Grayson Murray pulled off a miracle comeback victory in an emotional three-way playoff at the 2024 Sony Open in Hawaii on Sunday. After years battling injuries, alcoholism and mental health issues, Murray drained a 40-foot birdie putt on the first playoff hole to capture his second career PGA Tour title.
Adversity to Redemption: Murray’s Incredible Journey
Murray’s path to victory in Honolulu was anything but easy. After a promising start to his career with a win at the 2017 Barbasol Championship, Murray suffered a series of injuries including labrum surgery on both hips that derailed his game and sent his world ranking plummeting. Off the course, he struggled with alcohol abuse and mental health issues that led to suspensions by the PGA Tour.
At his lowest points, Murray considered walking away from golf entirely. But with the support of his sponsors, family and friends, he committed himself to getting healthy and turning his career around. He gave up drinking completely in April 2023 and slowly rebuilt his world ranking through sponsor exemptions and Korn Ferry starts.
The Sony Open marked Murray’s first start of 2024 after earning a spot through his Past Champion status. Few expected him to contend, but Murray quickly served noticed with an opening 65 to put himself in early contention.
Sunday Drama Sets Up Playoff
Murray was solid but unspectacular for the first 12 holes of the final round, carding two birdies against one bogey to sit at 15-under and two shots back of the lead. But he kicked it into high gear from there, making birdie putts from 15 and 25 feet on 13 and 14 to quickly close the gap.
Up ahead, overnight leader Russell Henley was still at 18-under and appeared to be cruising to victory. But Henley made back-to-back bogeys on 15 and 16 to drop back to 16-under and open the door for a crowded leaderboard that featured 10 players within two shots of the lead.
Murray stepped up with clutch birdie putts on 16 and 17 to grab a share of the lead at 17-under. Meanwhile Keegan Bradley birdied 15, 16 and 18 to also finish at 17-under and force a three-man playoff alongside Murray and Henley.
Murray’s Miracle Delivers Hawaii Title
The three competitors returned to the par-5 18th hole to begin the sudden-death playoff. Henley’s tournament chances essentially ended when he made bogey. But Murray drained a 40-foot bomb for birdie on the first extra hole, letting out a primal scream in celebration. With Bradley unable to match birdie, Murray captured the second PGA Tour title that at times he thought he might never achieve.
Sony Open Final Leaderboard:
1. Grayson Murray -17 (F)
T2. Keegan Bradley -17 (F)
T2. Russell Henley -17 (F)
Murray earned 500 FedEx Cup points and the $1,458,000 winner’s share of the $7.9 million purse with the victory. The win also punches Murray’s ticket to the 2024 Masters, PGA Championship, as well as the 2024 Sentry Tournament of Champions and THE PLAYERS Championship.
What Win Means for Murray’s Comeback
Murray’s unlikely comeback story in Hawaii adds another chapter in his redemption. It serves as inspiration to countless golfers and athletes battling injuries, mental health struggles and addiction.
After his victory, an emotional Murray fought back years reflecting on his multi-year journey:
“I would not be in this position right now today if I didn’t put that drink down eight months ago. It’s just surreal to come from where I was at to now where I’m at.”
Murray can now look forward to a return trip to Augusta National in April alongside the world’s best at the 2024 Masters. With a two-year exemption earned from the win, Murray also secures playing status through at least the 2025-2026 season as he seeks to rebuild his career one step at a time.
While the future remains uncertain, the present is sweet for Murray. His Hawaiian victory marks one of golf’s great redemption stories, serving as a reminder that even in your darkest moments, hope remains as long as you refuse to give up.
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