PGA Tour winner Grayson Murray took to twitter on Friday with a description of the mental difficulties he has encountered playing the PGA Tour. 27 year old Grayson won the Barbasol Championship in 2017 and has made $3.68 million in five years on tour but is currently on a medical exemption due to injury.
I won’t call his twitter post a rant. Rather it is an insight into the mental health challenges of young playersmin professional golf. Grayson is single and travels on tour without a coach.
“I’ve played the last five years on the PGA Tour. A lots of ups and downs, mostly downs. The tour lifestyle is like being the keys to a Ferrari at 22 and being told to go full throttle”.
He talked about the financial strain of mintaining a tour career when you’re not winning every year. He then revealed that he is an alcoholic, on probation by the tour, after an incident in a hotel bar. If there is another incident, apparently, he faces a $20,000 fine.
This is the most stunning,statement. “I’m a f…ing alcoholic who hates everything to do with PGA Tour life”.
He states that he hasn’t been supported by the PGA Tour – in 5 yeats he’s never had a request acknowledged other than “we will get back to you”. Grayson says they’re more interested in promoting their top players than helping me with my issues”.
He concludes by sayint “I hope not only the PGA Tour steps up in areas they need tomstep up but also hope people are held accountable in their roles”.
The PGA respomded with the following statement:
“We can unequivocally say thatthe PGA Tour is a family and when a member of that family needs help we are there for them. That has been the case here and will continue to be”
There was an outpouring of support from the twittersphere, notably from fellow professionals.
Steve Elkington said “it took a lot to write this.The Tour has a massive blind spot, I’d like to help if needed”.
2018 European Ryder Cup Captain Thomas Bjorn, who I watched playing wonderfukky well this week at Sunningdale, has also highlighted the need for support for younger players. He has talked about his own battles with depression in 2003 (after he nearly won The Open) and 2010. He said “I was close to giving up the game.Mental health in young people is so,ethimg we need to address . Over analysing can lead to negative thoughts.An over active brain is not great for sport.
“I used to blame the game for how I was feeling, you end up hating golf. But this is your life and I found a way to love the game again”. Thomas Bjorn has co-written The Mind Game about mental aspects of the game,
Clearly this is a huge subject affecting professionals from Tiger Woods downwards. Will be interesting to see what Sky Sports presenter Sarah Stirk says on the subject in next issue of Golf Monthly.
It is right that Grayson spoke out so that we all know, and the Tour can be pressed to do something urgently.