“Dear Sir or Madam Will You Read My Book?”
Have you ever looked at, been a fan of, or heard about a famous person and thought, “I wonder what they are like in real life?” If you’ve ever asked that question about golfer, commentator, TV star, and funny man David Feherty then buy John Feinstein’s book, FEHERTY The Remarkably Funny and Tragic Journey of Golf’s David Feherty.
According to Bing, John Feinstein has written 44 books. I have read many of them and, without having to give it more than ten seconds thought, can say I think he is the best in the business when it comes to writing about sports in general and golf in particular. A Season on the Brink, Hard Courts, A March to Madness, A Civil War, and The Last Amateurs are must reads. If you play, follow, watch, love golf then A Good Walk Spoiled, Q-School Confidential, Open, Caddy for Life, The Majors, and now FEHERTY belong in your library.
The first chapter of FEHERTY The Remarkably Funny and Tragic Journey of Golf’s David Feherty details golf’s most iconic announcer’s upbringing in a divided Northern Ireland. You get to meet his family, friends, and learn about how world events ended up shaping a young man’s life. Feinstein’s book are special because you are not only entertained but you are also informed. I haven’t read one yet where afterward I didn’t say, “I learned something”. In FEHERTY you learn a lot. If you’re a fan of the man (Feherty I mean) you’ll become a bigger one. If you’re not a fan (what the heck is wrong with you?) or know little about him beyond his work in golf television, you’ll become one.
The book is funny, interesting, emotional, and thoughtful. That’s because David Feherty is funny, interesting, emotional, and thoughtful. It’s well written because John Feinstein wrote it. But it’s not perfect. I went directly to page 197, Chapter Eleven, titled Welcome to LIV. It’s 27 pages and many of the details are mildly inaccurate. Some are just flat out wrong. I don’t blame Feinstein for this. I believe his source, or sources, for the information were more interested in protecting either someone or someone’s narrative than the truth. Another thing that I found odd was that David Feherety worked for CBS Sports for 18 years (1997-2015) and then for NBC Sports for seven (2015-2022). While both networks have folks who worked with Feherty commenting in the book it felt like the NBC people were quoted more than twice as much as the CBS people. That struck me as odd. And one final, minor, complaint is that there were a few times when the writing, the stories, and the message was repetitive. That’s the bad but the good so far outweighs any of it.
I have been lucky enough to work in broadcast television for five decades and in that time have met and worked with some of the medium’s most famous on-air personalities. Some of them are kind, lack ego, generous, talented, and friendly. Some of them are NONE of those things. David Feherty falls into and belongs at the very top of the first group. I first worked with the man around 2005 when The Golf Channel televised a little crosstown, country club rivalry match called The Tavistock Cup. In the beginning it was a match pitting players from one tony Orlando club (Isleworth) against players from another tony Orlando club (Lake Nona). Tiger, Ernie Els, John Cook, Ian Poulter, Trevor Immelman, Henrik Stenson, Mark O’Meara, Nick Faldo among others all played. It was a blast to produce and it was made even more fun because David Feherty and Gary McCord were part of the announce team.
I admit I was nervous. Despite having worked with legends including Vin Scully, I had never worked with Feherty but as a fan of golf I knew who he was and was in awe of his work. He couldn’t have been nicer, more respectful, or a bigger team player. It was a joy to watch and a pleasure to be “in his ear”. Although I must admit he may have never heard nor paid attention to anything I said while we were on the air. The easiest thing to do when producing a live golf tournament with David Feherty on the team is open his mic. Now, nearly twenty years later, I have the honor of working with the man again and that, my friends, is not hyperbole. It IS an honor.
I now consider myself one of the fortunate ones who knows David Feherty. I consider him a friend and the book that John Feinstein wrote, with Feherty’s blessing, is, like the man, a gem. Do yourself a favor and buy this book.
Thanks for reading this. If you don’t know me I am a more than 40 year veteran of sports television working mostly in golf. I have also written 6 books and you can find them at http://www.keithhirshland.com Every opinion written since I started this blog is mine. You are free to like it, hate it, agree with it, disagree with it or ignore it.