Sign up for our daily newsletter

Latest news, reviews, analysis and opinion, plus unmissable deals for bunkered subscriptions, events, and our commercial partners.

On Saturday evening, a few hours after Grayson Murray’s death was announced, my phone pinged. It was a message from a follower on social media.

“Just why do I find this news about Grayson Murray, someone I never knew and would never have known, quite so upsetting?” they wrote. “It’s just horrible.”

I’ve been asking myself the same question.

I never met Grayson. Never asked him a question. Never was, to the best of my knowledge, in his company. I wrote about him several times, mostly in relation to the various controversies he found himself at the centre of. From Twitter spats with fellow players, to his scooter accident in Bermuda, Murray made headlines and I reported them. That was the extent of our interactions.

And yet, despite not knowing him, he’s not been far from my thoughts these last 48 hours.

Please understand, this obviously isn’t my tragedy, nor am I in any way attempting to make it about me. I’m not. I’m just trying to make sense of why something that’s so far removed from both me and from you feels so close, echoes so loudly, hits so hard. Why it hurts.

Maybe it’s because it’s golf and that’s my lane, our passion. Perhaps. But I don’t think that’s all it is.

When you cover professional athletes, when you watch them week in and week out and witness their extraordinary talent up close, you can almost convince yourself that they’re somehow immortal, that they’re protected from the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune that thump and thud into the rest of us.

It’s dumb but your eyes see them hitting 6-irons 230 yards and your mind is tricked into regarding them as more, because seeing is believing, right?

You observe from afar the trappings of their success – the money, the fame, the trophies, the cars, the houses, the jets, the glamour, the privilege of playing a game for a living – and you assume they are happy, fulfilled, complete, impervious to pain and invulnerable to sickness.

You know perfectly well that this is not how it works. That illness is indiscriminate. That success is no measure of happiness. That talent is no shortcut to contentment. You get that. But you don’t necessarily acknowledge it until it’s too late.

This weekend is the most real and relatable that men’s golf has felt in a long time. Grief is a common language that pays scant regard for where you play and how you play.

That’s why it’s entirely appropriate to feel sad at Murray’s passing and the tragic circumstances of it. To feel compassion for his friends and family. To feel devastation that he believed he had nowhere left to turn.

He hit a little white ball around the fanciest fields better than most, and was handsomely rewarded for it. But he was still as susceptible to existential crises and pain as the rest of us. He was 30 years old with the world at his feet but the walls kept closing in.

And perhaps that’s where the shock comes from. That if it can happen to him, it can happen to anyone.

After winning on the Korn Ferry Tour on Sunday, Harry Higgs honoured Murray in his speech. “Say something nice to someone you love,” he said, “and make a point to say something nice to someone you do not even know.

“Everybody here could be a difference, the difference, brighten up somebody’s day. It could mean the world.”

He’s absolutely right. For all our artificial differences, our diverse priorities, our disparate opinions, the truth is that we’re more alike than we realise.

I hope Grayson Murray is at peace. I just wish he could have found it another way.

Michael McEwan is the 2023 PPA Scotland ‘Columnist of the Year’ and ‘Writer of the Year’

author headshot

Michael McEwan is the Deputy Editor of bunkered and has been part of the team since 2004. In that time, he has interviewed almost every major figure within the sport, from Jack Nicklaus, to Rory McIlroy, to Donald Trump. The host of the multi award-winning bunkered Podcast and a member of Balfron Golfing Society, Michael is the author of three books and is the 2023 PPA Scotland 'Writer of the Year' and 'Columnist of the Year'. Dislikes white belts, yellow balls and iron headcovers. Likes being drawn out of the media ballot to play Augusta National.

Deputy Editor

More Reads

Image Turnberry green

The bunkered Golf Course Guide - Scotland

Now, with bunkered, you can discover the golf courses Scotland has to offer. Trust us, you will not be disappointed.

Find Courses