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By Joel Beall
PGA Tour player Chris Kirk announced overnight that he is taking a leave of absence for alcohol abuse and depression.
“I have dealt with alcohol abuse and depression for some time now,” Kirk said in a statement. “I thought I could control it, but after multiple relapses I have come to realize that I can’t fix this on my own. I will be taking an indefinite leave from the PGA Tour to deal with these issues. I don’t know when I will be back, but for now I need my full focus on being the man my family deserves. Thank you for the support.”
The announcement cames a day before Kirk’s 34th birthday.
Tomorrow I will celebrate my 34th birthday but I have already begun a new and better chapter in my life. Thank you to my friends and family for being there for me. pic.twitter.com/XJjFYyojlh
— Chris Kirk (@Chris_Kirk_) May 7, 2019
Kirk is in the midst of a career slump. He’s 179th in the FedEx Cup standings, and ranks 140th in strokes gained. He’s missed 11 cuts in 17 starts and six of his last eight, with only one top-25 finish in these appearances, an output that’s a far cry from Kirk’s performance just a few seasons ago. Reaching as high as No. 16 in the world rankings, Kirk is a four-time winner on tour, and was a member of the 2015 United States Presidents Cup team. Kirk’s last win came four years ago at the 2015 Colonial. He has made the FedEx Cup Playoffs in the last eight consecutive seasons.