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Golf world reacts with sorrow and disbelief at death of young star Grayson Murray

May 25, 2024
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Grayson Murray hits a tee shot during the first round of the 2024 Charles Schwab Challenge.

Tim Heitman

Peter Malnati admits that he didn’t know fellow PGA Tour pro Grayson Murray all that well, but in the aftermath of Murray’s death on Saturday at age 30, Malnati went on the CBS broadcast of the Charles Schwab Championship, and at times, couldn’t speak through his sobs.

The emotions came from the loss of a young pro in what is a small community of professional golfers, and it likely was made more wrenching for Malnati because he had played the first two rounds this week at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth with Murray, who walked off the course on Friday with two holes remaining in a round in which he was five over par. The reason given by the tour was “illness.” 

On Saturday, news of Murray’s death began to circulate as players were preparing to tee off at Colonial, and the PGA Tour confirmed it in an email written by PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan.

Between pauses to cry, Malnati, 36, said, “It’s so funny. We get so worked up out there … about a bad break here, a good break there. … We’re so competitive out here. We all want to beat each other. And then something like this happens. You realize we’re all just humans. It’s just a really hard day.

“You look at Grayson,” Malnati continued, “and you see someone who was visibly and outwardly struggling in the past, and he’s been open about it. And then you see him get his life back to a place where it’s feeling good about things … it’s so sad.”

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Kevin C. Cox

Murray spoke in the past about his struggles with depression, anxiety and alcoholism, but he’d seemingly overcome those difficulties when he won two events on the Korn Ferry Tour last year, followed by his playoff triumph in the Sony Open in Hawaii in January.

After his round at Colonial on Saturday, Webb Simpson recalled first meeting Murray when he was a young junior player who would eventually win the inaugural edition of a junior event that Simpson sponsors. They stayed connected and shared a coach, Ted Kiegiel, and recently at the Wells Fargo Championship, Simpson said he told Murray that he would soon be among the top 50 in the world with the way he was playing.

“I think Grayson would put his hand up first and say it's not easy,” said Simpson, 38. “But Grayson put great people around him. His fiance, Christiana, seems like a great woman. … I think he has really explored his faith over the years, and it seemed like the last six months to eight months he had really started committing his life to Christ and trying to honor Christ with his life. It definitely seemed like there was more of a lightness to him, in a good way, over these past few months when I would see him.”

Monahan flew to Fort Worth on Saturday and spent time in the locker room talking to players. “To see the devastation on the faces of every player that came in was very difficult to see,” Monahan said in an interview with CBS.

The commissioner recounted speaking on the phone Saturday morning to Murray’s family, and Murray’s mother said she had been with her son two weeks ago watching him play well in tying for 10th at Wells Fargo.

“His mom talked about being at Quail Holllow the entire week … being proud of the way he played,” Monahan said. “For them to share that week together was a memory she will take forward and cherish for the rest of her life. Obviously, the family is devastated.”

In an Instagram post, Will Zalatoris said, “My guy lived a tough life. His struggles are over and I know he’s not in pain anymore. Hate to lose somebody who regardless of what people said was always so great to me. RIP brother.”

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