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Remembering Grayson Murray

It's been a few days since the announcement of Grayson Murray's tragic passing at the young age of 30 on Saturday, and I have been struggling to think of a proper way to pay my respects. However, the pen and paper are the choice of many journalists, and this is my opportunity to eulogize a man who left us far before his time.


Grayson Murray had a history with drug and alcohol abuse, and it was something he was extremely open about. Over the last year, he had become sober, and he seemed to be making a turn in his career. He won the Sony Open earlier this year in a playoff over Keegan Bradley and Byeong-Hun An for his second career victory (and first in a full-field event), propelling him to a career-high ranking of 46 in the OWGR. At the time of his death, he had fallen to 58th in the world, but he was still in the midst of his best season on the PGA Tour. 


Of course, there is also the impact of how Murray passed away. On Sunday, it was announced that Murray had died due to suicide, and the news of his manner of death led to a discussion on mental health in the United States. Murray's experience isn't something new, but the fact that a professional athlete, who seemed to be in the prime of his career, ended up taking his own life is something that hasn't happened (and gotten extensive media coverage) since Junior Seau in 2012. Other athletes have committed suicide since Seau, but none have received the attention that Seau received, and part of that is because Seau was a Hall of Famer in the NFL.

In a prepared statement, Murray's parents stated on Sunday that they would like people to "honor Grayson by being kind to one another." If that becomes his legacy, we could ask for nothing else." Murray was certainly a troubled individual, but he was a player who always made time for fans. In fact, Murray's former caddie, Kip Henley, responded to one fan who had a picture with Murray and their son, saying, "I promise he got more joy out of that interaction than you or your kid did. He loved kids."

Murray had a lot of potential, and it appeared he was starting to round into form. He won the Barbasol Championship in 2017, but after that, it seemed like he would be remembered as yet another player who could win but would be undone by his inner demons. However, when Murray became sober last year, his previously known ability began to shine. He had back-to-back top-10 finishes at the John Deere Classic and Barbasol Championship in July for the first time in his career, and it was the first time he had two top-10 finishes in the same season since 2018.


Then, this year, in his first start of the season, Murray broke through and won his first tournament in over six years at the Sony Open. He followed it up with another top-10 finish at the Wells Fargo Championship two weeks ago, and he also made the cut in both of the year's first two majors, finishing 51st at the Masters and tied for 43rd at the PGA Championship.


Then, just one week after finishing tied for 43rd at Valhalla, Murray arrived for the Charles Schwab Challenge in Fort Worth, Texas. Murray shot a two-under 68 in the first round, and after five bogeys through 16 holes on Friday, Murray withdrew while he was still within reach of the cutline. Then, the unthinkable happened.


Of course, Murray did have his fair share of controversies during his career, but those matter little when talking about a man who lost his life in one of the most heartbreaking ways possible. He was a human being, just like the rest of us, just one who had troubles and who ultimately succumbed to his problems.


If there is anything that we can learn from Murray's passing, it is that you never truly know what someone is going through and that we should all be a bit kinder to each other. In a world as divisive as the one we are in today, we can all find something within ourselves and others to celebrate, and maybe we can all get closer together.


Be kind to one another, and check in on your friends and family if they are struggling. You never know who you could help.


Note: If you or a loved one are experiencing a mental health crisis, please call the National Suicide Hotline at 988 or visit their website at 988lifeline.org.



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