I discovered a printed copy of Hunter S. Thompson’s last article–“Shotgun Golf with Bill Murray”–yesterday. I printed Thompson’s ESPN article the day it was published on February 16, 2005. Four days later, Thompson committed suicide in his Woody Creek, Colorado, kitchen. I was scheduled to interview Thompson eight days later on March 1, 2005.

It would be an understatement to say I was disappointed. Thompson’s agent informed me I was the first interview Thompson agreed to in a long time. Thompson had not been feeling that well, but I passed the test. You can read the story of how my Thompson interview got set up in Insured Beyond The Grave.

Thompson’s book, Hey Rube!, contained all of his sports articles he wrote for ESPN from 2000-2003. The final article in that book counts as “Victory”, which is dated October 13, 2003. I printed off all of Thompson’s stories from ESPN after 2003. “Shotgun Golf with Bill Murray” stands as the final article Hunter S. Thompson wrote.

Thompson and Murray knew one another back in the 1970s. Murray portrayed Thompson in the film Where The Buffalo Roam. Neil Young scored the soundtrack to the film. The movie was shot in Los Angeles during 1979. Thompson moved into a room underneath the swimming pool in the house Murray rented in North Hollywood. “I’d work all day and stay up all night with him,” Murray remembered. “I was strong in those days…”

“Shotgun Golf with Bill Murray” began with Thompson writing: “The death of professional hockey in America is a nasty omen for people with heavy investments in NHL teams. But to me, it meant little or nothing–and that’s why I called Bill Murray with an idea that would change our lives forever.

“It was 3:30 on a dark Tuesday morning when I heard the phone ring on his personal line in New Jersey. “Good thinking,” I said to myself as I fired up a thin Cohiba. “He’s bound to be awake and crackling at this time of day, or at least I can leave a very exciting message.

“Only a madman would call a legend of Bill Murray’s stature at 3:33 a.m. for no good reason at all. It would be a career ending move, and also profoundly rude. But my reason was better than good…”

Less than a week before his death, Thompson retained his sense of humor with his old friend Bill Murray. At one point during their interview, Thompson says: “Well, I’m writing a column for ESPN.com and I want to know if you like my new golf idea. A two man team…”

Bill: “Well, with all safety in mind, yes. Two-man team? Yeah! That sounds great! I think it would create a whole new look. It would create a whole new clothing line.”

HST: “Absolutely. You’ll need a whole new wardrobe for this game.”

Bill: “Shooting glasses and everything.”

HST: “We’ll obviously have to make a movie. This will mushroom or mutate–either way–into a real craze. And given the mood of this country, being that a lot of people in the mood to play golf are also in the mood to shoot something. I think it would take off like a gigantic fad.”

Bill: “I think the two-man team idea would be wonderful competition and is something the Ryder Cup would pick up on…”

It’s an interesting read considering it’s the last article Thompson ever committed to paper. After Thompson explains the rules to the game, he indicated Murray, the Pitkin County Sheriff and Keith Richards served as Founding Consultants. At the end of the article, Thompson wrote:

“OK. Back to business. It was Bill Murray who taught me how to mortify your opponents in any sporting contest, honest or otherwise. He taught me my humiliating PGA fadeaway shot, which has earned me a lot of money…after that, I taught him how to swim, and then I introduced him to shooting arts, and now he wins everything he touches. Welcome to the future of America. Welcome to Shotgun Golf. So long and Mahalo. Hunter.”


Breakfast with Hunter

Bill Murray in Broken Flowers

Neil Young Soundtrack in Dead Man

Hunter Thompson’s Friendship with Jimmy Carter

Jimmy Carter Letter To Hunter Thompson

Shotgun Golf with Bill Murray

Insured Beyond The Grave 

(Photograph #1 by Paul Harris. #2 by James Calemine. #4 Getty Images. #5 Polaroid of Bill Murray by Hunter S. Thompson)