30-Year-Old Pro Golfer Grayson Murray Dies Suddenly Following Undisclosed Illness

by J Pelkey
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Two-time PGA Tour winner Grayson Murray died suddenly on Saturday morning, following a brief illness, the PGA Tour confirmed.

He was only 30 years old.

This news comes after Murray’s withdrawal from the Charles Schwab Challenge in Fort Worth, Texas, just 24 hours earlier. He pulled out during his second round on Friday due to illness.

A two-time PGA Tour winner, Murray was having an outstanding season, highlighted by his victory at this year’s Sony Open. The North Carolina native triumphed in a playoff against multi-time PGA Tour winner and major champion Keegan Bradley and An Byeong-hun to secure the win. This marked his first victory since 2017 when he won the Barbasol Championship.

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At the time of his death, he was ranked 58th in the world.

In a statement released by the PGA Tour on Saturday, Commissioner Jay Monahan expressed profound sorrow over Murray’s sudden death. The press release did not provide details regarding the circumstances of Murray’s passing.

Full statement from the PGA Tour:

Grayson Murray, who won his second PGA TOUR title at this year’s Sony Open in Hawaii, passed away Saturday.

“We were devastated to learn – and are heartbroken to share – that PGA TOUR player Grayson Murray passed away this morning. I am at a loss for words,” PGA TOUR Commissioner Jay Monahan said. “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.

“I reached out to Grayson’s parents to offer our deepest condolences, and during that conversation, they asked that we continue with tournament play,” Commissioner Monahan continued. “They were adamant that Grayson would want us to do so. As difficult as it will be, we want to respect their wishes.”

Grief counselors were made available at the venues for this week’s PGA TOUR and Korn Ferry Tour events. Commissioner Monahan, who traveled from TOUR headquarters in Florida to Fort Worth, Texas, said more information will be shared when it is available.

Murray, 30, was a standout golfer from his youth. He won three consecutive Callaway Junior World Championships (2006-08) and was the top-ranked golfer in his age group. He made his first cut on the Korn Ferry Tour at age 16, becoming the second-youngest player ever to do so. After stints at Wake Forest University, East Carolina University and Arizona State University, he got the break he needed in 2016 when he was given a sponsor exemption into the Korn Ferry Tour event near his hometown of Raleigh, North Carolina. He finished inside the top 10 at that event, the Rex Hospital Open, which qualified him for another start. When he posted another top 10 at the BMW Charity Pro-Am, his professional career took off. He concluded his season with a victory at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship to finish second on the Korn Ferry Tour money list and earn full status on the PGA TOUR for the 2016-17 season. The win came a week before his 23rd birthday.

Murray wasted little time establishing himself on golf’s biggest stage as a rookie. He won the 2017 Barbasol Championship while still just 23 years old. His final-round 68 not only secured a one-shot victory, but also solidified a two-year exemption through the 2019 PGA TOUR season. He finished 66th in the FedExCup and earned nearly $1.5 million.

Grayson struggled for the next few seasons on the PGA TOUR. In 2023, he found his game again on the Korn Ferry Tour; he notched two victories – the Advent Health Championship in Kansas City and the Simmons Bank Open outside of Nashville – to finish fourth on that tour’s points list and earn a spot back onto the PGA TOUR for the following season.

Murray opened the 2024 season with a playoff victory at the Sony Open in Hawaii. He made a clutch up and down on the 72nd hole for a birdie to force a playoff. Then he sank a 40-foot birdie putt on the first extra hole to defeat Byeong Hun An and Keegan Bradley. He reached a career-high 46th in the Official World Golf Ranking after that victory.

NBC News reported:

Murray, 30, won the Sony Open in a playoff earlier this year, ending a six-year winless drought during which he’d struggled both mentally and physically.

Murray, who was profiled in this in-depth piece by Golf Channel in 2017, had been open about his battles with anxiety and depression. He said in January that he sought treatment in the past few years for alcohol abuse but had been sober for several months.

Following his victory at Waialae, Murray spoke optimistically about his future, saying that he had rediscovered his faith and was engaged to be married to Christiana Ritchie, whom he met in 2021.

“I wouldn’t trade anything,” Murray said at the time. “I have a beautiful fiancée. I have beautiful parents. I have beautiful nephews, siblings. Everyone in my life right now who is close to me, who has been through the struggles with me, it’s all a team effort. I think this is just the start of something really special.”

The cause of his death remains unknown at this time.

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