Billy Hurley III surprises with strong start at Genesis Open

February 16, 2017; Pacific Palisades, CA, USA;  Billy Hurley III hits from the fourth hole tee box during the first round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports Gary A. Vasquez/USA TODAY Sports

Billy Hurley III surprises with strong start at Genesis Open

PGA Tour

Billy Hurley III surprises with strong start at Genesis Open

PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif.—Just days after posting an open letter to his late father, Billy Hurley III had low expectations for the Genesis Open. So his scrambling 67 at Riviera— hitting just 10 greens and seven fairways – came as a bit of a surprise.

“Frankly it was quite an emotional couple days for me within that letter and the response from it was, you know, was overwhelming,” Hurley said of the Players Tribune tribute posted on Valentine’s Day. “It was way more than I ever thought it would be.”

Hurley announced during a news conference at the 2015 Quicken Loans National that his father, Willard, was missing and offered a public plea to find him. Willard would be found in Texas three days later but would die from a self-inflicted gunshot wound the following month. A year later Billy won the Quicken Loans in one of the more emotional victories in PGA Tour history. Last October, Hurley was approached by The Players Tribune to write a piece on his father, with the resulting story appearing on Tuesday of Genesis Open week.

“You know, 18 months ago it was about my dad taking his own life by suicide and not about the 62 years that he had lived,” Hurley said. “So I wanted to highlight how good of a dad he really was. Certainly tragic and completely unbelievable that my dad did commit suicide, but just there’s so much more to him than just that. So we wanted to highlight that and then wanted, as far as just me personally, there’s just closure in that.”

Hurley said the long process of writing the piece came only after much consternation about the impact of even attempting to put his thoughts on paper.

“It took me a long time and took me a long time to get to the place where I could even potentially write that. And then the last thing, it was literally the last thing that I edited and added to the piece was ‘I forgive you.’ ”

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