2 pros confront each other at Mexico Open. But severity depends on who you ask.
Grayson Murray says Kevin Na shouted obscenities at him before Murray confronted Na and threatened to “drop his a**.” Na, meanwhile, says “that’s not exactly how it went down.” And Ricky Barnes says it all reminded him of “the normal NBA fight, where they act like they’re going to hit someone and no one’s going to hit someone.”
Because of a Twitter exchange in January, Murray and Na confronted each other Wednesday on the range at the Mexico Open. That much has been confirmed by all involved. But just how heated things got depends on whom you ask.
Murray himself, on an appearance on The Stripe Show podcast, revealed the encounter. The Mexico Open is the first event he and Na have played together this year, and Murray said that while he was walking to the chipping green at Vidanta Vallarta Golf Course, he heard Na “yelling and cussing at me.”
“So he was cussing at me, saying I should have told him in person, blah, blah, blah, and this was today on the range, and I mean, wow, right, the range is packed and I mean, there must have been 40 guys lined up on the range and I guarantee you every one of them could have heard what he said and the caddies,” Murray said on the podcast. “And I, you know, I went up to him, I went right up to his face and held my ground, and you know, I told him, I said, uh, if I weren’t going to get suspended right now — if I wouldn’t get suspended, I would drop his a** right there on the range because what he said to me was very immature and I know he wouldn’t have said it to me if we were just seeing each other on the road, like outside of the golf course.
“I think it was a very immature thing to say right then and there and four months later, and to do it on the range where he knows it’s his safe spot, he knows that I’m not going to do anything to him and he knows that he’s, you know, he’s provoking me. Even another player standing right beside said hey, Grayson, just keep walking because he’s just provoking you; he’s getting what he wants to get out of you. And you know, I think the old me might have just gone ahead and done it.
“I told a caddie who was standing there who I’m good friends with, one of my old caddies, Mike Hicks — we’re both huge Carolina Hurricanes fans — I told him, if that would have been on ice and on skates, I would have got a 10-minute major and he’d have been out for the season, let’s just put it that way. But it’s golf, and you know what, I’m going to move on, and like they say, I’m living rent free in his head. Because I’ve moved on from it.”
Na, meanwhile, recalled it differently.
In an interview on the grounds in Mexico with Golf Channel’s Todd Lewis, Na confirmed that there was an incident that centered around the earlier Twitter exchange, then told Lewis: “That’s not exactly how it went down.”
“But I’m over it and I’m moving on,” Lewis said Na told him. “Looking forward to having a good week here in beautiful Mexico.”
The feud started over a Murray tweet. In mid-January, when Na was playing the Sony Open, Murray had commented on slow play from Na, writing “Kevin Na taking 3 minutes to putt them. does get old,” to which Na replied: “U missing the cut is getting old!
On Wednesday, over three months later, the two talked face-to-face. On SiriusXM PGA Tour Radio, Barnes said Na’s caddie, Kenny Harms, had filled him in as Na was telling Jon Rahm and Tony Finau about it on the course.
“One of them called the other one out and, like, hey you could have, you know, tagged me or you could have, you know, at least done it to my face kind of thing, like, hey, actually at me on Twitter or Instagram or whatever it is,” Barnes said. “And the other guy, I heard, came back with, you know, a four-letter word and the other guy came back with a four-letter word and I guess it lasted a little longer than, you know, the normal NBA fight, where they act like they’re going to hit someone and no one’s going to hit someone. That was, I guess, the long and short of it. I guess one of the players, or I guess Kenny kind of stepped in, and I think on the way out it was kind of like a, you know, ‘‘F’ you, ‘F’ you, see you later.’ But that was about it.
“I mean, obviously no one pushed each other, no one spit in each other’s face. I think it was a lot of nothing. That’s what I said, oh, it’s just another NBA fight. You know, a couple pushes and … no one hits anyone. I was like, man, I wish I was there just to, ‘Hit him!’”
On Thursday, Murray and Na teed off 11 minutes apart, albeit on opposite nines — Murray started at 2:07 p.m. on the 10th and Na at 2:18 on the 1st. Lewis said both players were on the range again, though there were no words exchanged.
“Called my agent and just said, you won’t believe what happened,” Murray said on the podcast. “And he’s like, I’m proud of you, kind of would have been funny if you’d have punched him, but no, not really. Yeah, it would have not. It would have not been funny.
“And like I said, if I was on skates and on the ice, it would have been a different story.”