With heartfelt gesture, 5 important words, U.S. Open honors Grayson Murray

Grayson Murray

Grayson Murray last month at the PGA Championship.

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PINEHURST, N.C. — A name and two sentences. Twenty-nine words in all.

On a placard attached to the door of a wooden locker at Pinehurst, where Grayson Murray would have played this week, in the state where he grew up. 

The gesture by the USGA ahead of one of its showcase events, the U.S. Open, was the latest in a series across pro golf for Murray, the 30-year-old pro who died in late May. His parents have said Murray took his own life.

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The Murray family had also encouraged the PGA Tour to continue the Charles Schwab Challenge, where Murray had withdrawn after 34 holes, with a note that included the words: “Please honor Grayson by being kind to one another.” Various tributes soon followed. On the Korn Ferry Tour a day after Murray’s death was announced, Harry Higgs took time in his winner’s speech to remember his fellow pro.

“I just have a message, so forgive me if things get a little deep,” Higgs began. “We lost, yesterday, one of our own. I don’t know if you guys heard the news, but somebody who went through a lot of difficult things, somebody that was open and honest about it. And I thought last night, I didn’t sleep worth a darn. And I’m really good at sleeping. I thought about this moment and how to maybe remember Grayson.

“Everybody that’s here, one, thank you so much for receiving me and congratulating me and cheering me on throughout. But this golf stuff and the result, it’s lovely, sure. But it’s just — it’s just not that meaningful.

“One thing that I kind of thought of last night, especially laying in bed, I would challenge everybody here, and I’m going to do this myself as well, each day, is to say something nice to someone you love. And also make it a point to say something nice to somebody you do not even know. The world is a very difficult place. The world is difficult and only getting more difficult. I’ve been blessed with great parents and a great support system, and I haven’t had, other than some frustration at times, any battles mentally. But Lord knows how many people do and it’s only ever increasing. So everybody here could be a difference. The difference. Brighten up somebody’s day. It could mean the world.

“The challenge — I’ll start. I’m sure I’ll say some great things to people that I love, hopefully here very soon. But the second part of the challenge, say something nice to people that I do not know. I’d like to address each and every one of you guys that are here: Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Knoxville, you guys were warm and gracious hosts. This will mean the world to me as I think back on it, but I will just remember the great people that I met here in Knoxville. So again, from the bottom of my heart, thank you. Let’s all try to put some good out in the world.”

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Four days later, at the Canadian Open, longtime friend Akshay Bhatia wrote on his left wrist, in black marker, “G $,” or G-money. To his Instagram story, before his early Thursday afternoon tee time, he posted a picture of it and wrote: “Let’s ride today G.”

“He’s one of my best buddies out here, grew up together,” Bhatia said after play that day. “I looked up to him for a long time. I just — yeah, I wish he was still here, but I know he’s here watching above everyone. Yeah, it’s just crazy. Like I was driving yesterday — or a couple days ago, going back from dinner back to the hotel, and for whatever reason, I looked to the right, and there was a trash can with G-money on it. Just freaky stuff happens like that where I know he’s with us.

“Yeah, I’m playing for him this week, and every round I play for the next however long. Yeah, he’s just with me all the time, and he meant a lot to me. Just happy and proud to wear Grayson’s name on my wrist.”

More tributes came. At last week’s Memorial Tournament, dozens of players and Tour officials gathered in the club’s Memorial Park to share memories of Murray as a player and a person.

Among the players to do so was world No. 1 Scottie Scheffler, who talked at a podium next to Murray’s golf bag and a photo of him fist-pumping after winning the Sony Open in January.

According to the Associated Press, Scheffler called Murray a “sweet man” and shared a story about losing a practice-round match against Murray in March at the Players Championship.

“The look on his face when I gave him $100 on the ninth green is something I’ll remember for a long time because you couldn’t wipe that smile off his face. Without a doubt, he loved being out here inside the ropes,” Scheffler said.

The USGA’s gesture was revealed Tuesday morning via social media. 

On the post was a picture of the placard attached to the locker. The placard read:

“Grayson Murray. The USGA remembers Grayson and pays tribute to the playing accomplishments that merited his place in the 124th U.S. Open Championship. ‘Be kind to one another.’”

Nick Piastowski

Nick Piastowski

Golf.com Editor

Nick Piastowski is a Senior Editor at Golf.com and Golf Magazine. In his role, he is responsible for editing, writing and developing stories across the golf space. And when he’s not writing about ways to hit the golf ball farther and straighter, the Milwaukee native is probably playing the game, hitting the ball left, right and short, and drinking a cold beer to wash away his score. You can reach out to him about any of these topics — his stories, his game or his beers — at nick.piastowski@golf.com.

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