Rocco Mediate has six PGA Tour wins and three PGA Tour Champions wins, including the Senior PGA Championship. Throughout much of his career, he’s also has a notoriously bad back that’s caused him a lot of pain. Now Mediate admits, to cope with the pain he developed an alcohol problem that included drinking during competitive rounds.
Speaking with Golf Channel for their “PGA Tour Champions Learning Center” show, Mediate told Vince Cellini about his struggles as a “habitual alcoholic.”
Before giving up drinking on Oct. 23, 2017, Mediate said he couldn’t recall a day in recent memory that he didn’t have a drink of alcohol. The 56-year-old used alcohol as medication for the excruciating back pain he experiences.
“Absolutely I have (played while drinking). Because it was just normal for me. It was just a daily ritual, let’s say,” Mediate said. “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 admitted to driving while intoxicated, suggesting he was fortunate to not have been caught in the past.
Eventually, Mediate decided on his own he needed to give up drinking. His 2017 season produced just one top-10 finish in 18 starts on the no-cut circuit, and it was indicative of his problem. Mediate said he quit cold turkey and felt a compulsion headache for about “four hours” and has been fine since.
Hopefully Mediate is able to receive medical treatment to help out his chronic back problems.