Beyond Golf — 20 June 2012 by Bob Sherwin
David Feherty is the joke

David Feherty is one of those fools you remember from high school who does anything for a laugh, pratfalls, rude behavior, sharp-edge conversations without boundaries. You never know if there’s something real or genuine inside him or he’s merely a perpetual gag puppet. He’s as deep as a shallow giggle, which also is his unceasing career goal.

Or as Ernie Els calls him, ”a shock jock.”

Feherty, the golf commentator for CBS and the Golf Channel, drew the ire of easy-going Els for his comment on Els’ more recent putting difficulties. While introducing Els on the tee at the Travistock Cup in March, Feherty said Els has just “undergone a full frontal lobotomy” and would be putting “with a live rattlesnake.”

Perhaps that was funny to some people but not to Els, who one day earlier had missed a four-foot putt on the 72nd hole of the Transitions Championship to miss out on the playoffs. That’s rubbing a wound with a bristle brush.

“I’ve known David for a long time, but for him to have said that was totally shocking and, well, not out of character, because he tries to shock the world all the time. But it was a low blow,” Els said in a recent Golf Magazine story.

“It wasn’t a very classy move, but then again it’s how he makes his living these days. He’s kind of a shock jock. I knew he was going to say something. Shock the world, get your two minutes of fame. As an athlete, going through those emotions, it’s not the greatest feeling to have, especially when he calls you a friend. At the end of the day, I screwed up in front of a lot of people on live television. But I’m still in the game. I didn’t quit.”

It should be noted that Feherty might not know how tough it was for Els to miss that putt and the playoffs. He was never in that position on the PGA Tour. He never won an event. He quit playing in 1997 at age 38, as no doubt his bouts with alcohol and depression had something to do with it. Els, by the way, has 64 tour wins, 18 in the U.S., has won three majors and was once ranked the world’s No. 1 golfer.

Feherty, with his occasional silly faces and messed up hair to trump up his cockamamie and wacky facade, does a decent job on his Golf Channel one-on-one interviews, although you might notice that his questions and responses always seem to involve his own experiences as much as the person he’s interviewing.

He enjoys drawing attention to himself, primarily for his own amusement but, in his mind, for the audience to ascertain how clever and deeply humorous he is. He isn’t. In a recent trailer for one of his shows, he’s shown walking along a banked hill then slipping Charlie Chaplin-like to the bottom, as if by total accident. Oh, my, who would have ever imagine that could have happened? Totally unexpected and spontaneous. Just more wild/crazy hilarity from Feherty.

You’re not sure who’s the bigger fool, Feherty or the viewer for being subjected to the bogus pratfall. We’re all back in high school again.

Full disclosure here, Feherty first got my attention for one of his most unfunny and inappropriate ‘jokes’ he wrote three years ago in Texas Magazine. Feherty, who lives in Dallas (which explains everything) wrote a guest column on George W. Bush deciding to move from Crawford to Dallas.

“From my own experience visiting the troops in the Middle East, I can tell you this,” Feherty wrote. “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.”

If there was humor there, it’s like a search from a weapon of mass destruction. I haven’t found it yet. But to suggest that violence against women is humorous or acceptable is intolerable. People have been fired for much less than that. He was working the next event, no skin shed.

Feherty was forced to apologize but said, ”the passage was a metaphor meant to describe how American troops felt about our 43rd president.” So it wasn’t a joke. It was a metaphor. That makes it so much more acceptable.

While Feherty supports the troops with his foundation, I’ve always believed the best way to show support is to bring them all home. Bush sent them into a war on a lie, without a exit plan, without a mission to accomplish and with insufficient armor. President Obama, although taking more time than necessary, has ended the conflict in Iraq and has a timetable for an exit in Afghanistan. That timetable is too far out but at least he understands the absurdity of thrusting American troops into far-flung intransigent conflicts.

It’s kind of the same thing I’d like to see CBS, which apparently encourages this chump’s unrestrained and unfiltered commentary, do. Send him home.

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Bob Sherwin

Bob grew up in Cleveland, an underdog city with perennial underdog teams, and that gave him an appreciation and an affinity for the grinders in golf, guys such as Rocco Mediate, Jhonattan Vegas and star-crossed John Daly. This is the 46th year for Bob as a sportswriter, the first 34 working for newspapers throughout the west, Tucson (Daily Star), San Francisco (Examiner) and Seattle (Times), and the past 10 years as a freelancer. He has covered just about every sport, including golf tournaments, Tucson Open, Bing Crosby/AT&T Pro-Am, the 1998 PGA Championship, the 2010 U.S. Senior Open, the 2010 U.S. Amateur the 2015 U.S. Open and the annual Champions Tour Boeing Classic. He also writes articles for golf magazines. For most of his 20 years at the Seattle Times his primary beat was the Mariners. He then picked up Washington men's basketball in the winter. He also was the beat writer for the Sonics, including 1996 when they played the Bulls for the NBA title. After a lifetime hacking on public courses, he finally gave in and joined a country club in 2011, the Members Club of Aldarra near Seattle. Despite (or perhaps because) of his 14 handicap, he won the 'Super Senior'' (65 and older) championship in 2017. He has a pair of aces – 37 years apart – and in 2009 came agonizingly close to his ultimate golf goal of scoring in the 70s when he finished with an even 80. He lives in Seattle, and spends part of his winters in Marco Island, Fla.

(1) Reader Comment

  1. avatar

    And who is Bob Sherwin? Your not even in the ballpark to be able to criticize David. How many books and shows have you done?

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