‚ÄúI‚Äôve been in TV now nearly 16 years, and people say, ‚ÄėWhat are your ambitions?‚Äô And I say, ‚ÄėI just try to go out every day and try to get fired,‚Äô‚ÄĚ Feherty tells me. ‚ÄúSo far, no one takes me seriously enough to actually get fired, you know?‚ÄĚ
Not only is his show returning for another season, but it‚Äôs getting bigger, too. Season 2 of Feherty will expand to 18 hourlong episodes and moves to Mondays beginning Feb. 27 at 10pm ET. Last year, Feherty interviewed luminaries from golf, sports and entertainment like Charles Barkley, Greg Norman, Don Cheadle, Tony Romo, Johnny Miller, Rory McIlroy and Tom Watson.
The show will also include more humorous segments that let the CBS Sports golf commentator‚Äôs sharp wit and self-deprecatingly funny side shine. ‚ÄúWe‚Äôre developing some characters for the show that will be used as either bumpers to commercial or rejoins, or separate roll-in pieces that will be sort of in between sections of the interview that will add a little more irreverence and a bit more humor to it, and are very liable to get my ass fired,‚ÄĚ Feherty says.
More of our interview with Feherty below:
You were recently in Afghanistan on a trip for your Troops First Foundation. What did you do there?
David Feherty: It was a whirlwind six-day trip where we went to Afghanistan, Kuwait and Iraq. There were a couple of times we landed in helicopters and I didn‚Äôt know where the f*** we were. There was a good reason for that. I don‚Äôt think they wanted civilians to know where we were landing. And some of the men that we met on the ground looked suspiciously unlike Americans, but they spoke with Brooklyn accents and wore man dresses and carried strange-looking weapons. So we met a lot of Special Forces.
Can you give us a preview of some of your guests for Season 2?
DF: I‚Äôve interviewed Bill Russell, up in Seattle. The greatest winner in the history of American sports. I‚Äôve got to tell you, if I had my choice, I would be living with Bill Russell right now. He was such a fascinating man. Spellbinding, and one of the very few people that, over the years, I‚Äôve shaken hands with maybe less than a handful of people that I‚Äôve had the same feeling just from physical contact with their hand.
There‚Äôs an aura that Bill Russell has. It‚Äôs sort of a mildly electric sort of warmth. It‚Äôs very difficult to explain or put into words. But you know that there‚Äôs something very special about this man. The last time I felt it I was with Nelson Mandela. Not that I would compare the two or what they‚Äôve been through or whatever. But they‚Äôre similar kinds of people. I think Bill Russell affected a great deal more people than he‚Äôs aware of by his courage and his inability to back down.
Bill Clinton said that it was a dream of his to be on your show. Anything happening on that front?
DF: He‚Äôs very busy and we‚Äôre trying to get that nailed down. That‚Äôs one of my dreams. I absolutely love the man. I‚Äôve met him before. I would call myself very liberal in social terms and only conservative in a couple of areas: homeland defense and the military, that‚Äôs about it. I‚Äôm really looking forward to that. He‚Äôs just such a likable person. And I think a lot of people that didn‚Äôt agree with his policies begrudgingly just have to like him anyway.
Charles Barkley was a guest on your show in Season 1. Has his golf swing improved at all?
DF: I‚Äôve not seen him swing recently. People tend to forget that Charles used to swing the club really well. He was a pretty good player. Hit the ball miles, obviously. He‚Äôs not alone with the problem that he has. And it happens at every level. Golfers like Ian Baker Finch, Seve Ballesteros, even Tiger Woods. For the most part, in the past couple years, Tiger Woods, if you put him on the deck of the Nimitz, he couldn‚Äôt hit the ocean off the tee.
You know what it is. It‚Äôs the yips. You see it with putting. People have a flinch and they don‚Äôt do what they set out to do because they‚Äôre afraid of the consequences. It can happen with the full swing as well. And with Charles, everything is bigger. He‚Äôs a larger-than-life personality and his downswing yip is larger than anyone‚Äôs in history, I think. He looks like he‚Äôs been Tasered.
What‚Äôs the origin of Frank the rooster?
DF: Frank just appeared. That set is an almost exact replica, and much of what‚Äôs on the set is actually out of my own office at home. But I don‚Äôt know where the hell Frank came from. One day on my desk, all of a sudden he appears. But the news may be bad for Frank because there‚Äôs a coyote that‚Äôs going to show up on the set this year and I have a funny feeling that Frank is going to be very, very nervous.
Swing coach Hank Haney has a book coming out about his time with Tiger Woods. What was their relationship like?
DF: I‚Äôd be lying if I told you that I knew everything about it. I knew that Hank was very, very uncomfortable toward the end of their relationship. But the relationship between a coach and a player is kind of like a caddie and a player, or a husband and a wife.
Sometimes you go through a bad stretch. Sometimes a change is as good as a rest. There‚Äôs never anything easy about saying to somebody, ‚ÄúLook, it‚Äôs not you. It‚Äôs me.‚ÄĚ It‚Äôs always going to be awkward. Tiger is probably the most difficult person to work with that I‚Äôve seen, but probably one of the most rewarding. If you want to be successful, you have to be in a place where you know you‚Äôre going to be uncomfortable, and anyone that takes on Tiger Woods as a client has to want that.
The PGA Tour isn‚Äôt making any changes to the FedExCup playoffs this year. Wise decision?
DF: I would like to see all four of them in a row instead of having a week in between here and there. I think in this last year it did work out fairly well apart from that one sort of gap as I recall. We‚Äôre now really sort of getting to see it in its not-fully-evolved state. I think there will be minor tweaks from here on.
In creating interest with the end of the season, and effectively the end of our season is when football starts, because football is the 800 pound gorilla. We have to have some kind of a season-ending race if you like to hold viewers or hopefully attract more viewers, because this game is not exempt from becoming less popular. …
I think FedExCup is a good way of keeping players interested ‚ÄĒ players like Webb Simpson and Camilo Villegas and Rickie Fowler ‚ÄĒ and these new kids that we‚Äôve coming up look at that end-of-the-season prize. $10 million? Seriously, $10 million? That is a shhhhhpantsload of cash. And if that doesn‚Äôt get your interest, then there‚Äôs definitely something wrong with the game.
We‚Äôre in this strange time in golf ‚ÄĒ maybe some call it the ‚Äúpost-Tiger era‚ÄĚ or some might call it parity ‚ÄĒ where there are so many players playing at such a high level that it seems like half the field has a shot to win every weekend. Is it good for the game?
DF: I think it is. And I‚Äôm not sure that it is parity. There‚Äôs a lot of people who have very short memories, and they forget what it‚Äôs like when Tiger Woods plays well. Tiger Woods hasn‚Äôt played well for two years, two and a half years, maybe. And still he‚Äôs finished in the top three or four in The Masters twice, and we‚Äôve seen flashes of what he can do.
If his head is back in shape and his knee is right and he plays well this year, he‚Äôll win seven or eight times. And not only win. We show his reaction to these extraordinary shots that he hits on occasions. And I‚Äôve always maintained that that‚Äôs the wrong reaction.
The guy he‚Äôs playing with, that‚Äôs the reaction you want to show. Because very often I‚Äôm standing with that guy, and he‚Äôll watch that shot and I‚Äôll turn and look at him and he‚Äôll look at me and say, ‚ÄúSeriously? Really? I‚Äôve got to do better than that to beat him? I can‚Äôt do that.‚ÄĚ
But the thing is they have to try, otherwise they look like p***ies. That‚Äôs what happens and why he wins by 12 or 15 as he did in a U.S. Open. And the last person to win by 15 in a major championship was Tom Morris in 1860 playing with a badger‚Äôs testicle stuffed with seagull feathers. [Editor‚Äôs note: Tom Morris Sr. won the 1862 Open Championship by 13 strokes.] It‚Äôs just not normal at all. He‚Äôs the 500-year flood.
So what happens is you get your second-tier players, who are superb players, the best the world has ever seen. And they‚Äôre forced to take on more than they‚Äôre capable of, and subsequently, they make bogey, he makes birdie and the gap gets wider. That‚Äôs what happens when he plays well and that‚Äôs why he can win by so many at times. There‚Äôs somebody behind him who‚Äôs taken on more than he‚Äôs capable of, because they‚Äôre not content to play for second. They‚Äôre professional golfers with a great deal of pride. I‚Äôd be surprised if in the next season or two, we don‚Äôt see Tiger Woods not only win a major but win it by double figures.
Photo: Credit: GOLF CHANNEL