Billy Hurley III's heartfelt letter to his late father part of 'overall healing'
PACIFIC PALISADES – Billy Hurley III certainly put himself out there before ever starting Thursday’s first round of the PGA’s Genesis Open.
The 34-year-old out of the Naval Academy wrote a letter through The Players Tribune website that posted Tuesday – an emotional, cathartic message to his deceased father, who committed suicide in 2015 and had been missing for a long time until his body was found.
In the final few lines to the letter of more than 4,300 words, Hurley wrote: “I miss you, Dad. I love you. And one final thing I need you to know: I forgive you. Your legacy will live forever.”
Hurley then went out and shot a 4-under-par 67, taking an early lead for a few holes, and talked about how it impacted his play.
“Actually I thought I was going to play poorly as a result of that,” he said. “Frankly, it was quite an emotional couple of days for me within that letter, and the response was overwhelming.”
Hurley said The Players Tribune, the online athlete’s website started by Derek Jeter, approached him in October, and he initially declined. After a few drafts, it was finally ready to publish.
“It was an important step in the overall healing,” Hurley said. “I wanted to show the world who he really was and too often in tragic situations and suicide, it becomes just about how they died. I wanted to highlight how good of a dad he really was.”
Hurley said “unfortunately” he does think about his dad when he’s out on the course but “thankfully, I’m pretty good at compartmentalizing. But I think that definitely currents of my life and currents of my golf game are from my dad. That’s what’s always there.
“My dad was a very black-and-white kind of guy, which serves you really well in a lot of arenas but at the end of the day that’s one of the things that led to his death, not being able to deal whatever gray was going on inside his head.”