US golfer Robert Garrigus, who finished in a tie for third at this month’s US Open, admitted he used to smoke marijuana mid-round on the Nationwide Tour in the early 2000s – and he was not the only one, Golf Digest reported Wednesday.
The 33-year-old, who is enjoying a breakthrough season, struggled with substance abuse early in his career but went through drug rehab and made his way onto the PGA Tour.
Garrigus said that in 2002, six years before the tour instituted drug testing and a year before he got clean, he would sneak off for a smoke while in competition on the Nationwide Tour – the US PGA’s development tour.
"Oh yeah, there were plenty of guys on the Nationwide Tour who smoked in the middle of the round," Garrigus said.
"We always talked about it. You could go in the Porta John and take your drags."
Garrigus said his substance abuse problems started when he was playing golf at Scottsdale Community College and it simply became part of his lifestyle.
"It was all golf and partying," he said. "I never did hard drugs. I never did coke or LSD. It was just smoking and drinking and hanging out with friends.
"The smoking got to be habitual: five, 10, maybe 20 times a day. I didn’t keep track of how much. I constantly needed to be high. And I took it to the max. Every single day. Mostly just smoking, smoking, smoking."
He said now that he has come out the other side, he could realize how "stupid" his behavior was, but he added, "I don’t regret any of it because it put me on the path I’m on now."
PGA Tour vice president of communications Ty Votaw said the tour had no comment.