Veteran PGA Tour player Rocco Mediate told Golf Channel that he used to be a "habitual alcoholic'' and at times drank during competitive rounds.
Mediate, who now plays on PGA Tour Champions and is likely best known for losing to Tiger Woods in an 18-hole playoff at the 2008 U.S. Open, suffered with back issues throughout his career and cited that as among the reasons for his drinking problem.
"Absolutely I have [played while drinking]," he said during a Golf Channel instructional program. "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, 56, won six times on the PGA Tour, his first victory coming in 1991. He has added three more titles on the Champions circuit for players 50 and older. Mediate said he gave up drinking in October 2017.
"I couldn't tell you since last October, years before that, a day I went without having a drink," Mediate said. "I know at that time that eventually it was going to get to me."
Mediate, who is most closely associated with Woods due to his near-miss at Torrey Pines in 2008, said his own struggles gave him a better understanding of what Woods was dealing with following spinal fusion surgery in April 2017. In May of that year, Woods was cited for DUI in relation to several prescription medications.
"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.'"
Mediate had a poor year on the course in 2017 and decided later in the year, with the help of his wife, Jessica, to quit drinking.
"I actually didn't know what I was going to feel," he said. "I was hoping that I didn't need to have it. I didn't need alcohol. I just wanted it. I enjoyed it. Simple as that. If I woke up and I was like, 'Oh, God,' then we have some serious problems called rehab. Didn't want to have to do that. Had a small headache for about four hours, and that was the end. Done."