David Feherty on life, loss and his new gig at LIV Golf | GOLF Originals

The first time I saw David Feherty was in 1991. He was charismatic, half-crazy and running the show on any bus that took the players (and the odd caddie) from a downtown hotel to a European Tour venue. He could talk Belfast politics, standup comedy, weight distribution at the top of the backswing, the Three Tenors, the late-night bar scene in Barcelona — and anything related to Seve. He was loaded with charm and good-looking to boot. That last bit was my wife’s take on him.

I was caddying then for Peter Teravainen, a European Tour journeyman from Massachusetts, and Peter’s golf skill was making life possible and interesting for Christine and me. Feherty liked Peter. Feherty likes people who think for themselves. On that basis, Feherty should like himself, but the Homo sapien is a complicated species.

More recently, I saw Feherty in Las Vegas. This was in January, five days before the Super Bowl. The whole thing scene was unlikely but Feherty’s life is unlikely. LIV Golf had a Vegas event, Feherty is the lead LIV broadcaster and my colleague Darren Riehl and I went there to see Northern Ireland’s gift to the CW for a thing we’re doing for called GOLF Originals. Feherty was to be our original Original, a video series presented by Callaway that we’re launching, both on this site and our YouTube page, to tell the story of golf’s original thinkers.

The author, left, and Feherty in Las Vegas earlier this year. Darren Riehl

When Feherty had his interview show on Golf Channelthe first of his 160 or so guests was maybe the most original of living originals, Lee Trevino. Feherty could not have had a better first subject. They both live in Dallas and Feherty went to see Buck in person and got a quick yes from the Tex-Mex golfing legend.

We got a yes from Feherty, after a wee wait. I sent a text to Dave and about a week later got this response:

Michael, nice to hear from you my friend. I’m in Bumf-ck Kansas hunting quail. Spotty cell service, so I’ll give you a shout early next week pal. Sounds like a nice project, talk to you soon. df 

Now that’s a good text.

Darren and I picked up Feherty outside his Vegas hotel, the Paris. At one point he noted that the walk from his room to the hotel’s porte cochère was a half-mile. He offers his observations as few do.

From the moment Feherty deposited his 65-year-old self into our talkative, four-door Nissan via Hertz, Darren (the show’s producer, director, editor and adult) and I could see that something was different about Feherty. The guy riding shotgun was not the laugh-a-minute Feherty we knew from TV. He was contemplative, still, quiet.

He had just learned that his 92-year-old mother, Vi Feherty, back home in greater Belfast, had just been placed in palliative care. David’s sister was with her, but her son was 5,000 miles away and eight hours behind. It is a gift and a privilege, to see people as they actually are, to hear what is important to them, to observe them at close range. That’s where we were.

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We drove to a Las Vegas strip-mall bookstore called the Psychic Eye Book Shop. Why? I don’t know. Something to do. He’s done enough interviews where he sits in a Windsor chair in some random clubhouse with plaid carpeting and talks about his play in the 1991 Ryder Cup. Yes, a bit and a gag, bringing him to the Psychic Eye, but a fitting one. Per a first-hit Google search on it: “Occult-oriented shop offering books, candles, incense & herbs, plus psychic readings & classes.” Dave was down with it.

I am ill-suited to this new video gig, which we plan to do monthly, as I am a lousy planner (video requires planning) and have a face for typing (the only thing I’ve ever wanted to do) and have a tendency to ramble with interview questions . (I promised Rory McIlroy the other day that he would be astonished with the efficiency of my lone question, but he could not have been.) Early in the ride out, Feherty asked, “So what are we doing here?”

“Trying to keep our jobs,” I said.

Well, yes, but also this: We’re trying to show the inner lining of some wonderful and interesting people in the game, some famous, some obscure, some in between. Golf is golf because of its playing fields, its difficulty, its weird instruments of play, but also, and maybe especially, because of the people drawn to it.

I’ve been playing golf for 50 years and writing about it nearly as long and I feel like I have barely scratched the surface of this game. It feels good.

On our drive out, leaving Paris, The Strip and Allegiant Stadium behind, we saw an I-15 sign pointing the way to Reno. Feherty asked if we were going there. I asked Siri to play the R.E.M. song “All the Way to Reno.” So moody and surfy, for a song with a Nevada dateline. Feherty had a beautiful singing voice as a young man and R.E.M. loved recording in Ireland but all that is just happenstance. Well, what isn’t?

Michael Stipe, taking over our Nissan for a half-minute:

Humming. All the way to Reno. You’ve dusted the non-believers. And challenged the laws of chance.

I had failed to call the bookstore but the manager let us in with a camera anyway, after he heard Feherty’s accent. David is a beautiful and unlikely person.

Hope you enjoy the show.

Michael Bamberger welcomes your comments at

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