Chris Kirk has four victories on the PGA tour. He has won millions during his career, but those millions could not prevent him from experiencing battles with alcohol and depression.
It takes strength to ask for help, and that’s what the 35-year-old did last May when he took an indefinite leave from professional golf to address issues with alcohol abuse and depression. Once ranked as high as 16th in the world, he felt his world spiraling both on and off the course and knew he needed to act.
“I’m a completely different person than I was two years ago,” Kirk said. “When you’re faced with a situation where you’re completely out of control of your own life, it changes things.”Chris Kirk considered walking away; now he’s sober and once again winner
“I think it just means more, with everything that he’s gone through,” said caddie Michael Cromie, who like Kirk played college golf at Georgia. “He took it all on himself, taking a step back from the game. And then with the virus starting, it was like, ‘Man, I just forced myself off for 6-7 months, and now I’m off again.’ So he just wanted to play, and it’s pretty cool that he was able to get it done in his second start back.”Chris Kirk considered walking away; now he’s sober and once again winner
Kirk might have allowed the emergence of the Corona Pandemic to set him back, instead, he kept his head down and worked on his game.
With an oversized Heritage field rendering his status as first alternate effectively useless, Kirk could have taken a week off and spent more time at home. His PGA Tour status is not in question, as he’ll be back among his usual ranks in Detroit in two weeks.
But instead he opted to drop down a level and roll the dice with an unexpected start in his first Korn Ferry event since 2010. What resulted was a glimpse into his potential, and what he hopes will become a breakthrough victory that could fuel further results as he continues his road to recovery both on and off the course.
“I’m hoping that some of the shots I hit down the stretch today will give me a bit more of that when I return to the PGA Tour, because I know my good is plenty good enough,” Kirk said. “It’s just a matter of seeing it and feeling it, and having some of that momentum carry over.”Chris Kirk considered walking away; now he’s sober and once again winner