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Inside Rory McIlroy and Grayson Murray’s Contentious Relationship Over the Years

Rory McIlroy and Grayson Murray Rocky Relationship
Rory McIlroy and Grayson Murray Getty Images (2)

Rory McIlroy mourned alongside the rest of the golf world after the tragic death of Grayson Murray — but the two certainly didn’t always see eye-to-eye, according to various reports.

Last year, McIlroy, 35, and Murray — who died by suicide at the age of 30 on Saturday, May 25 — took part in a meeting between PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan and approximately 100 Tour golfers to discuss a secret deal made between the PGA and LIV Golf, the controversial organization backed by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund. 

After the June 2023 closed-door meeting, Golf Channel’s Brentley Romine spoke to an anonymous golfer in the room who said Murray was “going off on tangents, outbursts” and calling for Monahan to resign. “You lied to our face!,” Murray reportedly screamed at the Tour Commissioner about the PGA-LIV deal, according to Romine. 

According to the anonymous player, McIlroy immediately lashed out at Murray, telling him, “Just play better, Grayson!” In short, the merger would make it much more difficult for lower-ranked players, like Murray, to find playing time and earn money. 

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McIlroy’s comment was said to have received “a bad response from the crowd.”

Rory McIlroy and Grayson Murray Rocky Relationship 2
Rory McIlroy Andrew Redington/Getty Images

But the strongest response came from Murray himself, who, according to two sources inside the meeting, told McIlroy to “f–k off.”

Despite the tension, golfer Wesley Bryan, who was present at the meeting, said things between McIlroy and Murray were “cordial.”

Two days after the meeting, Murray spoke to ESPN and doubled-down on his stance.

“I think there are some things going on internally that we don’t know about, and I don’t think they’ll ever come out, which just seems fishy,” he told ESPN’s Mark Schlabach. “It’s all happening so quickly without the players’ knowledge. It’s something so important, like the biggest thing that’s ever happened to our tour, and we find out the morning it comes out.”

Murray also confirmed that emotions ran high in the meeting, but said “some people agree with me, definitely.”

In November 2023, McIlroy stepped down from the PGA Tour Policy Board citing personal and professional commitments.

McIlory recently expressed some regret about being such a vocal force for the PGA in the aftermath of the deal. “In hindsight — hindsight’s always 20/20 — but in hindsight, I wish I hadn’t have gotten as deeply involved as I have,” he said at a Wednesday, May 29 press conference. 

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At the same press conference, prior to this weekend’s RBC Canadian Open, McIlroy acknowledged the death of Murray

Rory McIlroy and Grayson Murray Rocky Relationship 3
Grayson Murray Michael Reaves/Getty Images

“It’s incredibly sad, first and foremost, and I think we’re all thinking of Grayson’s family and hoping that they’re doing OK and getting through this incredibly tough period,” McIlroy told reporters.

McIlroy said Murray’s death helps put “everything in perspective,” which is something he’s been working on personally. 

“I’ve had to realize that at times and I’m still sort of working my way through that in terms of not making golf the be-all and end-all for me,” he said. “I think it slaps you in the face when something like that happens last week.”

McIlroy continued, “It’s incredibly sad and everyone has to remember out here that we go out and we do things that a lot of people can’t, but at the end of the day we’re still human beings. We’re vulnerable and we’re fragile, and I think if there’s a lesson for anyone out there it’s just to be kinder to each other.”

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