Daniel Berger left wondering ‘What if?’ after friend Grayson Murray’s death

JUPITER, Fla. — The guilt, even for casual friends, can be overwhelming when someone takes their life.

What could I have done? What could I have said? Could I have in some way prevented this tragedy?

This is what PGA Tour professional and Jupiter resident Daniel Berger is feeling today, since learning fellow professional golfer Grayson Murray died by suicide May 25.

Berger had lunch with Murray at Colonial Country Club on the Tuesday before the Charles Schwab Challenge. Two days later, they each played their first round of the tournament in Texas.

On the following Saturday, Murray was back at his home in Palm Beach Gardens after withdrawing from the event the day before. That morning, he took his life.

Now Berger, who is 31 and was born the same year as Murray, wonders if there is anything he could have done to help Murray.

“What if I could have said one thing,” Berger said Monday at the Bear’s Club after qualifying for next week’s U.S. Open. “If I asked him is there anything you needed. Maybe that could have made a difference.”

2024 Cognizant Classic in The Palm Beaches
2024 Cognizant Classic in The Palm Beaches

Daniel Berger at the 2024 Cognizant Classic in the Palm Beaches in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida (Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports)

Murray was a member at Dye Preserve Golf Club in Jupiter. Dye’s roster includes several professionals who live in the area, like Berger.

Several of Murray’s peers from Dye and from the area played Monday’s final qualifying at Jack Nicklaus’ Bear’s Club and remembered their friend.

Luke Donald, who lives in Jupiter, was one of the first to react to the news on social media, saying how devastated he was and how Murray recently asked him for advice on how to play Augusta National, site of the Masters.

Donald said Monday that conversation was at Dye Preserve.

“He came over and just started asking me,” Donald said. “It was his first Masters and it was a few week before Augusta. He wanted to know a lot about how I prepared and what I did, what’s the secret to be successful around there. I shared some of the stuff I thought was helpful.

“He looked like he was in a good spot.”

Dean Burmester, the LIV golfer who lives in Jupiter, met Murray at Torrey Pines when they were playing on the Korn Ferry Tour. He describes Murray as “a grinder.”

“It’s tough,” said Burmester, a Dye Preserve member who also qualified Monday for the U.S. Open. “You miss seeing him on the range. He was a grinder. He found a way to practice pretty often. I know the whole club is hurting. I know all the members are going to miss him and all the pros are going to miss him a lot.”

Dye member Joaquin Niemann from North Palm Beach had not practiced with Murray at the course, but spoke with him a few weeks ago at the PGA Championship in Louisville.

“It’s a big loss,” Niemann said. “It’s kind of like a weird feeling. You know someone, you saw him there, you competed against him and all of a sudden you see the news. It’s super sad.”

Murray was open about his mental health issues, revealing in 2021 his struggles with anxiety, depression and alcohol. His peers were aware of his past, but some said he appeared to have overcome those issues in recent months.

“Everybody is fighting their demons,” Niemann said. “He was obviously fighting his demons and he was able to stand up to them. He was able to play good golf and win a golf tournament.”

Murray won his second PGA Tour event in January at the Sony Open in Hawaii.

“It looked like he was on a good path,” Donald said.

Andrew Kozan got to know Murray while on the Korn Ferry Tour. The two then started playing rounds together at Dye.

“He was always fantastic to me, always checking to see how I was playing, always wanting me to play if we were in town,” said Kozan, who lives in Jupiter. “I felt like he really cared about me, always cared about others.

“It’s definitely tough. He was a great guy, great friend, great person. Definitely made everyone better around him.”

Tom D’Angelo is a senior sports columnist and golf writer for The Palm Beach Post. He can be reached at

Story originally appeared on GolfWeek