Golf commentator David Feherty has some stories to tell
David Feherty’s never been at a loss for words.
The 58-year-old native of Northern Ireland had a 20-year pro-golf career, spent mainly on the European Tour, where he won five times over a six-year period.
He’s also had well-documented struggles with depression and alcoholism — and recently moved to NBC from CBS, for whom he’s been an analyst since retiring from the game in 1997.
He’s at Vancouver’s Chan Centre on Thursday night, telling stories from a diverse career.
Here are a few of Feherty’s unique opinions, from recent interviews:
• On the strangest thing he’s seen on the golf course: “Tiger Woods. The way he played from ’97 to the middle of the first decade of the new century. It was like watching a creature from a different planet. It’s my job to predict what players will do in a given situation. I’ve never felt so unqualified in my life. And every now and then he’d turn to me after he’d hit one of these shots and say, ‘You called that, didn’t you?’ And I’d say, ‘I don’t know what you are, but there weren’t two of them on Noah’s ark.’”
• On his love of curling: “All curling stones are made from the same rock, which comes from the mountains of Aisla Craig (in Scotland), which I can see from my bedroom window on a clear day. We have a saying that if you can see it, it’s going to rain, and if you can’t, then it’s already raining. That, and it’s a lot of loud screaming at a rock, which is pretty much what golf is like.”
• On how he got seriously into golf: “I was bored in a geography class. I was 16, and they had just cut the grass outside. It was a spring morning; you could feel the first sort of warmth after winter, and the smell of the grass was like perfume. We were being taught about the average rainfall in western Samoa, and I remember thinking, Well, f__, that’ll be useful. I think I’ll be a professional golfer. I went home and waited for my dad and told him. I had a 5 handicap. He said, ‘Well, if it gives you goosebumps, you better do it. Otherwise you might end up in a job you don’t like.’ It’s incredible he was that supportive.”
• On how he got sober: “It was two things: My wife and Tom Watson. I was doing a TV thing in Canada with Jack Nicklaus and Tom, and at one point, Tom just put his hand over the camera and said, ‘You’re not well, are you?’ and I said, ‘No, I’m not.’ I asked him how he knew, and he said, ‘I can see it in your eyes.’ And I said, ‘What do you see?’ and he said, ‘My reflection.’
“And I didn’t know that Tom had a problem at that point. Very few people did. He said, ‘You need to come with me when we’re done here.’ And I’m trying to back out; we’re on Prince Edward Island, and Tom’s (lives in) Kansas City, so I said, ‘How am I going to get to Kansas City?’ And I hear this voice behind me say, ‘I have a G5!’ (a Gulfstream G550 plane). So I’m getting heckled by Jack Nicklaus, who sent me there with his G5, and I went with Tom and he looked after me for two or three days and I’ve been sober ever since.
“But I would emphasize it has a great deal to do with my wife, as well. When I met her I was penniless, I had lost my damn (playing) privileges in the United States, I was homeless, I had a vehicle that was all I had, because I had been through this horrifying divorce. I was just a penniless, homeless, alcoholic drug addict and she looked at me and said, ‘Well I can fix that.’”