I can hear the NBC/ Golf Channel “brain trust” now… “What the heck do we do with David Feherty THIS week?”
It’s an embarrassing question for them to be asking and amazing that they can’t figure it out. This time, Thursday of the WGC event at Doral, they confined their biggest star to hole announcer status. “Hear Ye, Hear Ye” The declaration is clear for today… David Feherty and Jimmy Roberts are equals on the org chart. Good gracious what in the world is going on over there?
Clearly NBC wanted David Feherty in the worst way when his contract was up at CBS. Can’t blame them for that. It also seems more and more obvious that the decision makers at Comcast/NBC/Golf Channel mostly wanted Feherty because they thought his most important contribution to the family was his sometimes funny, occasionally interesting, mostly uneven talk show. The thinking must have been that they couldn’t let golf broadcasting’s unique voice and unpredictable sense of humor take his brand somewhere better suited to him (like FOX Sports). So they paid him more than anybody else they have on the air to keep his talk show on Golf Channel. The live golf component apparently, and now obviously, was an afterthought.
I have empathy for NBC/Golf Channel top dog producer Tommy Roy. I have been there when superiors forced talent on a broadcast announce team I was responsible for. “Just make it work” they said to me. I wonder if they used similar words when they threw this grenade into the middle of golf television’s longest tenured and most cohesive group. So far Tommy hasn’t figured out how to “just make it work” and this latest experiment may be his worst attempt yet.
Feherty is an amazingly social animal so what they did, at least today, is stick him in a cage all by himself. The only other time I can remember Feherty in this role is every year at Augusta because that’s where the Masters wants him. Not just him but all the announcers. Sadly for this excellent broadcaster, Doral’s TV show on Thursday is not on par with Augusta National’s on ANY day. Then to add insult to injury they make him do the exact same job as Jimmy Roberts. That doesn’t come close to comparing with acquiescing to the ghost of Clifford Roberts.
Feherty should be the lead analyst in the booth on the Golf Channel shows when he is a part of that team (no disrespect to Frank Nobilo who I like as a broadcaster). He should then be the lead on course commentator when NBC takes over the tournament( this time no disrespect to Roger Maltbie) on the weekend. That should be the call. Every time. Every chance. Every event. Stop screwing around with him and with us.
We ALL know what he’s best at which is why it’s so hard to understand why the powers that be at Comcast/NBC/Golf Channel can’t figure it out.
About Keith Hirshland
My name is Keith Hirshland and I am a four decades television veteran who has spent time both in front of and behind the camera. During nearly forty years in broadcasting my path has crossed in front of, behind and alongside some of the best in the business... And some of the worst. Many of those people I count as friends while others wouldn't make the effort to spit on me if I was on fire.
This television life started early watching my Mom and Dad found, fund and run a local affiliate TV station in Reno, Nevada. As a teenager approaching adulthood I worked for them, first as an on-air sports reporter/anchor and later as a director and producer. Jobs in the industry took me across the country and then to many places around the world.
Sports is my passion and putting it on TV has been my business. Production credits include auto racing, baseball, basketball, bowling, college football, field hockey, soccer, volleyball and water polo but the majority of my time "in the chair" since 1990 has been invested in the game of golf with both ESPN and The Golf. Channel ( I was one of the first forty people hired by TGC in 1994 ). I am a fan and I watch TV sports as a fan but I also have hundreds of thousands of hours watching from inside a production truck. I think that makes me qualified to comment, my hope is you agree.
I have written four books, Cover Me Boys, I'm Going In (Tales of the Tube from a Broadcast Brat), a memoir that is a tribute to my parents, the hard working, creative people who started ESPN2 and The Golf Channel and a look back at my life in television. Cover Me Boys was awarded the “Memoir of the Year” in 2017 by Book Talk Radio Club. In February of 2019 it was released anew by Beacon Publishing Group. My second book is a novel, Big Flies, and is a mystery that tells the story of a father and a son with four of the world's most notorious unsolved robberies as a backdrop. Big Flies was named “Solo Medalist” in the True Crime category by New Apple Awards. My third book, another mystery titled The Flower Girl Murder, was published in 2018. Book number four might be the most fun I ever had on a writing project. Murphy Murphy and the Case of Serious Crisis is a mystery, a love story, and an homage to good grammar. It is both the Book Talk Radio Club BOOK OF THE YEAR for 202 and a TopShelf Awards first prize winner in the mystery category. All four are available at Amazon. Book five is in the capable hands of the good people at Beacon Publishing Group and should be available soon.
I look forward to sharing new thoughts about golf, golf television, sports in general and the broadcast industry with you. The views expressed here are mine and mine alone. They are not connected to nor endorsed by any other person, association, company or organization.