Golfer Rocco Mediate admits to drinking alcohol on course during tournaments

Rocco Mediate at No. 8 during his debut at the 2013 Allianz Championship on The Old Course at Broken Sound. Getty Images

Golfer Rocco Mediate admits to drinking alcohol on course during tournaments

PGA Tour

Golfer Rocco Mediate admits to drinking alcohol on course during tournaments

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Over a lengthy career as a professional golfer, Rocco Mediate was never very far from his clubs, his caddie and one other essential … alcohol.

Mediate, 56, admitted he was a “habitual alcoholic” during his career on the PGA and Champions Tours before giving it up altogether on Oct. 23, 2017.

That included drinking every day – occasionally during Tour events.

“Absolutely I have (played while drinking). Because it was just normal for me. It was just a daily ritual, let’s say,” Mediate told Golf Channel’s Vince Cellini. “You can put it in a lot of places. A lot of places. Was it every time? No. But most of the time when the pain came in, it wasn’t not going to happen.”

Jun 28, 2018; Colorado Springs, CO, USA; Rocco Mediate after putting on the 13th green during the first round of the U.S. Senior Open golf tournament at the Broadmoor. Mandatory Credit: Michael Madrid-USA TODAY Sports

Rocco Mediate said he used alcohol to help cope with pain from various back injuries. He stopped drinking altogether in 2017. (Michael Madrid/USA TODAY Sports)

Mediate battled frequent back injuries during his career, which included six victories on the PGA Tour and three more on the Champions Tour. He said alcohol was something that helped him deal with the pain.

Then in 2017 – with one top-10 finish in 18 events – he and his wife came to the conclusion that it was time to quit.

“I actually didn’t know what I was going to feel. I was hoping that I didn’t need to have it,” he said. “I didn’t need alcohol, I just wanted it. I enjoyed it. Simple as that.”

Quitting has turned his life – and his golf game around. “Since then, I haven’t even sniffed, looked, wanted” alcohol, he said.

Mediate had seven top-10 finishes in 23 events on the Champions Tour in 2018.

Mediate is perhaps best known for his playoff loss to Tiger Woods in the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines.

Back problems are another thing the two have in common. And Mediate said he could sympathize with Woods, who was using prescription medication for pain when he was cited for DUI in May 2017.

“When that happened, I went, ‘Mm-hmm, yeah. I just didn’t get caught,’ ” Mediate said. “But when it comes to that type of pain, you’ll basically do whatever it takes to be able to go, ‘Oh, that feels better.’ “

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