When you go to talk with Bill Murray, you know two things: 1) You don’t know what he’s going to say or talk about and 2) something funny is going to happen. I’ve had a chance to talk with Bill over the years since he’s been holding his annual Murray Brothers Golf Tournament here in North Florida at the World Golf Village. Bill has made himself available to talk at his tournament over the years despite the hordes of people who are following him, watching him play and asking for something. Friday was no different.
Starting on the back nine at the King and the Bear, there’s always a backup on the 14th tee, a combination of finishing a par 5, going to a par three, a bar and a TacoLu truck as a distraction. That’s where we caught up with Bill to talk between bites of his favorite taco and a chat with his brother Ed.
“What are you playing,” I asked, referring to the Callaway irons in his bag.
“Whatever will go on the green,” he said, sizing up the upcoming 147-yard shot.
Murray’s popularity attracts players from all over the country to his tournament. This year over 420 players are participating over three 18-hole flights. For the fourth year in a row they’re raising money for the Firehouse Subs Foundation benefitting first responders in the military, and police and fire departments.
“They really need that stuff,” Murray said while waiting on the tee. “You should see them when they get stuff like the high powered Jet Ski’s. They’re like, ‘Wow, we could have used this last year!”
“When I took him to a meeting with the Governor and some of the first responders receiving some of the things we’ve bought with money raised over the years I could tell that he gets it,” Robin Sorensen, one of the founders of Firehouse Subs and the head of the Firehouse Foundation explained. “We’ve raised over a million dollars in the first four years of being associated with this tournament and Bill knows the money’s being put to good use.”
A big sports fan, Murray was as interested in Jake Arietta’s no-hitter from the night before as he was his golf game.
“How’d you like that?” he asked as any Cubs fan would.
“All it did was make me mad,” I said. “Since I’m an Oriole fan and he was terrible when he played for us.”
“Because you didn’t let him pitch the way he wanted to. You tried to change him. So now we have him,” Murray quickly responded.
That exchanged quickly reminded me of how big a fan he really is, not just paying lip service to keep his popularity.
“I was trying to raise money last night while that (the no-hitter) was going on. I had to leave the stage,” he added. “Then somebody said from the audience, ‘he did it’ and I was like ‘Great, and I missed it.'”
As a guest on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” last week in LA, Murray was promoting his recent movie the remake of “The Jungle Book.” I happened to see him on there and complimented him on how he and his young co-star performed.
“I couldn’t figure out why he had such a huge dressing room,” Murray revealed about arriving at the Kimmel taping. “But then I realized he had his parents, both sets of grandparents, everybody in his family there. He’s from Long Island and they all came out. Nice kid.”
Somehow our conversation turned to the equipment the first responders’ use and Bill said, “Well, we’re all first responders aren’t we? To take care of ourselves? Unless you can’t,” he added. “Except for me, a bird is just going to come and take me away.”
“Oh really, a big bird?” I asked.
“Yup,” he answered. “It’s just going to come in and grab me and carry me off.”
Like I said, you never know where the conversation is going to go!