On June 6, David Feherty will host The Feherty Classic at Royal Ottawa Golf Club in Gatineau.
Through years of poking fun at himself and others with his wicked sense of humour, David Feherty figures there’s only one guy — Colin Montgomerie — who’s held a grudge.
Years ago, Feherty called Montgomerie — the former PGA Tour star now playing on the Champions Tour — Mrs. Doubtfire. As the nickname caught on with golf fans — let’s face it, there really is a strong resemblance — Monty got more and more ticked off.
“He’s never gotten over it,” said Feherty, the longtime golf commentator, Tuesday. “It doesn’t come from a harmful place. I know most people are big enough that if somebody is poking fun at them, they poke fun back.”
The 63-year-old Feherty likes to laugh; and he loves to hear laughter. No BS, with a folksy Irish delivery, it’s part of who he is. On June 6, he’ll host The Feherty Classic at Royal Ottawa Golf Club in Gatineau. Feherty will roam the fairways with former Ottawa Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson, former NFL stars Terry Bradshaw and Emmitt Smith and three-time PGA Tour winner Pat Perez during a nine-hole celebrity skins game — expected to raise $50,000 for Ronald McDonald House and The Royal/Mental Health Care and Research. That’ll be followed by a 90-minute stage show filled with comedy and Q and A’s with Feherty and his guests.
There’s also a stop near Toronto — June 7 at Milton’s Glencairn Golf Club (with former Leafs goalie Curtis Joseph appearing instead of Alfredsson).
Asked about the cast of celebrities — everyone will be miked up — Feherty said: “I don’t know Alfie as well, but he’s a good guy and a great player. Terry is a character like no other. Emmitt hits the ball really well. Most of these running backs don’t play much golf; they can hardly walk. But Emmitt is in amazing shape. And he’s funny. Pat is one of the really great characters left on the PGA Tour.”
Also on hand for a great day of golf and laughter will be trick shot artist Dan Boever. So what can people expect?
“It’s basically a cynical a–hole of a commentator watching these four guys play golf and giving them a bunch of s–t … and the other way around,” said Feherty.
Real life is what Feherty bases his act on; there’s not much of a filter for a guy who’s fought demons in his personal journey.
“I’m an addict, I’m an alcoholic, I live with mental illness,” he said. “Addicts deny it until it becomes so much of a problem you have to do something about it. It sort of snuck up on me slowly. I was drinking a bottle of whiskey a day, it got up to nearly two bottles – that was the bottom of the pit for me. One day, I was lying on my La-Z-Boy chair watching TV, there was an empty bottle of Bushmills on the coffee table beside me. My daughter, who was six or seven at the time, climbed up on me and put her nose right on my nose. She had this funny little grin and said, ‘Dad you need another bottle.’ Those words sort of carved themselves into my brain. I thought, ‘The wisdom of a child, she’s right. I do need another. That’s the problem.’ So I went and got another one.
“I bumped into Tom Watson in a made-for-TV thing in Prince Edward Island — he was playing Jack Nicklaus and I was doing the on-course commentary. Tom took me under his wing, he took me back to Kansas and took me to his meeting. I didn’t know Tom was an alcoholic, very few people did. He put himself out there for me and he’s been like a big brother ever since.
“There were a lot of low points for me. A lot of that comes with bipolar depression. There were times where I didn’t want to go on. I’d had it. My wife said she couldn’t go on seeing me be so f—ed up. I take my medicine. It’s kind of frightening to be so reliant on chemicals. At The Open championship three years ago, I lost my medicine, After two days, I could barely put a sentence together. My wife had to fly it over from the States or I wouldn’t have been able to work the tournament. I don’t regret anything I did. I wouldn’t be in the place I am now if I had done anything differently. I was the right drunk in the right bar when CBS needed a commentator.”
Feherty was a solid golfer, but he admits he wasn’t committed enough to push himself to another level. When he got to speak about the great game of golf and its wonderful characters, he became a star with his wit and wisdom. His words got him behind a microphone with major networks and with the Golf Channel, where he hosted, Feherty, a weekly prime-time talk show
“I’m happiest when I’m on stage,” he said. “I’ve had some success and plenty of failure. (The show) is a bunch of Irish humour and stories of life on tour. I love what I’m doing – more than anything than I’ve done in my career. Being able to make people laugh is tremendously therapeutic for me, it makes me feel good. It’s almost a control thing; you feel in charge of something for the first time in your life.”
Run over by a truck while riding a bicycle 16 years ago, crushing his left side, six weeks ago Feherty played his first game of golf since. He shot a 79.
“I still can’t close my left hand properly,” he said. “Golf has been off my menu for a long time. I played and it didn’t hurt too badly. Maybe in another 16 years, I’ll give it another go. I didn’t hit the ball anywhere near the centre of the club face, but I kind of remembered bits and pieces here and there.”
Limited day passes to The Feherty Classic, available on a limited basis, are $169. To buy tickets, go to fehertyofftour.com/classic.
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