Thursday, 28 March 2013
Tom Murray  (Getty Images)
Tom Murray (Getty Images)
Tom Murray says he has taken to life on the European Challenge Tour like a duck to water, and it is no surprise given that the son of former European Tour winner Andrew Murray has been immersed in the world of professional golf since the day he was born.

At just 15 years of age, Murray was already gaining crucial experience that would stand him in good stead many years later when the Englishman caddied for his father at the European Open, an event his father had previously won in 1989.

Murray was able to sample the buzz of a world-class sporting event, share a locker room with some of his sporting idols, and feel the pressure of being inside the ropes as big crowds watched on - opportunities not many fledgling golfers enjoy at such an early age.

Now aged 23 and making his own way in the world of professional golf, he believes that those early experiences have helped him come to terms with his new lifestyle, after gaining a Challenge Tour card having made the cut in his first appearance at The European Tour Qualifying School last December.

“I feel really comfortable out on tour already to be honest,” said Murray. “It must be down to being around golf events as a kid and having people watching.

“It was great to grow up in that professional golfing environment. Caddying for my dad at 15 was pretty cool. I met a few of the players.

“I caddied on the Senior Tour a bit too, and I suppose it makes me feel more comfortable in this environment now.

“Dad had been a real mentor to me, he’s been perfect. He has never been a pushy dad. He has just helped me where I need to be helped. He knows my swing inside out so he helps me with that and he has showed me how to conduct myself and how to stay calm on the golf course.

“I definitely look up to him. I didn’t really get to see him in the peak of his career but I still get to see him playing good golf on the Senior Tour.”

It all could have been very different for Murray Jnr, who showed real promise as a footballer during his youth, at one point training with Liverpool Football Club.

He faced a difficult decision at the age of 15 when he turned scratch and, while he admits he desperately misses football, he thinks embarking on a career in professional golf was the right choice in the long run.

He said: “At the time it was a difficult decision, but in my heart of hearts I knew I was better at golf, even if I enjoyed the buzz of football maybe a little more. I miss football big time now but you can’t afford to do it in terms of the risk of injuries.”

Murray’s life on the Challenge Tour didn’t get off to the best of starts as he missed the cut at the season-opening Gujarat Kensville Challenge, but he bounced back positively and was just a shot off the lead after the opening day of the Barclays Kenya Open two weeks later, eventually finishing tied 45th.

“India was a real slap across the face, a wake-up call,” he said. “But it’s a learning curve I guess too. You don’t want to have a bad week but if you can learn from it then great, and I think I did that after India. I was calmer in Kenya and started well and made the cut so it all worked out OK.”

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