David Feherty: The Addict Who Is a “Plaid Jacket at a Funeral”

If you watch only “Major” golf on TV like I do, it means that you […]

Howie Espenshied / 6.16.16

If you watch only “Major” golf on TV like I do, it means that you limit your golf viewing to the four Majors (Masters, U.S. Open, British Open, PGA). My favorite day among the majors is coming up Sunday. The final round of the US Open always falls on Father’s Day–the perfect license for a full throttle veg-out session on the sofa. I’m not a golfer, but I find the Majors compelling, mostly when I hear the affable Irish commentary of David Feherty. He doesn’t sound like the other (rightfully ridiculed) dime-a-dozen commentators who speak in hush tones lest they disturb the nap I’m having while watching. Feherty is loud and bawdy and has a blast out there. He’s the voice for the casual golf viewer, like me.

Real Sports did a 15 minute feature on Feherty this month (below) that is not to be missed. Feherty was a fairly good golfer during his career as a pro, especially considering that he has battled extreme alcohol and drug addiction, and depression, and bi-polar disorder along the way. That’s quite a cocktail of illnesses.

(If you’re limited on time, start around the 10 minute mark to see Feherty’s conversation with PGA all-timer Tom Watson, who has become somewhat of a sponsor for Feherty).

In this exchange with Bryant Gumbel, Feherty talks about his downward spiral into addiction.

DAVID FEHERTY: I was a spectacular drunk. I was good at it. It kind of brought me out of my shell, I think, initially. And then I just developed a tolerance, which was extraordinary.

BRYANT GUMBEL: Was the objective to get to the place or was it just a great companion?

DAVID FEHERTY: It was always to get to the place. And every alcoholic or addict will know what that means. For most of us, I think it’s close to oblivion.

BRYANT GUMBEL: Alcohol tends to take not only your sense away, but money too.

DAVID FEHERTY: I drank a Porsche every year, probably. Couple of bottles of whiskey a day.

BRYANT GUMBEL: Always whiskey?

DAVID FEHERTY: Not always. You know, sometimes I would drink vodka and Gatorade, because I was still an athlete.

Feherty needed true “great companions” to help him not to go to “the place”. He needed something outside of himself to assist him in struggling well with his addictions and demons. Isn’t it amazing that those of us who perhaps struggle with none of Feherty’s afflictions need the exact same thing?