Feherty: Right Place, Right Time
David Feherty is an on-course golf commentator for CBS-TV, an author, a stand-up comedian and a new hyped-up citizen of the United States.
But that’s only part of the story. Feherty is man with a mind who doesn’t mind speaking it and, as a result, sometimes finds himself stepping on the toes of some people who don’t agree with all his rhetoric.
If so, that’s too bad, because Feherty isn’t backing off from his beliefs.
The Ireland native visited Myrtle Beach last week as part of his contract with Sports Illustrated Golf Group, which is corporate sponsor for the Golf.com World Amateur Handicap Championship. He spoke at a luncheon held at The Dunes Beach & Golf Club on Thursday, then entertained the raucous World’s Largest 19th Hole at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center that night. He’s a funny man.
“CBS hired me because I was in the right place at the right time when Ben Wright got fired,” he said in an interview later. “They hired me because I’m an expert on golf, and it became my job to predict what Tiger Woods was going to do on the golf course. I thought, ‘You know what? I can do that.’
“But I had to calibrate what I knew about the game because of Tiger. He doesn’t play the game like anyone else.”
Feherty, who retired from playing golf in 1997, has no regrets about leaving the game. Although he played the European and PGA Tours for 21 years, winning five times on the European Tour and playing on the 1991 European Ryder Cup team, he’s content with his life.
“I hated the competition of golf,” he said. “The only thing I really enjoyed was being in the lead when the tournament ended. I was usually in a controlled state of panic. For me, it was a job. Now I’m doing something for a living that is more like a hobby. Just the thought of having to play again gives me the shakes.”
Feherty was seriously injured in 2008 when he was struck by a truck while riding his bicycle.
“I don’t play golf at all anymore,” he said. “My left arm was crushed and I can’t grip a club with my left hand.”
He still rides his bike religiously, getting up at 3 or 4 a.m. to pursue what has become a passion. As a result of no longer drinking alcohol and riding the bike, Feherty has gone from pudgy to slim, but admits he’s also had surgery.
“I’ve lost 70 pounds,” he said, proudly patting his flat stomach. “I’ve gone from a 40-inch waist to 30 inches. This is the second time I’ve lost a lot of weight. I did it the first time by dieting and exercise. This time I did it the American way — I had a gastric bypass.”
Feherty, who admits that he is an alcoholic, says, “I was drinking about two bottles of Bushmill a day before CBS hired me.”
Feherty, who writes a monthly column for Golf Magazine, is a staunch supporter of the American military and has done a lot of work with wounded personnel returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.
“I can relate to them,” he said, “because of some of the things I’ve been through. I’m mentally ill; have to take medication every day for depression and alcohol dependency.
“I feel I can help them and it’s so therapeutic for me. I grew up in Northern Ireland and I know what it’s like to be in a war zone. I think there’s been a gap between the public and the military since the Jane Fonda era and most of our wars have been unpopular.
“But our military are very special people. No matter how badly they’ve been wounded, they always wish they could go back there and be with their buddies.”
Feherty, who has authored four books — “A Nasty Bit of Rough,” “Somewhere in Ireland a Village is Missing an Idiot,” “An Idiot for All Seasons,” and “David Feherty’s Totally Subjective History of the Ryder Cup” — sometimes gets in trouble with his frank way of speaking or writing.
For example, in April 2009, he wrote in a Dallas magazine:
“From my own experience visiting the troops in the Middle East, I can tell you this, though: Despite how the conflict has been portrayed by our glorious media, if you gave any U.S. soldier a gun with two bullets in it, and he found himself in an elevator with Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and Osama bin Laden, there’s a good chance that Nancy Pelosi would get shot twice, and Harry Reid and bin Laden would be strangled to death.”
CBS, which was under some pressure to censor Feherty, issued a statement that the writing was an “unacceptable attempt at humor,” and voiced hope that he would use better judgment in the future.
Feherty continues writing edgy material, though, and apparently has no plans to curb his thoughts.
“I’ve been given tremendous license,” he said of his writing for Golf Magazine. “I write about a lot of things other than golf because I feel there’s enough golf in the magazine.”
Contact Howard Ward at firstname.lastname@example.org
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