Updated at: 05-06-2023 - By: John Lau

Golf and alcohol have gone hand in hand since the dawn of the sport. From John Daly famously drinking 5 beers on the course and having an incredible back 9 to former PGA Tour golfer Rocco Mediate admitting to being a “habitual alcoholic,” it’s safe to say that golfers are not strangers when it comes to partaking in adult beverages.

Who Are The Biggest Drinkers On The Pga Tour

Key Takeaways

  • The history of drinking on the golf course dates back to the 19th century and is still common amongst professional players today.
  • John Daly, Lee Trevino, Rick Rhoden, Graham Marsh and Dave Hill are all noted for their hard – drinking habits.
  • Alcohol consumption can lead to increased calories in a player’s diet which can affect performance negatively over time due to impairments of reaction times and control accuracy with long term effects as an additional risk factor.
  • The PGA Tour has implemented policies designed towards curbing alcohol consumptions while also promoting responsible from fan safety initiatives up until healthy lifestyle sponsored deals like Michelob Ultra – all aiming for a less heavy atmosphere while preserving some fun element within each tournament round situation .

Drinking Culture On The PGA Tour

The PGA Tour has a longstanding history of drinking culture which is still reflected in the habits and behaviors of some players today.

History Of Drinking On The Golf Course

The history of alcohol consumption on the golf course dates back to the early 19th century and has been a part of golf’s culture ever since. Whilst it is now common for professional events to implement no-alcohol policies, historically socializing over drinks between players was seen as an integral part of visiting golf courses.

One particular anecdote involving alcohol in golf comes from former PGA Tour participant Rocco Mediate who said he drank six cokes during his practice rounds before switching to beer come game time.

Similarly well known golfer John Daly also admitted to casually downing five beers at the turn once whilst playing an event.

Whilst some may still see drinking as part of their regular routine on the green, others acknowledge that excessive amounts are damaging not just physically, but also negatively influencing how sponsors perceive them and subsequently affecting their longterm career prospects.

Top 5 Biggest Drinkers On Tour

Alcohol consumption has been a part of golf culture for decades, with players from John Daly and Arnold Palmer to Ernie Els all having exhibited varying levels of drinking behavior.

The top five golfers most noted for their hard-drinking habits are John Daly, Lee Trevino, Rick Rhoden, Graham Marsh and Dave Hill.

Although alcohol usage on Tour is still relatively common – there has been increasing awareness around health and wellness overall leading to education programs about responsible drinking behavior; along with efforts to increase sponsorship deals non-alcohol related brands .

Effects Of Alcohol On Performance

Besides the various social and psychological implications that alcohol consumption can have for PGA Tour players, it is also thought to be detrimental to their golfing performance.

Studies show that regular alcohol intake can lead to increased calories in a player’s diet, which in turn may adversely impact their game as they are more likely to gain weight or lose muscle mass over time.

Golf legend Jack Nicklaus has said “that alcohol could sharpen one’s short game temporarily but would impair putting abilities eventually.” This proves true given that large amounts of alcohol consumption make impaired judgment commonplace and therefore coordination (specifically with regards to the wrists during a putt) become difficult due possibly small involuntary shakes or movements called tremors.

Additionally, high levels of ethanol in the body can worsen motor skills alongside diminishing concentration levels needed for complex shots like draws/fades around obstacles on fairways and greens respectively .

The PGA Tour’s Stance On Alcohol

Who Are The Biggest Drinkers On The Pga Tour 2

The PGA Tour has implemented policies and sponsorship deals geared towards curbing alcohol consumption while also promoting responsible drinking.

Alcohol Policies On Tour

The PGA Tour does not prohibit the consumption of alcohol by golfers on the tour, but it is generally considered a breach of etiquette. Prior to their sponsorship deal with Anheuser-Busch in 2019, official policies prohibited association with gambling companies and limited alcohol sales and advertising to only beer and wine companies.

Despite this restriction, there are still detailed policies surrounding the sale, distribution, and monitoring of alcoholic drinks available at all PGA Tour events.

With fan safety as a priority for tournament organizers the 2023 PLAYERS event will feature an ‘elevated drinking experience’ including improved bar settingsalong with designated areas monitored by staff members trained through Responsible Alcohol Management (RAM).

In recent years, issues over excessive drinking have been raised by players like Rory McIlroy who highlighted concerns regarding these practices that can damage both player behavior as well as sports reputation.

In response to these worries rules such as limiting certain types of drink deals specifically around tournaments (called “ancillary rights”) were enforced alongside initiatives dedicated solely to promoting responsible drinking among fans so they remain safe throughout tournaments.

Sponsorship Deals With Alcohol Companies

The PGA Tour is often associated with its long-standing beer and wine sponsorships, including Michelob ULTRA’s landmark deal in 1994. In recent years, the tour has taken a more flexible approach to alcohol advertising deals, expanding their partnerships with liquor companies such as Anheuser Busch and Diageo.

These sponsorship agreements provide major companies with visibility during broadcasted events and access to key demographics within the golfing world.

Despite these lucrative collaborations there are inherent ethical issues surrounding alcohol promotion inherent in gambling or sport activities due its association with excess consumption and negative health outcomes associated with irresponsible drinking.

As a result, the PGA Tour has implemented several initiatives designed towards promoting responsible drinking through improved fan education on the dangers of overconsumption while continuing to offer an elevated social experience onsite at large scale tournaments like The Players Championship through well managed lounges that limit access only to those 21+ years of age,.

Increased Focus On Health And Fitness

In recent years, the PGA Tour has shifted its focus from celebrating excess on and off the golf course to encouraging better health habits among both professional golfers and fans.

For some players that have struggled with drinking problems in the past such as Billy Horschel or John Daly, this greater emphasis on personal health can mean they are more mindful about their own alcohol intake while competing.

Still for other athletes like Jordan Spieth who is poised to make history at this year’s major tournament events emulating greats such as Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods before him – abstinence from any substance until their careers are over is supported by many industry professionals alike.

Shifting Attitudes Towards Drinking

In recent years, the PGA Tour has implemented initiatives to promote responsible alcohol consumption and increased focus on health and fitness among its players.

Initiatives Promoting Responsible Drinking

This is a topic of increasing importance for not only the PGA Tour, but all professional sporting bodies around the world. The ESG has launched initiatives aimed at promoting changes in attitudes towards drink driving as part of their “Society 2030: Spirit of Progress”.

The PGA Tour is also committed to leading the advancement of sustainability in the industry. Toward this end, they are set to serve their signature drinks at THE PLAYERS 2023 and sponsorships deals with certain alcohol companies have increased along with player’s earnings over time.

This rise suggests an acceptance and normalization within the sport even though initiatives such as LIV Golf have been created which hopes to position itself differently by being solely player-focused event unlike what has historically been seen from other touring golf group including the PGAs traditional tour.

Education On The Effects Of Alcohol On Performance And Health

Professional athletes have to maintain the highest standards of physical and mental health, as they compete in an environment where any impairment can lead to sub-optimal performance, or worse still, an accident with potential life-threatening consequences.

Golfers on the PGA Tour are no different; excessive drinking can negatively affect overall performance due to dehydration and fatigue. Studies have shown that even moderate drinking for a single night decreases reaction times by almost 20%.1], reducing golfers’ driving accuracy and hitting power.

Furthermore, researchers stress the importance of alcohol consumption education amongst professional athletes in order to promote healthier habits and reduce risks associated with substance abuse[3].

As part of this education process it is important for golfers on the PGA Tour understand the difference between responsible social drinking and irresponsible bingeing or regular heavy use; emphasis must be placed upon understanding individual limits when it comes to indulging beverages containing ethanol.

Negative Impact On Sponsorships And Public Image

The negative effect of alcohol sponsorship on the public image of both sponsors and events is one of the biggest challenges faced by professionals in the sporting industry.

Alcohol sports sponsorships have long been associated with a negative consumer perception as they can be seen to encourage irresponsible drinking, especially amongst younger audiences.

This association has caused issues for some major sponsorships such as Gillette’s relationship with Tiger Woods; after humor about Woods’ personal life involving alcohol was widely publicized, their efforts to link his name with their brand resulted in a reduction in viewer retention.

Furthermore, these increased attention to alcoholic brands can reflect poorly upon both the sponsor and event itself if not regulated properly. When questionable practices are made through big-name companies, it leaves attendees awed or open to potential backlash from other viewers and pundits due to its nature when linking it back towards sport teams .

The Future Of Alcohol Culture On The PGA Tour

Moving forward, the outlook on alcohol consumption and its impact on tour performance within the PGA Tour is unclear. With more players discussing their own struggles with addiction, there may be a push to develop better policies and initiatives promoting responsible drinking.

Potential Changes To Policies And Attitudes

The PGA Tour has recently taken steps to adjust the culture of drinking and intoxication amongst its players. With alcohol regulations becoming more severe both on-tour and in countries like Canada, it is important that the PGA Tour proactively addresses any potential public health concerns associated with increased levels of consumption.

A major part of this includes policies addressing individuals who may be suffering out from addiction or abuse – whether they’re a player, caddie, coach or fan.

In terms of sponsorships, one way professional sports organizations are attempting to reduce alcohol consumption is by rethinking sponsorship agreements with companies that produce alcoholic beverages.

The NFL has banned all forms of liquor advertising since 2019 and other leagues have similar policies in place as well as initiatives promoting responsible drinking for their athletes.

On top of this, the PGA tour also provides mental health resources coupled with education programs aimed at better understanding how substance use can impact physical conditioning and overall performance – ultimately helping players become more aware when making decisions about what substances to consume or not consume accordingly.

So far these methods seem to have proven effective; encouraging changes in traditional habits towards healthier lifestyles even beyond the financial motivations given by sponsorships related to health products.

Though certain cases still occur on the tour due to addictive personalities/drugs problems for some golfers – generally speaking there seems to be an increasing push towards recognition among players that excessive alcohol can lead serious implications down the line physically (elevated risk heart conditions) and mentally (compromised emotional stability).

Impact On The Next Generation Of Golfers

As the next generation of golfers is beginning to take center stage, many questions arise about how alcohol culture may play a role in their development as athletes. A major part of golf culture has long been associated with enjoying a drink on the course – whether it’s beer, spirits or even whisky.

In recent years however, new initiatives like Michelob ULTRA have motivated changes towards healthier lifestyles and there is an increasing focus on physical activity for this active sport.

The study examining drinking habits in golf determined that while overall physical activity increased when golfers drank whilst playing, it contradicted that same group’s motives for participating which were often related to health and wellness.

This dissonance between wanting to stay fit yet still engaging in activities such as consumption of alcoholic beverages raises serious concerns around its potential impacts on health., In addition, Adobe’s sponsorship further establishes professional sports relationship with companies that sell alcohol reduces any potential barriers against underage use among young people who are just starting out as competitors and could inadvertently think consuming alcohol while playing should be normalised .


As the PGA Tour continues to look for ways to improve the health and well-being of its professional golfers, it is clear that drinking culture needs to be addressed.

The potential consequences are far reaching, ranging from the short-term impacts on performance and health to the long-term implications for sponsorship deals and public image.

Thankfully, there have already been some initiatives introduced that help promote responsible drinking amongst its players while also providing education about both substance abuse and wellness programs.