Let’s face it, four rounds of golf coverage on television can, at times, get bland. Thousands of shots and putts drawn out over four days can give even the most die-hard golf fan an excuse to take a quick nap. But just as soon you start dozing off in your lazy boy the deadpan Northern Irish voice of David Feherty jolts you straight. How could you not wake up when you're laughing so hard?
For nearly 25 years Feherty has been providing golf fans with analysis and entertainment. More specifically, straight-shooting analysis and hilarious entertainment.
We recently caught up with the former tour pro-turned golf analyst-turned talk show host for a Quick Nine as he prepares to kick off Season 10 of Feherty on Golf Channel. Feherty was as candid as always talking about his personal wish list for guests on his talk show, how he knew Rory McIlroy would be just fine after the 2011 Masters, and Patrick Reed, the one guy on tour that almost left him speechless.
SI: David, we’re entering the Florida swing which officially begins the lead up to the Masters. Is there a player that is primed to make a run over the next couple of weeks and become a favorite for Augusta?
David Feherty: Rory is the one that I think of. He's playing nicely, obviously, and the Masters is the one that he cares about most for sure.
I remember after he kind of unraveled on the back nine in 2011, I was genuinely worried about him. I’d watched this kid grow up, and just to unravel like that on that stage concerned me. So, I went around to the house that he was staying at and I just wanted to kind of check up on him. He was in the kitchen and sitting in the corner drinking a Coke with two pals from high school.
I said to him, "you alright son?" And he said, “David, if that’s the worst day I ever have, I’ll be lucky."
I thought to myself, what an amazing attitude for a 21-year old kid to have. That says a lot about who he is.
SI: What about Tiger Woods’s chances at the Masters? Is it too much to expect him to contend again after what he did in 2019?
DF: No, no, it's not too much. I expect him to, I really do. The desire is there. There is motivation. I mean, he just wants to be back so badly it’s almost squeezing out of his pores. I'd be very surprised if he doesn't contend in majors this year.
You can throw out what you saw from him at the Genesis. He hadn’t played well there in the past and he doesn't like the greens and it didn’t have a particularly good vibe for him. I wouldn't look too much into that. When it comes to majors, he's just a different creature.
SI: I want to ask you about a few players. Give me one sentence that would describe each of these guys. Rory McIlroy.
DF: Nobody makes the game look prettier than Rory McIlroy.
SI: Brooks Koepka?
DF: Wow. He’s a kind of a monster in a lot of ways. Sort of the monster you don't want to wake up.
SI: Dustin Johnson?
DF: Oh, geez. DJ, what a beauty! DJ is watching a movie that only DJ can see. (Laughs)
SI: Patrick Reed?
DF: Jesus. You can put that in there actually. Just Jesus. I mean, I don't even know what to say. It's just, it's going to follow him for the rest of his life.
SI: Obviously we know about the rules violation at the Hero in the Bahamas. We know how he handled it, claiming no wrongdoing. He was called out by Koepka last week and Peter Kostis among others. And what does he do? He goes and wins in Mexico. Is Patrick Reed the most polarizing figure in the game of golf today?
DF: I'm not even sure that he's polarizing. I'm not sure there's too many people on the other side, you know what I mean? I mean, "there is no God" was the first thing I said after he'd won last week. There is no God, you know, that's proof of it right there. Amazing. I mean, he is amazing. He's Captain Oblivious, just can let everything run off his back. I've never seen anything like it.
SI: If you were on the course working for NBC or Golf Channel and you witnessed Reed patting down the rough with his three wood before he takes out a six iron and plays the shot, like Peter Kostis claims he witnessed, do you say something as a broadcaster?
DF: Yes. You definitely do. Not necessarily on the air, but I mean, you point that out to your producer for sure. Tell them that you saw something happen and then, it's kind of the producer’s decision.
SI: You’re getting ready to kick off Season 10 of Feherty on Golf Channel. Did you ever think you'd get 10 seasons of this show, David?
DF: God, I didn't think I'd get 10 episodes. Really. I didn't. It's a constant surprise to me. I mean, I ask questions from a position of weakness. I’m never judging anybody. I have guests. I don't have victims. And I think it just sort of appeals to the demographic that we serve.
I'm not Piers Morgan. Those interviews are for him. My interviews are for the Golf Channel audience, not for me.
Scott Van Pelt will be featured on Monday’s new episode of Feherty on Monday at 9 p.m. ET on Golf Channel.
SI: You’ve had 140 to 150 guests on the show over the years. Who’s on your wish list? Give me three people you’d like to have on the show.
DF: Three people. Bill Murray, Martina Navratilova and Tiger Woods. I think Murray is probably aware I’d like to have him on, I’ve said it often enough. The only way to get in touch with him, though, is to leave him a handwritten note at the gym he doesn’t go to (laughs).
SI: What’s the best advice you've ever received from one of your interview subjects?
DF: It came from Bill Russell. I asked him what he would say to any youngster looking to turn pro in any sport.
He thought a little while and he sort of scratched his stubbly beard, and he looked at me and he said, “be kind.” I thought it was just such a beautiful, simple piece of advice. And he’s absolutely right.
I think about Bill often. He just had his 86th birthday the other day. He still gives me s--t about a big chipping contest he beat me in.
He loves the competition, and he says, “all right, let’s have a chipping contest over the water hazard."
He’s 6'11" and left handed and his sand wedge is longer than my three wood. I had three go's at it. Two of which were quite good.
Bill had a shank and a big high duff and then he knocks one to six inches to beat me. That’s the one he continually reminds me about.