Kathryn Emma Murphy, executive secretary for five Augusta National and Masters chairmen, including club co-founder Clifford Roberts, died at 9:50 p.m. Sunday, her daughter confirmed. She was 81.
“She did it her way,” daughter Billie Murphy posted on Facebook. “She loved the Masters so much…. Waited until after the Aussie won… Mom was the grace and epitome for 40 years at the National.”
Murphy, who suffered a stroke four years ago, went to the golf course Monday and Thursday, spent time with her four grandchildren and4-year-old great-grandson during Masters Week, and even played host at a weekend party for friends and neighbors, “not knowing it was going to be her last,” her daughter said.
Kathryn Murphy also loved Australia, and was delighted with Adam Scott’s victory, the long-awaited first tournament win by an Australian golfer.
“She went out in great style,” Billie Murphy said. “She waited until the tournament was over and an Aussie won and she was ready to go.”
Kathryn Murphy was known for many things, including her ability to secure Masters badges for players, many of whom she befriended. In a 2011 interview, Murphy said Gene Sarazen, Fred Couples, Brad Faxon and Ben Crenshaw were among the nicest she knew.
For nearly four decades as executive secretary, starting in 1962, Murphy sent invitations to Masters participants, archived golfer information, updated the on-course spectator guide and served as the primary media contact for the tournament.
Born in and raised in Belvedere, S.C., Murphy also acquired a vast collection of Masters memorabilia and artifacts that decorated her home. She became one of the final homeowners along upper Berckmans Road to sell her house for golf parking just two years ago, relocating to a nearby condominium.
While Augusta National Golf Club and the Masters were a huge part of Murphy’s life and allowed her to travel the globe, she and her husband also were charter members of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3200 and she was committed to veterans, her daughter said.