Chris Kirk is returning to the PGA Tour after a six-month leave of absence at the Mayakoba Golf Classic in Mexico. The 34-year-old took some time for his own health as he addressed issues with alcohol abuse and depression.
Kirk opened up about his problems ahead of his return in an interview with the PGA Tour official website.
Kirk revealed that his alcohol abuse became worse on the road due to the growing pressure as he climbed the ranks of the PGA Tour. He had briefly attempted to stop drinking, but relapsed in 2018 and ultimately entering a 12-step program while also seeing a psychiatrist and sports psychologist.
“I’ve got to drink the right amount at night so that I feel normal the next day,” Kirk said (h/t: New York Post). “Not too much so that I’m really hungover, but I can’t not have anything or I’m going to feel weird the next day. Everybody has issues. Everybody has stuff that is bothering them that they need to work on. This just happens to be my thing.”
During his recovery, Kirk says he did not swing a golf club for four months.
While he continues to deal with his alcoholism, Kirk is ready to return to the PGA Tour but he will keep his expectations low in order to avoid the stress and pressure that could cause him to relapse and return to his vice.
“I am not willing to go back to making it feel like a job. I am not willing to go back to beating myself up when I do not play well,” Kirk says. “That is something that is a struggle for every PGA Tour player because you are out there. Everything is right there for everyone to see. When you play well, people treat you differently than when you do not play well. You have the tendency to treat yourself a lot differently when you play well than when you do not play well.”
The 2019 Mayakoba Golf Classic will take place at El Camaleon Golf Club in Playa del Carmen, Q.R., Mexico from November 14-17. The Mayakoba Golf Classic was Mexico’s first PGA Tour event and has been an annual tournament since 2007.