News & Opinion

Feherty peels back darker, vulnerable side

David Feherty, the wisecracking court jester of golf, can be brutally honest and emotionally raw away from his job as NBC analyst and talk show host. A few years ago, Feherty opened up about his battles with bipolar disorder, alcohol and drug abuse.

But in an interview with Bryant Gumbel on HBO’s Real SportsFeherty said he recently relapsed after 10 years of sobriety, haunted by the death of his son. 

Shey Feherty, who also wrestled with mental illness and drug addiction, died of an overdose on July 29, 2017, his 29th birthday. Shey was the eldest of Feherty’s two sons with his first wife, Caroline DeWitt. He has three children with his second wife, Anita.

Feherty explained, shortly after his son’s death, “I was at a friend’s ranch and I’d gone up there to be by myself. I thought, ‘You know what? I’ve been sober 10 years. I’m tired of it. You know, I’m tired of being sober. I wanna feel better.’ And I convinced myself that it would make me feel better.

“So, there was a bottle of Irish whiskey there, which is, like, an angel cryin’ on my tongue. But oddly enough, it didn’t – tasted awful. But I made myself drink more. I thought, ‘Hey, I’ve got this under control. I don’t have to drink that much.’ You know, the next day I did the same thing, and I thought, ‘Well, I’ve got it under control.’ Before I knew it, you know, it had me under control.”

Feherty added he is once again sober, but thinks of his son with regrets each day, explaining, “I apologize to him every day. I’m sorry, son. You know, I wasn’t there. I just … I mean I just wasn’t there. I was always gone. Times that I was drunk. The times that I was high. They could have been times I would have spent with him.”

TAP-INS
 This is the entirety of a story recently reported by NPR.org: A bird dropped a fish onto a golf course in Tampa during an event. An onlooker rushed onto the grass, rescued the fish as it flopped around, and dropped it right back into the pond.

OK, well, according to USGA Rules, if it was exercised from knee height, that’s a good drop. That fish is in play.

 Now that PGA Tour players are wearing shorts during practice rounds, Phil Mickelson has gotten attention for his muscular calves. Playing along, he promised to share the secret of how he developed  “calves like Adonis.” To that end, Mick the Thick has posted two videos on Twitter, i.e.  parts 1 and 2 of “Phil Kwon Do Calves.” In part 2, Mickelson demonstrates his remarkable ability to work his calves while sleeping. Let’s face it, you can’t teach that.

You also can’t do it, really, but  … 

 Prolific best-selling writer James Patterson has a golf fiction novel ready to hit stores April 8. Co-authored with Peter De Jonge, the novel, entitled Miracle at St. Andrews, follows the escapades of Travis McKinley, a former advertising writer turned pro golfer, struggling to find his way upon losing his senior tour card. 

As senior players on the outside looking in at PGA Tour Champions status might speculate, it’s not a happy ending. 

YOU MAKE THE CALL
Noted bomber Laura Davies recently told Golfweek this about LPGA rookie Anne van Dam, “She’s the longest woman I’ve ever played alongside.” In response, the always understated Brandel Chamblee, tweeted “She my well have the best swing in golf right now.” Fair enough because it leaves open the possibility she might not have the best swing in golf right now. 

The 23-year old van Dam, from Arnhem, Netherlands, is in the Kia Classic this week, so you might judge for yourself. Here is a 2018 Instagram posting of her move

QUOTEWORTHY
"Give me golf clubs, fresh air and a beautiful partner ... and you can keep the clubs and the fresh air."
— Jack Benny


Dan O’Neill, who covered golf for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch from 1989 to 2017, is an editorial consultant on golf for Fox Sports. His articles have appeared in publications such as Golfweek, Golf World, Golf.com and The Memorial magazine. 

Email: dan13153@gmail.com
Twitter: @WWDOD