You can’t miss Win McMurry, most of the time. When I went to meet her for the first time at the PGA Show in Orlando this last January, I approached the Birdy & Grace booth where I knew she was going to be. I walked up and didn’t see her. After a few minutes, I found the petite blonde, standing right in front of me, encircled by a group of men. If that wasn’t proof enough that she’s golf’s sweetheart, Win was just named #1 Golf Beauty in Golf Magazine‘s “#1 Issue,” surrounded by the likes of Michael Douglas and Samuel L. Jackson.
Win’s proven that she is made of more than just good looks and a sweet-as-pie personality. Graduating from UNC-Chapel Hill with a double major in journalism and communications, the Golf Channel reporter has previously worked for PGATour.com and CBS Sports before heading to Orlando and the Golf Channel. She currently is a contributor to GolfChannel.com‘s Fashion Focus, reports for Golf Central and the “Grey Goose 19th Hole” and hosts her own behind-the-scenes program on GolfChannel.com called “Winsday.”
In between being golf’s sexiest reporter and traveling, she shared with me what she values most in golf.
SSP: What’s it like being a woman (and a beautiful one at that) in an industry dominated by men? Does it make it easier or harder?
WM: I think because of the nature of the game the players and others in the industry are very supportive, positive, and treat me with respect, just as they treat others with respect on the course. I think in some ways being a woman does work to my advantage (there aren’t very many women on the practice range or putting green, so I stand out!) but I also don’t feel like my gender makes much of a difference. I’m granted all the same access and respect that I see my male colleagues receive. I have developed my own relationships with the players and with many of their wives, which is especially nice for another perspective.
SSP: What do you love most about golf and covering golf?
WM: I love that golf is a gentleman (and lady’s) game. It is governed by a set of rules that are self-enforced. It is a game of sportsmanship, of honor, of integrity. It is played ultimately against oneself and the course. It is not aggressive nor is it hostile or violent, but it is competitive.
I love that golf tests both your mental and physical strength and it can be played by all ages and all levels, all at the same time. It is a game that connects people in a positive way over healthy competition where all players appreciate and congratulate a great shot.
It’s a game that can take you across the globe and unifies cultures.
When it comes to covering golf, all that I love about the game itself permeates into reporting. The athletes themselves treat their fans as well as the media with a respectful attitude. And I love that covering golf takes me to beautiful destinations worldwide.
SSP: If you could change anything about the golf industry, what would it be?
WM: I think that the amount of time it takes to play a round of golf is the greatest disadvantage to the game. I do feel that playing 18-holes does bond you in a unique way with your playing partners than say only 9-holes, but the time commitment is difficult. I played golf with a friend of mine’s five and seven year-old nephews recently and their attention span (and our patience) really is hard to keep for more than a couple hours. So to make it more family-friendly, I’d like to see more options for quicker play.
SSP: Who are your favorite players and events to cover?
WM: I have so many favorites it’s hard to list. But, I love watching the youthful spirit of the young guns like Rickie Fowler and Rory McIlroy. I like watching the bombers like Bubba Watson and Dustin Johnson. I like the artistry and creativity from players like Phil Mickelson and I love the consistency of Luke Donald, Steve Stricker, and this year of Webb Simpson. I also really love seeing veterans compete, like Tom Watson at Turnberry, David Toms resurgence this year as well as Davis Love III (plus he and Mark Wilson are Tar Heels like I am, which makes me a little partial)!
When it comes to events, how can you beat Pebble Beach? I was there for the U.S. Open last year and you really can’t beat views like that in the U.S.! I also am partial to the Wells Fargo Championship because I grew up in North Carolina and love seeing family and friends when I visit that beautiful course and the Quail Hollow Club. I also spent two years working for the PGA TOUR so The PLAYERS is another event that I love returning to in Ponte Vedra.
SSP: What do you hope to accomplish through your career?
WM: My mom has always said that the times that you are happiest in life is when you are doing something for someone else. That holds true with my job. I love that so many charities raise money and awareness through golf tournaments, both big and small. The PGA Tour gives away millions every year to charity and I am proud that doing our part as reporters helps raise awareness of that. But I also have had the privilege to emcee many of the smaller events centered around golf and as I continue to establish my career I hope to give back as much as I can. Right now it’s mostly by donating my time, something I am so happy to do.
SSP: What’s your dream job?
WM: Other than being a rockstar (unfortunately I don’t have the natural talent for that!) in many ways I’m doing my dream job right now at Golf Channel. It was my goal out of college to work on-air as a sports reporter for a national network within four years and I achieved that. Now as I re-create my goals I know that I want to continue to work as a journalist throughout my life. I love to write, and would enjoy one day writing a book. I’d also love to cover a diverse range of interests from sports, to travel and leisure, lifestyle, and news. Hosting my own show I think would be fantastic…then I’d get to create all the content!
SSP: If you could play a round with anyone alive or dead, who would it be?
WM: Oprah. She has interviewed everyone on practically everything! She is such an inspiration and an incredible role-model. She’s a shrewd business woman and she has chutzpah! With her experience and charismatic personality she’d be a blast to play a round with (plus, I think I’m the better golfer so at least that part of the experience wouldn’t be as intimidating)!
SSP: What would be your dream story to cover?
WM: This is a toughie…I think in the golf world everyone would love to hear the real story of Tiger Woods. He’s been asked by everyone to give a one-on-one tell-all but he remains close-lipped. To get that interview would be incredible.
You can follow Win on Twitter @WinMcMurryGC and catch her in action on GolfChannel.com.
Image: Win McMurry with Sharon Sunoo of Birdy & Grace. Image copyright of Shi Shi Putter. All rights reserved.