The inspiring quote that carried Grayson Murray through his struggles

Stuart Scott Grayson Murray

Grayson Murray (right) can thank Stuart Scott for one of the quotes that has helped him during mental battles.

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In the span of a few hours Sunday night, Grayson Murray’s life changed in a big way. He won the Sony Open, his second career win on the PGA Tour, earning his first invite to the Masters in the process. He also earned an invite to next month’s Pebble Beach Pro-Am and Genesis Invitational, as well as the remaining Signature Events of 2024. But that’s just golf. 

Murray’s life has been changing in a much different way for most of the last year. As he shared in great detail this weekend in Hawaii, Murray battled alcohol addiction, anxiety and depression the last few years and has been sober now for eight months. It hasn’t been as easy as it looked Sunday. 

“There are days where I didn’t want to get out of bed,” Murray said Sunday night after winning in a playoff. ”I just thought I was a failure. I always looked at myself as a failure. I thought I had a lot of talent that was just a waste of talent.”

Murray’s tale of perseverance was one he shared multiple times throughout the weekend, just as he was reaching a pinnacle of the sport once again. When the playoff ended and a microphone was stuck in his face, he was asked what he showed himself Sunday. 

“Just persevere,” he said, “and when you get tired of fighting let someone else fight for you.”

Awhile later, after posing for photos and lifting the trophy, Murray was asked about the meaning of those words. 

“Yeah, that’s kind of a Jimmy Valvano quote. He said, when you get tired of fighting, let someone else fight for you. I don’t know the exact words he said, but that’s kind of where I got it from.”

Murray grew up in Raleigh, North Carolina, home of N.C. State University, where Valvano coached the basketball team for the entirety of the 1980s, leading them to a shocking upset in the 1983 national championship. Valvano is well known for running around aimlessly in celebration all over the court in the immediate moments after that victory, but he is perhaps even more famous for a speech he gave a decade later at the ESPYs. 

“Don’t give up. Don’t ever give up,” Valvano told the crowd at Madison Square Garden in March of 1993. He was sick with cancer and speaking to more than just the sports world. 

“Cancer can take away all my physical abilities,” Valvano concluded that night. “It cannot touch my mind. It cannot touch my heart. And it cannot touch my soul. And those three things are going to carry on forever. I thank you and God bless y’all.”

Those words have become immortalized as a motto for anyone battling the deadly disease. Don’t give up. Don’t ever give up. And Valvano himself has remained synonymous with the ESPYs, as the Jimmy V Award is given annually to members of the sports world who overcome obstacles, which brings us back to Murray. The quote he referenced was not actually a Valvano quote, but rather a quote issued during an acceptance speech of the Jimmy V award. It’s from Stuart Scott, the late SportsCenter host and endlessly popular ESPN personality who gave an equally profound speech during the waning months of his life in 2014 as he continued his own cancer battle.

“So, live,” Scott said in April 2014. “Live. Fight like hell. And when you get too tired to fight then lay down and rest and let somebody else fight for you. That’s also very, very important. I can’t do this ‘don’t give up’ thing all by myself.” 

Scott had support in his family, in his colleagues, in his many fans online. He cited them all that night to a teary-eyed, standing ovation. He spoke about the fight that can take place for doctors and nurses and siblings. With bosses that care and girlfriend that sleep in uncomfortable beds and friends who simply visit and listen. That is one of the tokens that has carried Murray through his own battles. 

“He was obviously battling cancer, something that I can’t fathom,” Murray said Sunday. “I’m sure he had days where he just felt like giving up and he couldn’t go anymore. Maybe his family members were pushing him to kind of just keep going or maybe fighting for him and giving him a little more inspiration. I think that’s why he got more days out of [life than] the doctors probably said he did. I really lean on that quote.”

Murray explained his support system began with his parents and a couple close friends who understood what he looked like at his lowest of lows. Knowing that these fights were not his own, but that he could lean on others to work through them has clearly become the important piece of a healthier state of mind. 

“It was a bad place, but like I said, you have to have courage. You have to have the willingness to keep going. Lo and behold, that’s what I did, and I’m here, and I’m so blessed and I’m thankful.”

For more on Murray’s battle and rise, read James Colgan’s write-up from the weekend.

Sean Zak Editor

Sean Zak is a writer at GOLF Magazine and just published his first book, which follows his travels in Scotland during the most pivotal summer in the game’s history.

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