Korn Ferry TourLeaderboardWatch + ListenNewsPoints ListSchedulePlayersStatsTicketsShopPGA TOURPGA TOUR ChampionsKorn Ferry TourPGA TOUR AmericasLPGA TOURDP World TourPGA TOUR University

Fear management sparks Grayson Murray to better PGA TOUR status

4 Min Read


Fear management sparks Grayson Murray to better PGA TOUR status

Two-time 2023 Korn Ferry Tour winner clinches spot in top 30 on Points List

    Written by Kevin Prise @PGATOURKevin

    COLLEGE GROVE, Tenn. – Carter Jenkins remembers the prodigious length of a high school-aged Grayson Murray.

    The two were teammates at Leesville Road High School in Raleigh, North Carolina, and Jenkins was a promising prospect but without otherworldly distance off the tee. Murray, however, was a different story.

    “Growing up as a kid, you were always in awe of how far he hit the golf ball because at 16 years old, he could drive it 300 yards. It was impressive to watch,” said Jenkins. “I'm 15 or 14 at the time and I'm flying it 260 years with a hook, just trying to keep up with him. That was always impressive. But the most impressive thing about his game is his consistency off the tee, his consistency with his irons and his control of the golf ball. He just does it to a tee every time.”

    Murray admits he has relied on that talent at times throughout his golf career, as his sometimes “1 out of 10” mental game has often held him back. An older, wiser Murray looks to be syncing both areas, which could lead to special things at the next level.

    Murray has won twice on the Korn Ferry Tour this season in just 12 starts – this week’s Simmons Bank Open for the Snedeker Foundation, along with the AdventHealth Championship earlier this year – cementing his spot in the top 30 on the season-long Korn Ferry Tour Points List, which will improve his PGA TOUR status for the 2024 season.

    Grayson Murray wins the Simmons Bank Open

    Murray holds past champion status on TOUR as winner of the 2017 Barbasol Championship, but he has alternated between the TOUR and Korn Ferry Tour this season, knowing he would unlikely earn enough TOUR starts to make a proper run at finishing in the top 125 category to earn fully exempt status next season. So he has relished the challenge of the Korn Ferry Tour, on which he earned his first TOUR card in 2016 – a season highlighted by a victory at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship.

    Murray found success at the Simmons Bank Open through a rejuvenated mental game, powered by work with fear management instructor Tony Blauer during the two-week break between the first two Korn Ferry Tour Finals events. The session was encouraged by Murray’s longtime golf instructor Ted Kiegiel back home in Raleigh, North Carolina – with whom he has been working since age 9 – and his dad.

    Murray “hopped on a plane” from Florida to San Diego for a two-night trip, which he described as “exhausting,” but it paid immediate dividends to the tune of the Simmons Bank Open’s signature guitar trophy in Music City. His caddie Kip Henley said it was the calmest he had seen him on the golf course during a tournament week – exemplified after a double bogey on the par-4 16th hole Saturday, after which he simply laid his putter aside his golf bag and carried on to finish par-birdie and stay within a stroke of the lead into Sunday’s final round. Then he carded seven birdies in his final 12 holes at The Grove to finish three clear of the field.

    Murray had a custom ball marker made into the Simmons Bank Open, with S-O-P and W-I-N stamped onto it. Those acronyms stood for “succeed on purpose” and “what’s important now.” He said he kept looking at the ball marker throughout the week which kept him from looking ahead. Rather than let any particular shot or outcome fester, he stayed in the moment.

    “We’re lucky we play a game for a living and it’s not the end of the world,” Murray said Sunday. “Everyone always talks about perspective, but it really is perspective … It’s crazy how fear is one of those things that happens to all of us; we wouldn’t be human if we didn’t experience fear. Being out here on the golf course trying to win tournaments, there are a lot of things going through your mind, and whether you want to call it fear or not, I think us men don’t like to use that word, but there’s a lot of times where, ‘Oh, there’s water left, you don’t want to hit it left’ … that’s a fear. It was a great session with (Blauer).”

    Fear not. Murray is headed back to the PGA TOUR.

    Kevin Prise is an associate editor for the PGA TOUR. He is on a lifelong quest to break 80 on a course that exceeds 6,000 yards and to see the Buffalo Bills win a Super Bowl. Follow Kevin Prise on Twitter.

    Korn Ferry Tour
    Privacy PolicyTerms of UseAccessibility StatementDo Not Sell or Share My Personal InformationCookie ChoicesSitemap

    Copyright © 2024 PGA TOUR, Inc. All rights reserved.

    PGA TOUR, PGA TOUR Champions, and the Swinging Golfer design are registered trademarks. The Korn Ferry trademark is also a registered trademark, and is used in the Korn Ferry Tour logo with permission.