Monday night the Golf Channel will debut two of its most popular programs, The Haney Project at 9 p.m.followed by Feherty at 10 p.m. The two shows continue to grow ratings, but the real key is they are attracting a big non-golf audience.
A funny thing happened to the Golf Channel during the past year. They found that David Feherty could do far more than talk about golf. As a matter of fact, his special, Feherty Live from the Super Bowl, was a huge hit and proved that the host was very comfortable talking about things besides sports.
What was also clear was that his sense of humor played well to a mainstream audience, and that bodes well for this season of Feherty It was without a doubt the best sports show during the Super Bowl weekend. It had humor and Feherty showed an ability to be comfortable and entertaining with a David Letterman-type format.
Talking to him on a conference call this week, we covered his show and why he does not fit the traditional mode of a sports analyst.
JW: You have had demons of your own drinking and your divorce. Does what happened in your life make asking personal questions to your guests easier?
Feherty: Well, I think at the time that these things were happening to me, I didn't ever imagine they'd be an advantage. But, yeah, I think you're right. If you're coming from a place where you've actually been in worse shape and you have to ask someone who has made mistakes in their life or looks like they might be heading in that direction, yeah. I'm more comfortable asking awkward questions because I feel like an awkward person. A lot of my life, all of which has been public, is an open book. It's therapeutic for me to be able to talk to people about these things. But I know what you're saying, and yeah, I think you're right.
JW: Starting with Monday’s season opener with Sergio Garcia, your show is now an hour. What will you be doing with that extra time?
Fehery: Well, we found that the interviews and the subjects of the interview were often so compelling that it was extremely difficult to get the essence of what they said into 22 minutes of programming and a half-hour show. Leading up to the new season we extended the Tom Watson and Johnny Miller interviews, the Lee Trevino one was already an hour, and there were several more that should have been an hour. Greg Norman was an hour. We just felt it's a better format, and that we can get more out of it. Plus, it will allow us yo introduce some new characters into the show.”
JW: Is there any guest that you want on your show but have yet to get?
Feherty: Well, Bill Murray has been on my wish list from the beginning. It's extremely difficult to even find out which planet Bill Murray is on. He doesn't have a cell phone. The only way that filmmakers can even contact him is to leave a note at his gym and hope that he reads it. Personally, I think that Bill Murray is one of the most important figures in the modern era of golf because of the film Caddyshack, which lampooned everything that's wrong about country club golf. You know, the elitism, the snobbery, the one-upmanship, the kind of pushing the rules here and there, how staff are treated. That kind of thing. I don't think the film was made in order to do that, but Bill Murray was the central character, obviously, or turned out to be. It was at the time when HO came around and VHS and Beta Max were having the battle, and every dorm room in the country had a copy of this along with Animal House and Young Frankenstein and whatever the other few movies were that ran on a reel. Everybody knows the script, virtually all of it, to Caddyshack.So I think it brought golf to a lot of people who would not otherwise have even been interested in the sport. He's just such a fascinating actor, not for that role, but for so much of his other stuff. He's a great actor and an extraordinary person. I would love to have him on the show.
James Williams is a Contributor on Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained first-hand via conference call.