Story of John Daly playing rugby in a casino is wild even by his standards

John Daly is a cult hero for golf fans. His everyman persona speaks to many fans of the game, and his legend grows by the day. From winning the PGA Championship as an alternate in 1991 to his annual Masters tailgate in the parking lot of a nearby Hooters, Daly has no shortage of theatrics.

While his on-course accomplishments are hefty and impressive, the stories of his debauchery away from the course might be even more legendary. And just when we think we’ve heard them all, another pops up.

On this week’s episode of GOLF’s Subpar, major-winner Steve Elkington added to the Daly lore as he recounted a trip to the casino where Daly showcased some unconventional antics.

As Elkington remembers it, the two of them were walking to the bathroom in the casino one night when a group of South Africans recognized the pair and asked if they knew how to play rugby. Elkington quickly declined, but Daly, never one to back down from a challenge, indulged in the group’s shtick.

John Daly made the most John Daly hole-in-one ever


Jessica Marksbury

“Daly goes down into a three-point stance,” Elkington said. “He comes out of his stance after these three guys, and they absolutely poleaxed him into the wall behind him. It knocked a couple of paintings down.”

Despite the shellacking, Daly didn’t back down. After taking off his boots (they didn’t provide great traction), he lined up for another try at the South Africans.

“I thought he might’ve seriously had a concussion or something after the first time,” Elkington said. “Same deal, they laid him out again. So, I get John, I sit him up on the stairs, and I say ‘Mate, are you ok?’ He said, ‘Yeah, I’m fine.’”

Daly did not come back for round three. Elkington remembers a few hours later, he walked past the bar on his way home, and Daly was seated with a cocktail, still in his socks. There’s rarely a dull moment with Daly.

Check out the entire episode below as Elkington discusses the best shot he’s ever seen at Pebble Beach, his favorite bourbon and more.

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Zephyr Melton is an assistant editor for where he spends his days blogging, producing and editing. Prior to joining the team at, he attended the University of Texas followed by stops with Team USA, the Green Bay Packers and the PGA Tour. He assists on all things instruction and is the staff’s self-appointed development tour “expert.”

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