Rocco Mediate described himself as a "habitual alcoholic" during a recent interview with Golf Channel, revealing he often drank during competitive rounds on both the PGA Tour and PGA Tour Champions. Mediate said he used alcohol, in part, to cope with back injuries that plagued him throughout his career.
"Absolutely I have [played while drinking]," Mediate told Golf Channel's Vince Cellini on the latest episode of PGA Tour Champions Learning Center. "Because it was just normal for me. It was just a daily ritual, let's say. 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."
Mediate says he kicked the habit in October 2017 with the help of his wife following a poor season on the course.
"I couldn't tell you since last October, years before that, a day I went without having a drink," Mediate said. "I knew at the time that eventually it was going to get me."
Mediate won six times on the PGA Tour, most recently at the 2010 Frys.com Open. The 56-year-old has added three more titles on the PGA Tour Champions.
Of course, he's probably best known for losing in a playoff to Tiger Woods at the 2008 U.S. Open. When asked about Woods, who has suffered from a bad back in recent years and was arrested for DUI on Memorial Day in 2017 for a combination of prescription medications, Mediate related.
"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.'"