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Golfer Harry Higgs delivers powerful speech about Grayson Murray: 'Everybody here could be the difference'

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Golfer Harry Higgs delivers powerful speech about Grayson Murray: 'Everybody here could be the difference'

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Harry Higgs came out victorious after a playoff at the Visit Knoxville Open on the Korn Ferry Tour Sunday afternoon, but he didn’t deliver the typical closing remarks one would do after winning a golf tournament.

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Instead, he took the time to address the loss of Grayson Murray, whose parents confirmed Sunday in a statement that he “took his own life” on Saturday. Murray was 30 years old and had finished his second round at the Charles Schwab Challenge on the PGA Tour on Friday, though he withdrew citing an illness. 

The sports world was in total shock to learn of Murray’s passing, especially the PGA Tour, as it suggested shutting down play until Murray’s parents agreed to keep things going after speaking with commissioner Jay Monahan. 

Harry Higgs plays his shot on the 18th hole during the final round of the Visit Knoxville Open at Holston Hills Country Club on May 26, 2024, in Tennessee. (Brennan Asplen/Getty Images)

Though the Korn Ferry Tour is the step just below the PGA Tour in terms of competition level, Murray was once on the circuit, battling for his Tour card like every professional golfer dreams. 

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Higgs took the time to not just remember Murray, but also deliver a powerful message for everyone present for the speech and those watching at home. 

“I just have a message, so forgive me if things get a little deep,” Higgs began his speech. “We lost yesterday morning one of our own. I don’t know if you guys heard the news, but somebody who went through a lot of difficult things. Somebody who was open and honest about it, and I thought last night – I didn’t sleep worth a darn and I’m really good at sleeping.

“I thought about this moment and how to maybe remember Grayson, and it just kind of dawned on me that everybody here – one, thank you so much for receiving me and congratulating me and cheering me on throughout. But this golf stuff and the result, it’s lovely, sure. But it’s just not that meaningful. 

GRAYSON MURRAY’S CADDIE GIVES EMOTIONAL TRIBUTE TO ‘BROTHER:’ ‘WOULD TRULY DO ANYTHING FOR ANYONE’

“One thing that I thought of last night, especially laying in bed, is I would challenge everybody here – and I’m going to do this myself as well – each day say something nice to someone you love. And also, make it a point to say something nice to somebody you do not even know.”

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As Higgs mentioned, Murray was open about his mental health struggles and battle with alcohol addiction. He said in January that he was several months sober, though it would always be something he had to battle. 

“The world is a very difficult place, and only getting more difficult,” Higgs continued. “I’ve been blessed with great parents and a great support system, and I haven’t had – other than some frustration at times – any battles mentally. But Lord knows how many people do, and it’s only ever increasing. 

Harry Higgs kisses trophy

Harry Higgs poses with the trophy after winning the Visit Knoxville Open on May 26, 2024. (Brennan Asplen/Getty Images)

“Everybody here could be a difference – the difference. Brighten up somebody’s day, it could mean the world.”

Setting the example for the challenge he put forth to everyone listening, Higgs went on to thank everyone in Knoxville for their hospitality throughout the week of the tournament. 

“Thank you from the bottom of my heart,” he said. “Knoxville, you guys were warm and gracious hosts. This will mean the world to me as I think back on it, but I will just remember the great people I met here in Knoxville.”

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So many have offered their condolences and shared stories about their times interacting with Murray. 

What Higgs did here was not only in remembrance of Murray, but a call to action. You never know what someone could be going through on any day, so a random act of kindness could make a huge difference in the world. 

Murray’s parents, Eric and Terry, said in their statement Sunday that their son was surrounded with love. 

Grayson Murray waves to fans

Grayson Murray reacts during the trophy presentation after he won the Simmons Bank Open for the Snedeker Foundation at The Grove on Sept. 17, 2023, in College Grove, Tennessee. (Alex Slitz/Getty Images)

“We have so many questions that have no answers. But one,” the statement read. “Was Grayson loved? Yes. By us, his brother Cameron, his sister Erica, all of his extended family, by his friends, by his fellow players and – it seems – by many of you who are reading this. He was loved and he will be missed.

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“We would like to thank the PGA Tour and the entire world of golf for the outpouring of support. Life wasn’t always easy for Grayson, and although he took his own life, we know he rests peacefully now.”

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Kylie Kelce shares thoughts on Harrison Butker's commencement speech: 'Support each other in our choices'

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Kylie Kelce shares thoughts on Harrison Butker's commencement speech: 'Support each other in our choices'

Kylie Kelce, the wife of Philadelphia Eagles great Jason Kelce, shared her thoughts on Harrison Butker’s faith-based commencement speech at Benedictine College last month, which sparked wide debate. 

The Kansas City Chiefs kicker’s speech, during which he urged women graduates to embrace being a “homemaker,” led to attacks from those who believed he was diminishing the role of women in communities. 

Kelce, who was working with the Eagles Autism Foundation to share activities with kids on and off the spectrum Thursday, was asked during an interview what she thought about Butker’s speech, especially being a mother of three. 

Kylie Kelce on NBC April 1, 2024. (Nathan Congleton/NBC via Getty Images)

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“I think that everyone is entitled to their own opinion,” she said, via Cheddar. “I hope that, if anyone does not align with those views in that graduating class, that they know they achieved something. Those women graduating in that class have achieved something that no one can take away from them. Their education will stick with them for the rest of their lives. I hope that they were appropriately celebrated if that was not their view. 

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“If it was, and they’re looking forward to making a family and being a stay-at-home mom, then more power to them.

CHIEFS’ TRAVIS KELCE DEFENDS HARRISON BUTKER AS ‘A GREAT PERSON AND A GREAT TEAMMATE,’ DESPITE DIFFERING VIEWS

“I think, as women, we should support each other in our choices and make sure that we feel as though we can do whatever we would like to do,” she said.

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“So, hopefully, those graduating know that, at the very least, I’m very proud of them and hope that they go on to do whatever makes their heart happy.”

Kylie Kelce in NYC

Kylie Kelce attends the 2023 Night of Too Many Stars benefiting Next for Autism at the Beacon Theatre Dec. 11, 2023, in New York City. (Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Night of Too Many Stars)

Butker recently stood by his commencement speech while making his first public appearance since his time at Benedictine College. He appeared at the Courage Under Fire Gala in Nashville in late May, which was presented by the Regina Caeli Academy. It’s an institution that “encourages our students to strive for excellence in academics as well as in virtuous living, self-discipline and accountability through a classical education taught in the light of the Catholic tradition.”

“The theme for tonight’s gala, ‘Courage Under Fire’, was decided many months ago, but it now feels providential that this would be the theme after what we have all witnessed these last two weeks,” Butker said. “If it wasn’t clear that the timeless Catholic values are hated by many, it is now.”

Butker continued by saying he understands he’s become a “more polarizing” figure because he spoke about his beliefs, but he won’t be changing them for anyone. 

“Our love for Jesus, and thus, our desire to speak out, should never be outweighed by the longing of our fallen nature to be loved by the world,” he said. “Glorifying God and not ourselves should always remain our motivation despite any pushback or even support. I lean on those closest to me for guidance, but I can never forget that it is not people, but Jesus Christ who I’m trying to please.”

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Butker’s Chiefs peers have defended his character despite their differences in views, including Kelce’s brother-in-law, star tight end Travis Kelce. 

Kylie Kelce and Harrison Butker side by side

Kylie Kelce gave her opinion on Harrison Butker’s faith-based commencement speech at Benedictine College last month. (Getty Images)

“I’ve known him for seven-plus years, probably, eight-plus years. And I cherish him as a teammate,” Kelce said of Butker, whom he calls “Harry.” 

“I think Pat [Mahomes] said it best, where he is every bit of a great person and a great teammate. He’s treated friends and family that I’ve introduced to him with nothing but respect and kindness, and that’s how he treats everyone.

“I can’t say I agree with the majority of [the speech] or just about any of it, outside of just him loving his family and his kids. And I don’t think that I should judge him by his views, especially his religious views, of how to go about life. That’s just not who I am.”

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With her husband retiring after the most recent NFL season, Kylie Kelce continues to work on helping her community with the Eagles Autism Foundation, which was created by Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie, who drew inspiration for the project from his autistic brother. 

Fox News’ Ryan Morik and Paulina Dedaj contributed to this report.

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Justin Herbert must adjust to Chargers' new philosophy that running is not passé

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Justin Herbert must adjust to Chargers' new philosophy that running is not passé

No quarterback in NFL history has attempted more passes per game than Justin Herbert.

His 39.1 mark over the last four seasons edges Andrew Luck, with Patrick Mahomes and Matthew Stafford next on the list.

Now, Herbert is playing for a head coach and offensive coordinator who, since their arrivals five months ago, have talked extensively about emphasizing the run game.

“Selfishly as a quarterback I’d love to throw the ball every time,” Herbert said Thursday. “But if we throw it one time or we throw it 100 times, as long as we’re winning and finding a way to do that, it’s good with me.”

After the Chargers wrapped up their three-day minicamp in Costa Mesa, Herbert met with the local media for the first time since the team brought in Jim Harbaugh and Greg Roman.

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The new regime — including general manager Joe Hortiz — first reshaped the roster to try to become more powerful and physical. Roman then spent the several weeks introducing an offense designed to operate from the ground up.

The Chargers’ new additions include running backs Gus Edwards, who is known of his downhill approach, and J.K. Dobbins, whose explosiveness has resulted in per-carry career average of 5.8 yards.

“We don’t have pads on, so you can’t really feel the impact of the run game right now,” Herbert said. “But you can feel the juice. They’ve got energy. They bring it.”

The overall theme has been to establish a run-pass balance, a clear departure from how the Chargers have played offensively since Herbert took over as the starter in Week 2 of his rookie year.

“The way that we’ve installed everything,” Herbert said, “we want to be able to do everything.”

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Except for the Chargers’ Week 14 loss to Denver last season — when Herbert left the game early because of a finger injury — he has attempted at least 24 passes in each of his career starts.

Along the way, he set numerous franchise and league records and made the Pro Bowl in 2021. Herbert’s right arm has been celebrated as few others, Harbaugh just this week noting the velocity it can generate.

But the Chargers are only 30-32 in Herbert’s starts. They’ve played one postseason game with him at quarterback and are coming off a five-win finish that led to all the leadership changes.

So, it’s not difficult to believe Herbert when he says winning is more significant to him, even while joking that, when it comes to passing the ball, “the more the better.”

In his conversations with Roman, Herbert said the message has been to involve the playmakers, take care of the ball and — if the defense has a decided advantage or there is risk of a turnover — “punting is not the worst-case scenario.”

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The ultimate goal of the offense, Herbert explained, is to produce completions, explosive plays and touchdowns, but the Chargers aren’t going to simply force the passing game.

Harbaugh spent 14 years in the NFL as a player, starting games at quarterback for Chicago, Indianapolis, Baltimore and the Chargers. Herbert said his head coach brings “great perspective” each time he sits in the quarterback meetings.

Similarly, Harbaugh spent several minutes during two recent media sessions praising everything from Herbert’s physical skills to his mental capacity to his overall leadership.

“Nobody in this organization has played quarterback at the high level that he has,” Harbaugh said. “There’s an expertise there that has been extremely valuable.”

When the Chargers met on the field for the final time Thursday before breaking for the start of summer, Herbert was the player Harbaugh tabbed to address the group.

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Chargers safety Derwin James Jr. (3) flips a football while watching practice.

(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

Herbert said he spoke about the importance of not allowing the offseason-program work to go to waste. He said he encouraged his teammates to remain diligent in their preparation for training camp, which starts in late July.

“If we’re going to be the team we want to be, it starts now,” Herbert told reporters later. “It’s starts when we’re on our own and having that level of loyalty and dedication and integrity.”

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Safety Derwin James Jr., another of the Chargers’ acknowledged leaders, also spoke publicly for the first time in months Thursday, saying the renewed atmosphere surrounding the team “feels like Christmas.”

James called Harbaugh “the most powerful leader I’ve seen” and highlighted his ability to command a room just by walking through the door. Like several of his teammates this offseason, James said the mood is different.

“Every year, you’re going to feel like you’re the team to beat, feel like you’re going to the Super Bowl,” James said. “But this year it just feels right. … I can’t wait to play ’cause I really believe it’s going to be special.”

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ESPN needs a LeBron James-sized reboot to its NBA Finals coverage

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ESPN needs a LeBron James-sized reboot to its NBA Finals coverage

When ESPN chairman Jimmy Pitaro wanted to glam up “Monday Night Football,” he reached for the stars and Mickey Mouse’s wallet. Pitaro, a die-hard New York Yankees fan, channeled his inner George Steinbrenner by signing NFL TV’s white whale, Peyton Manning, and then luring Joe Buck and Troy Aikman over from Fox Sports.

They were boss moves for the Disney-owned ESPN.

Pitaro lavished Buck with a $75 million deal and Aikman with $90 million, both over five seasons, while Manning, with his Omaha Productions and his brother Eli in the fold, is making even more per year than either, though the exact figures are unknown. This offseason, Omaha called another audible by adding the legendary Bill Belichick to this fall’s MNF “ManningCast.”

The luster has been returned to “Monday Night Football” production.

Now, on the NBA Finals, Pitaro should tear a page out of his NFL playbook. He and his right-hand man, Burke Magnus, ESPN’s president of content, should court LeBron James with a Tom Brady-like broadcasting deal that will begin whenever the 39-year-old James decides to hang up his sneakers.

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James’ basketball IQ is off the charts. Like Brady — who begins in the Fox NFL booth in September on a 10-year, $375 million deal — there is no definitive way of telling how good James would be on games, but part of the point is to turn the broadcasts into events.

James would do that, standing next to play-by-play broadcaster Mike Breen. They should make it so he calls 20-25 games per season, like an NFL analyst, and elevate the broadcast level, especially this time of year, on the finals.

If Pitaro can’t have James, he should keep 36-year-old Stephen Curry in mind for when he is ready to stop draining 3s. In the meantime, of course, if TNT Sports does lose its NBA TV package, Charles Barkley should — and will be — at the top of ESPN’s list.

All this is to say, it is time for an ESPN NBA reboot because its finals coverage of the Boston Celtics against the Dallas Mavericks feels small.

For the first two games, ESPN added the New York Knicks’ Josh Hart as a guest analyst. Hart is someone to admire, with his work ethic and his good-guy reputation, but, as the kids like to say, it felt very mid.

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If ESPN wanted to add another body for its half-hour pregame and its blink-of-an-eye halftime show, it should have rewarded analysts who got them there, like big personalities Kendrick Perkins or Richard Jefferson. Both are way better daily on “NBA Today” than the neophyte Hart showed in his guest spots. At least Hart added another NBA player voice to the finals festivities.

Before he was added, ESPN’s finals coverage included 15-year 3-point specialist JJ Redick as the only ex-player. Redick joined Doris Burke and Breen in the consistently underwhelming finals booth.

In studio, without Hart, there are no former players, as host Malika Andrews is joined by legendary opinionist Michael Wilbon, ex-Golden State general manager Bob Myers, and the face of ESPN, Stephen A. Smith. Well, when Smith has the time.

After Game 2 on ABC, ESPN had a postgame show, but Smith wasn’t on it. He was already jetting off from Boston to Miami to be in position for “First Take,” even though the program regularly emits from New York.

Smith is the undisputed No. 1 star of the network, but it is the games that make it run. Smith said earlier in the playoffs he hoped for a quick Eastern Conference finals so he could take some time off.

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Smith is a workaholic and the center of sports media, but if appearing on the playoff studio shows is beneath his time, maybe, quite frankly, it is not the best fit to have him jam it in between his daily TV talk debates, his thrice-weekly YouTube show, his “General Hospital” role and every other platform known to mankind he appears on.

As the series moves to Dallas on Wednesday, nine-time All-Star Paul George is an upgrade in status over Hart as the guest analyst. Whether he is any good remains to be seen. During the conference finals, Chris Paul was the guest analyst, and he showed some signs of potential.

When the new TV deals are completed, ESPN is expected to have the rights to the finals for a dozen years, with its final season on the current contract and the next 11 on the new one. It has boxed out the competition with a deal that will pay the league $2.6 billion a year, just a shade less than the $2.7 billion it doles out to the NFL per season. It looks like a smart move, as TNT Sports hangs on for dear life for its NBA future.


ESPN’s NBA Finals booth: JJ Redick, Doris Burke and Mike Breen. The trio has yet to find its stride in its debut NBA Finals. (Barry Gossage / NBAE via Getty Images)

Amazon Prime Video, which has a framework agreement with the league, already has Ian Eagle on its radar for play-by-play, according to sources briefed on their plans, and NBC, which also is on the doorstep of a completed deal, will likely name Mike Tirico its No. 1. Those are strong starts to match Breen.

Though the iconic “Inside the NBA” is potentially entering its final season with Warner Bros. Discovery, it is not like Barkley or Shaquille O’Neal won’t be employed, maybe even still with Kenny Smith and Ernie Johnson. Amazon and NBC will be in play for the biggest names.

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Beyond all this, ESPN should take a cue from other networks’ coverage of the Super Bowl and the World Series. The ESPN executive in charge of the NBA, David Roberts, should order up a new graphic package for the finals to further distinguish it from a game in November. The network with the Super Bowl does this every year, though it is actually even more necessary for ESPN on the NBA because of its overabundance of games that can make them all blend together.

Roberts should also look at Fox’s MLB October studio coverage, which features Derek Jeter, David Ortiz and Alex Rodriguez. It is a prestige event, and Fox has brought in three of the biggest players of the last generation. You don’t have to do this, but if you fail to have the names, the content has to be superior. It hasn’t been on these finals.

Next, ESPN should be pursuing James, as it did Manning. And Barkley, as it did Buck and Aikman. Pitaro and company should play like the boss again.

go-deeper

GO DEEPER

Where will Charles Barkley go? What if ESPN loses JJ Redick? Thoughts on NBA media issues

(Top photo: Adam Pantozzi / NBAE via Getty Images)

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