he concluded. “And love and strength to your family and friends.”

PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan was on site at Colonial Country Club on Saturday afternoon. He first learned of Murray’s death shortly after 11 a.m. ET, he said, though he was not in a position to provide details until the family spoke publicly. But he spoke of Murray’s years-old objections to the Tour, which he suspected did not help him enough in his early struggles.

“You know, when Grayson said that, I called him right away,” Monahan said. “In the last few years I spent a lot of time with him because I wanted to understand what we can do, with his consideration, from his point of view, to help everyone here.”

Monahan added that he is proud of the progress the Tour has made in supporting its players. But he described himself as “heartbroken” by the loss of Murray.

“Listen, these are some of the best athletes in the world. They think they are – and are, in many ways – invincible. I think one of the things I miss about Grayson’s openness is that I speak boldly; he taught us a whole lesson on this subject, and that is something I will never forget.”

Monahan said the Tour plans to come together as a team on Saturday to put together a program to honor Murray going forward and support his peers.

“It’s not just tomorrow. Probably in the next weeks, probably the next months,” he said. “There are a lot of people who are going to be struggling for a long time after being off the PGA TOUR, and there is an obviously devastated family that we need to support.”

At the urging of Murray’s parents, who spoke to Tour officials on Saturday, the tournament was played. “They were determined that Grayson would want us to do that,” Monahan said. “However difficult it will be, we want to respect their wishes.”

World No. 1 Scottie Scheffler finished second at 10 under par and said the news hadn’t sunk in yet.

“I’m thinking about his family and I’m praying hard for all of them,” he said. “I can’t imagine what a difficult time this is. I’ve gotten to know Grayson better over the last six months or so, and, yes, really, there’s no way to put into words how sad and painful it is, but I’m thinking of his family.”

Will Zalatoris was one of those who took to social media.

“My boy has lived a hard life,” she wrote on Instagram. “His problems are over and I know he is pain free. Hate to lose someone no matter what people say was always big for me. RIP brother.”

“Senseless to hear about Grayson,” Justin Thomas wrote on Twitter. “Guy has faced many problems to get to where he is. I am very sad for his family and people close to him. My deepest condolences and sympathies.”

Bubba Watson wrote: “Life is so fragile. “I was just hugging you at the Masters, telling you how proud I am of you. Thank you for knowing.”

Luke Donald expressed his disbelief over the death of someone he saw last week. Ernie Els wrote that Murray was “genuine and honest to the core.”

Smylie Kaufman wrote that she was “saddened” and that Murray “was my friend through some of the lowest points of my career and I will always cherish that.” Akshay Bhatia wrote that Murray was “a great friend who always supported me as I did him.” And former Korn Ferry Tour champion Patrick Sullivan sent a message Murray sent him offering encouragement after Sullivan expressed his struggles with anxiety and depression.

“I’m dealing with it myself,” Murray wrote. “Stay connected man, you’re not alone.”

Dylan Dethier

Dylan Dethier Editor

Dylan Dethier is a senior writer for GOLF Magazine/ The young man originally from Williamstown, Mass. joined GOLF in 2017 after two years struggling on the small tour. Dethier is a graduate of Williams College, where he majored in English, and is the author of 18 in Americadescribing the year he spent at age 18 living in his car and playing golf in every state.

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