World of sport mourns the death of Grayson Murray: What drives a successful athlete to suicide?

    Grayson Murray had accumulated $2.42 million according to the PGA Tour list in 2024. He had won the Sony Open in Hawaii in January, the second tournament of the year, with a 14-meter putt in the playoff; he had been tenth at the Wells Fargo last week. He was 58th in the world and in two weeks, for the first time in his career, he was going to link three majors in a row played with his participation in the US Open. He talked about being cured. But in the early hours of Saturday morning he took his own life in a Texas hotel.

    Murray had been on the edge in recent years. He played golf and drank. “Why was I drunk? Because I’m a fucking alcoholic who hates everything about life on the PGA Tour and that’s my outlet. They haven’t been the ones who drove me to drink, but in five years I haven’t gotten a single bit of help from them beyond ‘we’ll get back to you,” he blurted out when the PGA Tour suspended him for unseemly conduct in 2021 after a drunken altercation in a Hawaii bar.

    Grayson Murray’s death leaves Jim Nantz speechless on PGA broadcast

    It was not the first warning. In 2017 he had received another fine for pouring criticism on Bryson DeChambeau and other out-of-character remarks. With that histrionic personality he had caused the blushes of the leaders of the circuit when, as motivation he said, he offered a playboy model to be his caddy in the par 3s of the Augusta Masters, a tournament to which he did not accede until 2024 when he already seemed to be cured of this stormy past.

    “He was a normal college kid. He showed up at Arizona State from Wake Forest and stayed for a year. He played very well and off the field he did what the rest of the college guys did,” says one person who coincided with him on the Tempe campus to this newspaper. He lined up for the Devils with Jon Rahm in the 2014-15 academic year.

    Grayson was a depressed, tormented type. Suicide is usually associated with a desperate situation in which frustrations of various kinds converge. But there is another inclination which is the temporary suicidal crisis. “There are days when I didn’t want to get out of bed,” he recounted in January. “I just thought I was a failure. I always saw myself as a failure. I thought I had a lot of talent, but I just knew how to waste it.” He wanted to inspire a lot of troubled people, the way Jimmy Valvano, Michael Jordan‘s coach at North Carolina, influenced Murray. He didn’t give him time.

    It is difficult to find a similar case in sport, taking one’s own life in a moment of success. Singer Kurt Cobain and designer Kate Spade showed that money does not immunize people against internal struggles and mental health crises, even when that battle seems to be winning. “Was Grayson a loved one,” his parents Eric and Terry asked rhetorically in a statement. “He was. To his brother Cameron, to his sister Erica and to many, many more people,” while asking for privacy. “Life wasn’t always easy for Grayson and, although he took his own life, we know he now rests in peace.”

    Surely, no one made a better diagnosis of him than the departed golfer. “The best and worst thing that ever happened to me was winning my rookie year, but also feeling invincible,” he said of his victory at Barbasol in the 2017 season.

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