Grayson Murray and the massive pitfalls of social media for pros

Boredom Spieth
Boredom Spieth
Boredom Spieth
Contributor

Grayson Murray earned his PGA Tour card thanks to his strong play on the Web.com Tour last year. But his notoriety now has little to do with his work inside the ropes. 

Arriving in the big leagues, Murray was best known for having played several events without a front tooth and posing for his official PGA Tour card-getting photo sans tooth…and in a t-shirt.

It’s thanks to the dark magic of Twitter, however, that Murray has been a fixture in golf news headlines during the course of his first season on the PGA Tour.

Murray initially courted controversy by calling out fellow pro Bryson DeChambeau for withdrawing from a tournament he’d accepted a sponsor exemption to enter.

In the course of a stellar, wide-ranging profile, Golf Channel’s Ryan Lavner spoke with Murray about the ups and downs of the social media service.

He admits in the wake of the DeChambeau tweet and his suggestion that most pros are too boring on social media, he enjoyed the publicity and attention. His agent tried to change Murray’s Twitter password after the golfer’s battle with European Tour players when he said it was easier to accumulate OWGR points on that tour (it isn’t).

“I hate the fact you are in high school. You are pretty,” Murray tweeted at a high school student in May, eventually deleting his account after a blow up with his caddie.

“Twitter was fun and games when I first started,” Murray told Lavner, “but it became this thing where people are taking me too seriously. If I defend myself, then it looks like I’ve done something wrong. If I stay quiet, all they’re going to do is lie and make up their own stories. So it’s a tough situation for me.”

Clearly, most pros take the “stay quiet” route, only using Twitter sporadically and mostly as a platform to push their sponsors. Murray acknowledges this: “A lot of guys have to be politically correct or a sponsor will drop you, and it’s a shame.”

It’s not so much a matter of political correctness but there being little return on being honest and engaging. Sure fans would love it, but is it worth it for Rory McIlroy or Jordan Spieth to tweet more unfiltered takes? Would it make them more money? Probably not. Would it cause them more headaches. Certainly.

Such is the quagmire PGA Tour pros face. Grayson Murray doesn’t like the watered-down, sanitized presence most pros have on Twitter.

“I am not one to care how much money I make if I’m not being myself. I don’t want to be a double person out here on Tour. I don’t want to be a person on social media and inside the ropes, and then another guy with my buddies.”

It would seem, then, it’s “all or nothing” for Grayson Murray on Twitter. For the sake of his career and future performance, “nothing” is probably the best route. However, Murray’s departure from the social media service would represent the taming of one the Tour’s few wild horses. Whether that’s ultimately good or bad, it’s certainly a far less entertaining prospect.