ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – Chris Kirk, whose struggles with alcohol abuse and depression have been well documented, was named the 2023 PGA Tour Courage Award recipient.
The Comeback Player of the Year Award was renamed the Courage Award in 2012 and is given to the “person who, through courage and perseverance, has overcome extraordinary adversity, such as personal tragedy or debilitating injury or illness, to make a significant and meaningful contribution to the game of golf.”
In May 2019, Kirk took a six-month leave of absence from the Tour to address his issues with alcohol abuse and he’s been sober for 4 ½ years. In ’21, he regained his exempt status on Tour and in February he won his fifth Tour title at the Honda Classic.
“I got to the point where I kind of felt golf did this to me. Golf, the pressures of professional golf and having to travel by myself all the time, that’s how I felt. I know now that that’s not true,” Kirk said.
“I really had kind of a hate, a little bit, for competitive golf and everything that came with it. But after getting dug into my recovery and starting to play a little bit of golf again, mentally it was like starting over for me. I just kind of realized that I love playing golf and I love competing, I love trying to go beat people.”
Kirk’s wife, Tahnee, and his family attended Tuesday’s award ceremony as did a half dozen of his fellow Tour members, including Brian Harman and Brendon Todd.
Kirk, 38, is the sixth recipient of the Courage Award, which is not given annually. Erik Compton won the award in ’13 followed by Jarrod Lyle (’15), Gene Sauers (’17), Morgan Hoffmann (’20) and D.J. Gregory (’22).