Grayson Murray, two-time PGA Tour winner, dies at 30

Two-time PGA Tour winner Grayson Murray died Saturday morning at age 30, one day after he withdrew from the Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial.

There were no immediate details on the circumstances of his death, only shock and grief from the PGA Tour and his management team.

“I am at a loss for words,” PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said in a statement. “The PGA Tour is a family, and when you lose a member of your family, you are never the same. We mourn Grayson and pray for comfort for his loved ones.”

Murray’s management company, GSE Worldwide, confirmed the death.

“We will hold off on commenting until we learn further details, but our heart aches for his family, his friends and all who loved him during this very difficult time,” GSE said in a statement.

Jay Green, Murray’s caddie, lamented the loss of his “friend” in a statement to the Golf Channel.

“Grayson was the absolute best. Not only was he an incredible, thoughtful and generous boss, he was an even better friend,” Green wrote.

“He truly would do anything for anyone. He has the best family, and my heart goes out to them. We will all miss him deeply.”

Monahan said he first learned of Murray’s death late Saturday morning and that he spoke with Murray’s parents to offer condolences. They asked that the tournament in Fort Worth, Texas, continue. The tour cited illness when Murray withdrew from Friday’s second round.

Monahan said grief counselors were on-site at the PGA Tour and Korn Ferry Tour event. He also flew to Texas on Saturday.

“To be in the locker room, to see the devastation on the faces of every player that’s coming in, it’s really difficult to see. And really just profound,” Monahan said on the CBS broadcast.

“Grayson was a remarkable player on the PGA Tour, but he was a very courageous man, as well. And I’ve always loved that about him, and I know that the locker room is filled with people that really will take that away when they think about Grayson.”

Several players shared stories of Murray on CBS’ coverage.

“It was a huge shock. My heart sank,” said Webb Simpson, who learned of Murray’s death shortly before teeing off Saturday. He said Murray was the first winner of his junior tournament and that they shared the same swing coach as juniors.

“I just hate it so much,” Simpson said. “I’m miss him. I’m thankful he was in the place with his faith before this morning happened.”

Peter Malnati played with Murray at Colonial. He offered to go on the CBS telecast and immediately broke down trying to talk about him.

“It’s a huge loss for all of us on the PGA Tour,” Malnati said. “As much as we want to beat each other, we’re one big family, and we lost one today. It’s terrible.”

Other players, including Justin Thomas, Luke Donald and Bubba Watson, took to social media to express their condolences.

Murray, who spoke about alcohol and mental health in the past, made a massive turnaround this year and won the Sony Open, hitting wedge to 3 feet for birdie on the final hole to get into a playoff and winning it with a 40-foot putt.

He also won the Barbasol Championship in 2017.

Murray, who was No. 58 in the world ranking, was coming off a tie for 43rd in the PGA Championship last week at Valhalla. He also made the cut in his Masters debut, finishing 51st, and was in the field for next month’s U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2.

Murray, who grew up in North Carolina, was among the most talented juniors in the country. He won the prestigious Junior World Championship in San Diego three straight years and earned the Arnold Palmer Scholarship at Wake Forest.

He wound up going to three colleges, lastly at Arizona State, and won as a 22-year-old PGA Tour rookie at the 2017 Barbasol.

Murray said when he won the Sony Open in January that he had been sober for eight months, was engaged to be married and felt his best golf was ahead of him. He was appointed to the PGA Tour’s 16-member Player Advisory Council the same month.

“My story is not finished. I think it’s just beginning,” Murray said in Hawaii. “I hope I can inspire a lot of people going forward that have their own issues.”

Murray said he used to drink during tournament weeks as a rookie because he knew he had talent and felt he was invincible. He also brought attention to himself through social media, openly criticizing other players and getting into one social media spat with Kevin Na over Na’s reputation as a slow player.

But Murray said he felt like he turned the corner when he sought help — letting others fight for him, is how he explained it this year.

“It took me a long time to get to this point,” Murray said in January. “That was seven years ago, over seven years ago. I’m a different man now. I would not be in this position right now today if I didn’t put that drink down eight months ago.”

Monahan called Murray an inspiration.

“Listen, these are some of the best athletes in the world,” the commissioner said. “They think they’re — you know, and they are, in many respects, invincible. I think one of the things that I think back about Grayson’s openness is — and I speak about courage, he taught us all a lesson on that front, and that’s something I’ll never forget.”

Information from the Associated Press was used in this story.

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