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'Beer Trap' carries on as tribute to longtime Honda Classic course marshal, avid golf lover

Family of Larry Murphy keeps tradition alive
Amy Messick and family sit outside the 'Beer Trap'
Posted at 9:34 PM, Mar 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-19 21:34:51-04

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — Anyone who's ever been to the Honda Classic most likely knows one of the more popular venues for guests is "The Bear Trap."

But what's become another staple about 20 feet off the course is the "Beer Trap," set up by one man living along the Champion course at PGA National.

This year, his years-long tradition took on a more sentimental meaning.

Larry Murphy looked forward to the Honda Classic every year, treating it like a holiday.

His daughter, Amy Messick, said it was a perk of living along the course near the 15th tee.

"He could sit here in a chair for hours on end, as long as you kept bringing him drinks," Messick laughed.

Almost 15 years ago, Murphy, an avid golfer, was playing a round of golf with Messick's husband and his son.

"We knew they were going to be coming around on this hole, and so we said we'd have a beer waiting for them," Messick said. "Dad coined it 'Beer Trap.'"

Messick's daughter, just 1-year-old at the time, would sit by a cooler, waiting for her grandfather with a little wooden "Beer Trap" sign.

Larry Murphy sits behind the 'Beer' Trap sign
Larry Murphy sits in a lawn chair in front of the "Beer" Trap sign.

But that sign grew bigger over the years, and they started hanging it up during the Honda Classic. It got a lot of attention from spectators.

"There was a lady yesterday (who) came by and she was like, 'Best sign on the course,'" Messick said.

It was not only popular locally. Messick said her parents were in Nashville and met someone on a bus who knew the sign.

Yes, Messick said, her dad would sometimes hand out drinks.

"Probably the cheap beer, keeping the IPAs for himself," Messick laughed.

But his favorite part of the tournament was volunteering as a course marshal, getting him even closer to the players and, better yet, the television cameras. Messick said he knew right where to stand.

Amy Messick recalls her father Larry Murphy, creator of the 'Beer Trap'
Amy Messick recalls her late father, Larry Murphy, who created the "Beer Trap" from his porch along the 15th hole at PGA National.

"So we always had a lot of news footage of him, which is always great, especially last year after he was diagnosed with cancer," Messick said. "To see him a month later on the Golf Channel marshaling the tournament was really wonderful."

Murphy was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and, shortly after undergoing surgery, died at 75 in September 2020. His birthday would have been this week.

"I think it was really important to do this year for my dad, just because this was the highlight of his year," Messick said.

So this year, when they put up Murphy's big sign and maybe hand off a drink, they're not only carrying on his tradition but creating the most fitting tribute to a staple of the tournament.

"It felt like a wonderful way to tribute him and commemorate his happiness and spirit," Messick said.

Messick also said her father's favorite player was always Phil Mickelson. They're hopeful that, maybe this year, he will notice the sign and give them a wave as he plays the 15th hole.