The One (And Only) Time John Daly Got Drunk While Playing In A PGA Tour Tournament

Jon Daly

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John Daly is an absolute legend. In his prime, he was one of the most electric golfers on the planet and became a fan favorite thanks to his ability to party so hard that there’s a legitimate adult beverage named after him.

If you go to any drinking establishment with a bartender who knows their stuff, you can simply say “Let me get a John Daly” and get an Arnold Palmer (named after another iconic golfer who liked to mix lemonade and iced tea) spiked with vodka in return.

That’s just one of the many things Daly will be remembered for when everything is said and done, as the man who has a habit of posting up in an RV in the parking lot of a Hooters near Augusta National during The Masters is at the center of plenty of amazing stories.

In a sport where it is considered improper to wear shorts, Daly pushed the golf world to the limit with his antics both on and off the course during his time on the PGA Tour.

He would routinely wear “wacky” pants, smoke cigarettes on the course, and rip absolute bombs off the tee while remaining seemingly immune to the hard-partying lifestyle he never really attempted to hide.

Daly was (and, it seems, still is) one of those people who could party all night, wake up at 6 A.M., and shoot 4-under before doing it all over again.  Some people are just blessed with the “Mickey Mantle Gene” (the term comedian Bert Kreischer uses to describe athletes with that kind of ability) and John Daly is absolutely one of them.

Take, for example, a practice round that unfolded ahead of the Wyndham Championship in 2008.

Now, practice rounds are arguably just as important as actual rounds when it comes to how a golfer fares in a tournament, as they allow you to hone in on your strategy and get your mind and body right for the real thing. However, Daly still managed to harness it while having one of the most unhealthy days imaginable.

While that round didn’t involve any alcohol, the same can’t be said for another one where he couldn’t stop himself from imbibing a bit.

The Time John Daly Played a PGA Tour Round Drunk

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John Daly would be the first person to tell you he’s played golf while drunk (he’s said he thinks he truly plays his “best golf” while under the influence), but he’s almost always exercised some self-restraint to avoid officially drinking on the job.

As a golfer myself, I have to admit I think he’s on to something. Golf is such a tough game, so taking the mental edge off with the help of some beer (or a John Daly or two) can be a great way to take a few strokes off the card if you manage to find that sweet spot.

In 2016, Daly discussed that particular topic during an interview with Graham Bensinger where he recounted the many times he felt drinking actually gave him an edge on the links.

He asserted that if he was allowed to drink while playing barefoot on the PGA Tour, he would’ve routinely broken course records and “would win every week,” which he credited to the booze’s ability to make his mind (and body) looser and ultimately help him play better.

While he truly believes he played his best golf drunk, he would avoid drinking on the PGA Tour for reasons that should be obvious. Playing with a hangover was another thing entirely; Daly noted he would regularly stay out until 3 or 5 A.M. the night before he was going to tee off and show up to the course running on two hours of sleep and nursing a headache.

However, he admitted to cracking (and cracking open some beer) once while competing at the Los Angeles Open (now known as the “Genesis Invitational), as he had this to say about the one and only time he got drunk during a tournament:

“It was so slow and I played the back nine first. I think I’m 2 or 3 over. I went in the locker room and downed like five beers, and I think I shot 4 under on the front nine.

That is the only time I know that I ever drank during a round, and I played great. I played great that week. I finished strong.”

What a legend. This guy is like a real-life Tim Riggins who happened to play golf.

The next time you’re at a bar, make sure you order a John Daly and pay some respect to the man who once downed five beers in a matter of minutes before he went out to shoot 4-under afterward. It’s the least you can do.

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Tj Francis is an NYC-based writer and comedian who covers weird sports stories and largely forgotten tales involving your favorite athletes, teams, and personalities.