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Feherty on the Hyundai Tournament of Champion, his craft, drive-by fruitings

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I had the opportunity to catch up with the singular entity that is David Feherty by phone.

Feherty told me he was lying on the floor of the media center at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions trying to stretch his back out. He said his airline had wronged him. I asked him what they’d done.

Our conversation is below.

D.F.: It was just their seats…I’m in the sharp end of the airplane and I can’t get comfortable…

B.A.: That doesn’t seem right, does it?

It’s an outrage.

We’ll have to file a complaint. I’m sorry to hear that.

Tell me a bit about the campaign I hear you’re working on and how you became a pitchman in the first place?

I’ve just completed a set of three commercials we shot in Los Angeles for Hyundai, and it was a lot of fun to shoot them. I enjoy doing that kind of thing.

The real revelation for me was getting into the car and driving it. I drove a Hyundai ten years ago. The changes are unbelievable. Coincidentally, the car service I use to get to the airport in Dallas has just changed their fleet from Town Cars to the Hyundai Eqqus. The first time I got into one, I thought I’d been kidnapped by the cartel. I could have sworn it was a Mercedes or a high-end import.

They’re making these cars in Montgomery, Alabama. They’ve invested a huge amount in this country. They’re employing Americans, and it means a great deal to me.

Did you ever see yourself as a pitchman? I know you did the work with Bridgestone in the past.

To be honest with you, I didn’t see myself alive at 56. No, I didn’t see any of this. I didn’t see the T.V. show coming. I tell my four children—my four boys and one little girl—work hard, stay in school, and don’t do drugs. And the more observant of them say, “Dad, you didn’t do any of that.”

So, it’s all unexpected then…

It really is. You know, I can’t believe I came to this country kicking and screaming. I didn’t really want to be here. Within a few months it became very apparent that it was the greatest thing that ever happened to me. I’m very proud of being an American and very upset when anyone apologizes for being such a wonderful thing.

Absolutely. Absolutely. I guess then that you didn’t plot the course to being one of best on-course commentators in the game. I think that’s such a unique kind of skill set. It’s a real balancing act. I’ve seen you out there on the fairway. You have to be aware of what’s going on on the course and additionally what’s going on in the telecast. The essence of that craft escapes me. What do you think the key component is? 

Well, I think it’s kind of walking the line between maintaining a relationship with the player and being able to tell the truth. And as you say, having a sense of what’s going on in the telecast.

Quite often, when a producer throws it to the 15th hole, and I’m on the 15th hole with the leaders, I have to know whether he’s showing the second shot or them putting on the green live. We’ll play things plausibly live when it doesn’t make any sense to say “a moment ago.” And there’s sort of a voodoo aspect to it that only the walkers, you know, the guys on the ground, have to get a command of.

I love to be on the ground because I never really felt like a commentator. In between shots and in commercial breaks, I still feel like a player.

One reform I’ve campaigned for is to have an umbrella mic  out there to pick up snippets of conversation between me and the players, just to give the show a little more relevance and make the players seem a little more human. I think that’d be a major boost for any telecast…and not just with me, with anyone that’s out there.

Right. You’d certainly add a human element to all of that.

You’re going to be out there this week. What do you think the key to winning at Kapalua is and who do you like?

Well, it’s a very difficult tournament to pick a winner, I’ll be honest with you. Last year, many of these winners were first-time. Jimmy Walker has got off to a fantastic start the last couple of seasons. There’s so many good, very young players out here at the Plantation Course.

The Hyundai Tournament of Champions: it’s a special event. There are only 34 players. It will be someone who can be patient. The wind is not blowing at all at the minute, so it’s kind of freaky; we’re in the Twilight Zone. But you know it’s gonna blow. Anyone who can get through the week without getting in the head with a pineapple will have a chance.

Is there a real risk of that there?

We’re surrounded by sugar cane and pineapples. If you get disillusioned, you can just wander off.

Yeah. You could become entranced by the scenery. I don’t know if the punters have taken that into account. Hopefully that’s being factored in when picking a winner there.

Notice how I avoided picking a winner there?

You did. That was a wonderful bit of obfuscation there…Now you can’t be wrong.

Yeah, I brought fruit into the equation and it was all smoke and mirrors. Frankly, I don’t know.

Well me neither. So that makes for two of us.

There you go.

I’m curious too, you know, tremendous elevation changes, and you’re chasing down 400-yard drives. Where does Kapalua factor in as far as walkability and the difficulty of your task out there?

Well, good luck with the walkability. You actually need a Hyundai to get from a green to the next tee.

I guess it’s a fortuitous partnership then.

Well, that’s true.

It can be a very strenuous walk. But these kids are in fantastic shape. The most demanding part of any of these four-round golf tournaments is the guys who are close to the lead. Having that pressure when you go to bed at night, and waking up with it, for three or four days, they’re worn out mentally, not so much physically.

I’ll ask you for one more bit of prognostication here: Do you think Rory gets to the career grand slam this year?

It would halfway surprise me if he doesn’t, as good as he is. Unless Tiger Woods plays well, I can’t see anybody beating him.

His swing, it’s just statuesque. It’s a beautiful, beautiful thing to watch. And he’s such a good kid too. He’s every mother’s dream. His commercial attachments…they’re all so delighted with him. He represents himself and the game so beautifully. It’s an honor to be around in the Rory McIlroy era.

Absolutely. He’s a tremendous spokesperson for the game. Is his your favorite swing to watch?

At the moment, for sure. It’s just beautiful. Long, straight lines. Effortless power. A fabulous follow-through. When your knees just bend a bit and you sink into that comfortable follow-through position, it’s like, “Oh, please. I wish I could do that once in my career.”

It’s beautiful and disgusting all at the same time.

Exactly.

OK. I’m happy to let you off the hook now, sir.

Yeah. I just never stop…never start working. I think that’s the word I’m looking for there.

I’m very grateful, personally. You’re someone I’m delighted to have had the opportunity to talk to. Thank you, sir.

I love people with low standards. Thank you.

Be well and avoid getting hit in the head with a pineapple.

You’ve got it. I’ll avoid the drive-by fruitings.

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11 Comments

11 Comments

  1. snowman0157

    Jan 11, 2015 at 4:45 pm

    Is anyone else bored with Feherty’s forced quirkiness?

  2. other paul

    Jan 11, 2015 at 1:23 pm

    For people who get irritated at the obvious fact that every article is a commercial in some way, THAT IS THE POINT OF A GOLF WEBSITE! To support the game by getting us to buy stuff, take lessons, and play more. I get so annoyed with all the endless sissy whining around here. I’m sure the writers do as well. I wouldn’t be surprised if they have an office side bet on every article about how long it will take before the comments have complaints about advertising.

    • Dirk

      Jan 11, 2015 at 6:12 pm

      You are completely wrong, all caps or not. The point of an interview is not to be a commercial. It’s to be informative/interesting. Sure, this website sells a lot of stuff and advertises a lot of products, but this isn’t a review for a club or a new ball, it’s a conversation with a golf personality. Thus, it (ideally) has a different function from an advertisement. Do you expect Jim Furyk to start praising 5 Hour Energy during an interview with Feherty?

  3. Dirk

    Jan 11, 2015 at 3:41 am

    Wow, Ben really impressed me with his vocabulary and his willingness to let his big interview be a commercial for Hyundai! Solid work, Ben!

  4. Fred

    Jan 11, 2015 at 12:45 am

    Very hard hitting interview! That was a waste of my time. Weak.

    • Zooch

      Jan 13, 2015 at 9:00 pm

      He was nice enough to give golfwrx five minutes for a softball interview. This isn’t Meet the Press. I’d like to see a sampling of your no holds barred interview of David Fehrety. Get over yourself.

  5. Christian

    Jan 10, 2015 at 10:14 pm

    Well. That was a commercial about a commercial. Wasn’t it? I’m sure someone will win a prize for writing and using that part about Hyundai.

  6. P

    Jan 10, 2015 at 10:09 pm

    Why didn’t Matsuyama show up to the TOC?

    Somebody should make a point of it and highlight the issue. Ask him directly.

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Tour Rundown: Morikawa, Lipsky, and Warren claim titles on three world tours

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After nearly a month of covering a single tournament each week, today feels like a birthday, with three presents to open. The European Tour returned to action for the first time since Qatar, in early March. The Korn Ferry Tour was again in action, this time in a canyon in San Antonio, Texas. And the PGA Tour headed into territory not charted since the 1950s. More on that tease in a moment. As humanity navigates the careful steps required by quarantine, our professional golf tours have done their best to clear a path on how to properly do so. There is stumbling and mild retreat, but in the end, movement forward. Here’s to caution and confidence, as we return to Tour Rundown, this second week of July 2020.

Collin Morikawa claims first PGA Tour medal-play title

Justin Thomas is young. He’s only 27. The thing is, Collin Morikawa is younger. Like a quarter-generation younger. In an era of internet immediacy and social media fame, people identify by these five-year segments of a generation. On Sunday, at the Workday Charity Open, Morikawa earned his second tour title in less than a year, and he did so by staring down the 2017 PGA champion.

In a word, Sunday in Columbus, Ohio, was crazy. Arriving weather dictated threesomes off early, on both front and back nines, for final-round completion. Morikawa was paired with Thomas and Viktor Hovland, on a stage set for drama. Thomas had the lead at the outset, but Morikawa seized it back with two birdies and an eagle in the first five holes. Thomas responded, as in the middle rounds of a prize fight, with a stunning sequence of his own. Birdies at 8 through 11, followed by birdie-eagle at 14 and 15, appeared to pave a path to a 13th tour title for the Kentuckian.

With a flicker, Thomas made bogey at 16 and 18, while a 17th-hole birdie by Morikawa evened the score. Off to extra holes they went. Thomas appeared to have stolen the win with a 50-feet bomb for birdie at th 18th, but Morikawa matched him with a putt for three of his own. They returned to 18 one more, where pars sent them off to the 10th tee. A change of venue, to the 10th hole, brought resolution to the week. Morikawa’s drive found the fairway, while Thomas’ tee ball was stymied behind a wee sapling of a tree trunk. Forced to pitch out, Thomas ultimately missed a 15-feet putt for par. Morikawa took two putts from six feet, and the victory was his. After an initial win in the modified-stableford Barracuda Championship 11 months ago, the young Californian now has a stroke-play title, against one of the best of the tour, on his sleeve.

For the first time since 1957, the PGA Tour will host events on the same course, in consecutive weeks. The Workday Classic steps aside for the Memorial Invitational. Expect faster greens, deeper tees, thicker rough, and angrier hole locations as Jack’s event takes center stage.

David Lipsky steps out of covert operations for San Antonio Challenge win

If you’re one of those Golf Channel stalwarts, the ones who watch early-morning telecasts from the Asian and European tours, you know his name. If not, please allow me to introduce David Lipsky. A graduate of Northwestern University, a Big Ten titleist in college, 2-time champion on both the European and Asian tours, and now, a winner stateside. By reaching 25-under par on Sunday evening, David Lipsky claimed an inaugural Korn Ferry tour title at the (deep breath) TPC-San Antonio Challenge at the Canyons. The native of La Cañada, California, turned in a weekend scorecard of 128 for 36 holes, blazing past the field by four shots.

The majority of the onslaught took place on Saturday. Lipsky had been known, on his overseas tours of golf duty, to post the occasional low round. Following it up was always the difficult part. More on that in a jiff. On day three, Lipsky posted consecutive bogies, at the 13th and 14th holes. No worries. They were sandwiched by a birdie and an eagle. And those were sandwiched by two more birdies on either side. And that was after an outward nine of five-under 31. Lipsky’s matching nines totaled 62, and included 10 birdies and that screaming eagle.

On Sunday, the third-round leader picked up where he left off. He made few mistakes on the day, and expanded his week-long birdie total by seven. As his closest pursuers hiccoughed and stumbled, Canada’s Taylor Pendrith took up the challenge. Pendrith reached the turn on a five-birdie streak, but was unable to maintain the momentum. He reached 21-under par, one clear of Paul Haley II and Paul Barjon in third, and claimed his first runner-up finish on the Korn Ferry tour. Coming on the heels of a tie for third the previous week, Pendrith is one to watch as the Korn Ferry tour moves across property to the Oaks course, for a 2nd consecutive TPC San Antonio event.

Marc Warren edges Schneider by one in Austria

Compared with the above winners (23 and 32) Marc Warren is an old guy. He’s 39, which qualifies for tour-old status. Not as old as Miguel Ángel Jiménez, the 36-hole leader, but certainly trending upward in circles around the tree trunk. No matter, after 72 holes, it was Marc Warren by one shot, for his fourth career win on the European tour. Six years had passed since the Scotsman hoisted the Made In Denmark trophy, and this rep was more than sweet.

Warren sat two shots behind the ageless Spaniard, Jiménez, aftet two rounds. Surprising himself, the PGA Tour Champions regular was out in 133, emboldened by a Friday 65. What went right on day two, moved in the opposite direction on Saturday. Jiménez turned in a 77, dropping out of the top five. Warren seized the opportunity on a difficult day, and took the lead with a two-under 70. On Sunday, the Caledonian struggled with his swing, giving the lead away to runner-up Marcel Schneider, midway through the back nine. Emboldened by years of toil, Warren responded with birdies at 15 and 17 to snatch the lead back. A par at the last was sufficient to close in 13-under par, one clear of Germany’s Schneider. Holland’s Will Besseling turned in the day’s best score (66) to ascend 16 spots on the board, into solo third position.

The tour remains in Austria this week, at the Euram Bank Open. Unlike the US tours, the remainder of the Euro schedule is uncertain. With fortune, previously-scheduled events will make a return to competition in 2021, if not sooner.

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GolfWRX Classifieds (07/10/20): Sim MAX, Tour Nike, Srixon irons

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At GolfWRX, we love golf equipment plain and simple

We are a community of like-minded individuals that all experience and express our enjoyment for the game in many ways. It’s that sense of community that drives day-to-day interactions in the forums on topics that range from best driver to what marker you use to mark your ball, it even allows us to share another thing – the equipment itself.

One of the best ways to enjoy equipment is to experiment and whether you are looking to buy-sell-or trade (as the name suggests) you can find almost anything in the GolfWRX BST Forum. From one-off custom Scotty Cameron Circle T putters, to iron sets, wedges, and barely hit drivers, you can find it all in our constantly updated marketplace.

These are some of the latest cool finds from the GolfWRX BST, and if you are curious about the rules to participate in the BST Forum you can check them out here: GolfWRX BST Rules

Member EDWARDSR – Tour Issue Nike 2i, Koepka Stock

Sure you might not quite hit it like Brooks Koepka, or have 4 majors, but for a pretty nice price you can at least have the same 2 iron he used.

To see the full listing and additional pictures check out the link here: Tour Issue Nike 2 iron

Member ce5600 – TaylorMade SIM Max Drive head

Shaft – Check, Grip – Check…. Still need a head? well here you go! TaylorMade Sim MAX 9° just waiting for you and a few wrench clicks.

To see the full listing and additional pictures check out the link here: Sim Max Head

Member JoeFrigo – Srixon Z785 with Proto UST Recoil

Special irons built with special shafts. Z785 with UST Proto recoils that can only be had through select TSPX dealers. These aren’t your grandad’s graphite shafts – unless of course, they are what he uses in which case ignore the attempted joke.

To see the full listing and additional pictures check out the link here: Srixon Z785 Irons

Remember that you can always browse the GolfWRX Classifieds any time here in our forums: GolfWRX Classifieds

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GolfWRX Classifieds (07/09/20): YES! Putter, Mevo, Honma irons

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At GolfWRX, we love golf equipment plain and simple

We are a community of like-minded individuals that all experience and express our enjoyment for the game in many ways. It’s that sense of community that drives day-to-day interactions in the forums on topics that range from best driver to what marker you use to mark your ball, it even allows us to share another thing – the equipment itself.

One of the best ways to enjoy equipment is to experiment and whether you are looking to buy-sell-or trade (as the name suggests) you can find almost anything in the GolfWRX BST Forum. From one-off custom Scotty Cameron Circle T putters, to iron sets, wedges, and barely hit drivers, you can find it all in our constantly updated marketplace.

These are some of the latest cool finds from the GolfWRX BST, and if you are curious about the rules to participate in the BST Forum you can check them out here: GolfWRX BST Rules

Member mlp021 – Flightscope Mevo

If you are looking to add some fun to your practice routine, while also getting useful data to help you improve and become more consistent, the Mevo is one of the best options around.

To see the full listing and additional pictures check out the link here: Flightscope Mevo 

Member OpenPar – YES! Golf Holly Putter

Finding any classic YES! putters in good shape continues to be more difficult, but this Holly looks like it hasn’t seen many rounds of golf, and it even comes with the original cover! Yes!

To see the full listing and additional pictures check out the link here: Yes golf Holly

Member niznikd – In plastic Honma TW 747V Irons

These are a steal of a deal and just a third of their original asking price—and did I mention BRAND NEW!

To see the full listing and additional pictures check out the link here: 747V Honma Irons

Remember that you can always browse the GolfWRX Classifieds any time here in our forums: GolfWRX Classifieds

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