Former PGA Tour star Willy Wilcox revealed he battled crippling drug addictions while at the top level of the game.
The 35-year-old went public earlier this week with his story in an interview with Fire Pit Collective, revealing he took drugs including heroin as he climbed through the ranks.
He also admitted he was suspended during his debut season on the main circuit after failing two drug tests.
“It’s just so crazy I lost the beginning of my rookie Tour season because I got caught doing things that are now legal and reasonably safe,” Wilcox said.
“I still can’t believe it wasn’t the other stuff.”
Asked exactly what the “other stuff” was, he replied: “The pills. Opioids. Oxycontin. Hydrocodone. Percocet. Muscle relaxants. Xanax. Heroin. I was a drug addict with a PGA Tour card.”
Wilcox admitted that at some points he was playing with so many drugs in his system that he was “an inch from death”. He also revealed the depths of his personal turmoil, which began when when he was a teenager befriended by older children, had harmed relationships with his family and friends.
.@willwilcoxgolf shot 65 in a competitive round on the PGA Tour but no one could have imagined what happened beforehand.
— Fire Pit Collective (@firepitstories) April 12, 2022
He stunned the world of golf by holing out at the 17th at the 2016 Players Championship.
But his addiction and health continued to worsen along with his play as he lost his PGA Tour card, then the remaining playing privileges he had on the Korn Ferry Tour.
That led to his retirement at the end of last year, and a near-death experience which led him to share his story, admitting “it was now or never”.
Wilcox hopes to help others suffering addiction, and could make a return to competitive golf if he is able.
“I made millions of dollars playing on professional golf’s biggest stage and blew a significant percentage of those winnings on drugs,” he said.
“All of these things happened without almost anyone knowing.”