PGA TOUR journeyman Chris Kirk won the Honda Classic on Sunday, his first win on tour since 2015. Kirk, 37, who endured a public battle with alcoholism and spent some time away from the sport while recovering, spoke about his newfound sobriety and thanked the “Grace of God” in an interview following his playoff victory.
The interview, shared by Golf, shared a few touching moments as Kirk thanked his family for sticking alongside him on his journey. He also said that being four years sober is one of the biggest reasons he managed another victory. He said:
“Yeah, I owe everything that I have in my entire life to my sobriety. I wouldn’t be doing this for a living anymore. I probably wouldn’t have the family that I have currently anymore. I came really close to losing everything that I cared about.
“For that to have happened and worked out for me, obviously there were some decisions that I made, but mostly the grace of God and a lot of other people that really helped me along the way. But yeah, it’s something that’s constantly on my mind, so it’s pretty easy for me to see that winning the Honda Classic is kind of a bonus when literally every good thing I have in my life I owe to that.”
“I came really close to losing everything that I cared about.”
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) February 27, 2023
Back in 2019, Kirk decided to step away from the sport to get control of his alcohol dependence. At 34 years old, he made the announcement, shared by the New York Post, saying:
“I thought I could control it, but after multiple relapses I have come to realize that I can’t fix this on my own. I will be taking an indefinite leave from the PGA Tour to deal with these issues.”
“I don’t know when I will be back, but for now I need my full focus on being the man my family deserves. Thank you for your support.”
In 2021, upon his return to golf, Kirk spoke more about the struggles that he faced in his younger days that forced him to take such drastic measures to make a change in an interview with the New York Post:
“There was a time when I’d be on the 15th hole at a tournament and I couldn’t wait to finish so I could go get a drink. It became medication for anxiety, fear, some occasional depression and feeling pretty worthless. I couldn’t live a functional life without [alcohol]. I couldn’t wait to get done playing golf so I could get back on it. It was a bad cycle.’’
Kirk also took the opportunity to express his gratitude, saying that he could have never imagined himself in this place just a few short years ago:
“Yeah, definitely still trying to wrap my head around it, for sure, but I’m just so thankful to be able to do what I do for a living. I’m very thankful to have the life that I have, and to have the opportunity to compete on a stage like this, in a tournament like this, and to be able to pull it off is a huge bonus for me.”
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