PGA Golfer Talks about Ex-Wife's Fatal Drug Addiction

Professional journeyman golfer Paul Goydos won a small measure of fame last year after just barely losing out to Sergio Garcia at the PGA Players Championship. Other than that, he's won only two professional tournaments in his long professional career and he currently has no sponsor's logo on his cap.

But Goydos's professional trials paled in comparison to the events of Jan. 17, when his ex-wife, Wendy, died as a result of a seven-year addiction to opiates and methamphetamine.

Goydos talked publically his ex wife's addiction and death for the first time in an interview that appeared in Golf Digest just before this year's Players Championship, a tournament he said he has been dreading due to the attention he knew he would get and the difficulty he has talking about his family's loss.

"I have a problem telling the story, I have a problem reading the story," Goydos told sportswriter John Feinstein, who interviewed him for the Golf Digest article. "The more I think about it, the more tragic it becomes."

"This Is a Disease We Need to Take More Seriously"

Goydos got the call about his wife's passing as he made his way home from a tournament in Hawaii. As the full-time dad and custodial parent for his two teenage daughters, Chelsea, 19 and Courtney, 16, he said that telling them about their mother's death was the hardest thing he has ever had to do.

He also admitted that it took his wife's death for him to truly understand the nature of addiction, telling Feinstein, "She was a person who had a health problem that got away from her and ultimately beat her. I'm just as guilty as everybody being judgmental about this issue. This is a disease we need to take more seriously."

Wendy Goydos started using prescription pain medications to deal with severe and frequent migraine headaches. She eventually began using crystal meth as a way of dealing with the depressive side effects of the opiate medications.

Wendy struggled with addiction for seven years before fatally overdosing at the age or 44. During the years of her addiction she had a child with another man, blamed Paul for tearing apart the family with his work schedule, and eventually lost custody of the children in divorce proceedings.

Goydos said that most people look down on addicts, not understanding that addiction is a disease. He confessed that even he, who knew the whole story, was "as guilty as anyone of being judgmental."

Goydos rebuffed sympathy, saying that the person who deserved it was his ex-wife, who spent the last years of her life trying not to be an addict.

Goydos told Feinstein that he and his daughters choose to remember Wendy the way she was before she got involved with drugs, and he wishes that others would do the same.

"My problem is everyone is dwelling on the last seven years of her life and not talking about the whole 44 years [of her life]," he said. Goydos described Wendy as a wonderful person and a wonderful mother, and said that he decided to open up about her history to set the record straight about who she was and what she struggled with.

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