For the first time in more than 18 months, the cloud over Patrick Sullivan lifted, just a little. He can peer through the fog. He’s battling every day, like the other 40 million Americans who also suffer from mental illness.
Sullivan, who broke a streak of 18 consecutive missed Web.com Tour cuts at the Savannah Golf Championship – and went on to finish T24 – says he doesn’t mind talking about his battle with anxiety and depression now.
But it’s been a struggle.
“It’s hard to function in life,” he says, “let alone play golf.”
The 35-year-old turned professional in 2006, but left the rigors of professional golf in 2010 and, for almost five years, worked as an assistant golf professional at two clubs in his native Arkansas after getting married.
He started playing professional golf again in the beginning of 2015 – a few events on the Mackenzie Tour-PGA TOUR Canada, a few on PGA TOUR Latinoamerica, but mostly on a mini-tour in the southern U.S. as he prepared to get back out on the road – and earned Web.com Tour playing privileges via Q-School in fall 2017.
Sullivan finished 205th on the money list after missing the cut in 15 straight tournaments to end the year. He went back to Q-School and finished tied for 50th at Final Stage, earning conditional status but one shot shy of guaranteed starts.
But Sullivan, who started working with a therapist last year, was urged by a doctor to start taking an anti-depressant about a month-and-a-half ago. It’s been tough for Sullivan on the course, but off the course it’s been arguably even tougher.
“I know I still have a long way to go. It’s been a tough year-and-a-half with lots of frustrations,” Sullivan admits. “It’s not feeling like I’m playing bad golf, but just not where I should be mentally.
“During tournament week you’ve got your routine and that keeps you going. But during off-weeks, you have no motivation to do anything. It’s hard to keep your game up when you’re not motivated to practice, let alone do anything (else).”
But the Savannah Golf Championship was the first event Sullivan played while on an anti-depressant, and he felt as though there was a breakthrough, albeit a small one.
The craft-beer connoisseur says he has a dream to one day open a brewery – a little spot for beer and food – in Little Rock, a town that has gone through a craft beer revolution in the last couple of years.
He wants to have some success and make enough money to do that.
“It was terrible for so long,” he says of the craft beer scene in his hometown, but also, perhaps, of his own life away from golf, “but now we’ve finally got some good things going.”
In his own words, Sullivan breaks down his battle with anxiety.