A week after his sister had a seizure and brain surgery, Davis Riley wins first individual PGA Tour event

Ben Morse, CNN | 5/27/2024, 2:13 p.m.
Davis Riley paid tributes to his sister, who is recovering from brain surgery to remove a tumor, and his former …

Davis Riley paid tributes to his sister, who is recovering from brain surgery to remove a tumor, and his former colleague Grayson Murray after winning the Charles Schwab Challenge on Sunday.

Riley held off world No. 1 Scottie Scheffler and Keegan Bradley to win his first individual PGA Tour event by a five-shot margin.

He closed with a final round 70 to finish on 14-under-par for the tournament, with a birdie on the 17th hole moving him five ahead to effectively clinch the victory.

However, after his victory at Colonial Country Club, the 27-year-old American explained how just a week prior, he didn’t even know if he’d be able to fully focus on his golf as a result of what his older sister, Caroline, was going through.

Riley told reporters that he had received a call during practice saying Caroline had suffered a seizure at work and remembers how he “hit the panic button” upon hearing the news.

After undergoing scans, it was found that she had a brain tumor and underwent surgery upon recommendation from doctors.

“When you have somebody that close to you, all the worst-case scenarios are going through your head,” Riley said. “It was certainly a scary feeling thinking about how you could lose your sister.”

Riley explained that after a “successful surgery,” the brain tumor was removed and it was found to be non-cancerous, something he describes as being a “big sigh of relief.”

Riley admitted that he didn’t know if he was going to even play at the Charles Schwab Challenge, saying that he was “a little beside myself for most of the week,” but that his sister insisted that he go and play.

Although she couldn’t be in Texas to see Riley win his first individual PGA Tour event, Riley did her proud by putting in assured performance to earn himself a tartan jacket and the trophy.

“I’m just very fortunate and excited that she was in really good hands and everything is in the right direction,” he said.

Riley also paid tribute to Murray, whose death was announced by the PGA Tour on Saturday, a day after the 30-year-old withdrew from competition, citing illness, at the Charles Schwab Challenge.

Murray’s parents said on Sunday that he died by suicide.

“A super sad day in the golf world, but my heart just goes out to him and his family,” Riley said. “There was definitely a little extra to play for today.

“A sad day, and I have a heavy heart for his family.”

The victory at the Charles Schwab Challenge is Riley’s second on the PGA Tour and first on his own; his maiden victory on the tour came as part of a pairing with Nick Hardy at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans last year.

Hardy congratulated Riley on the 18th green on Sunday after his victory, alongside Riley’s wife Alexandra, and said that he believes this win has been a long time coming.

“Davis’ game has clearly been trending to me for a while,” Hardy said. “It’s just fun to see it pay off.”