Toledo Blade - Say this much for David Feherty: The man is honest.
Asked the other night why he left NBC to join the Saudi-funded LIV Golf Series, the popular announcer and funnyman cut straight to it.
“Money,” he told me. “People don’t talk about it. I hear, ‘Well, it’s to grow the game.’ Bull … they paid me a lot of money.”
Feherty — who was in Toledo with his former NBC colleague, Gary Koch, for a fund-raiser benefiting the Dana Open presented by Marathon — later gave a similar answer to the sold-out audience at Valentine Theatre.
To which Koch stood up and said, “Finally! Someone finally said it!!”
The crowd cheered.
Feherty’s refusal to insult our intelligence was the highlight of an entertaining evening, in which the two golfers shared stories from their playing and broadcasting careers before Feherty performed his stand-up act.
In his first extended comments on why he joined LIV — which is streaming its events online until it lands a TV deal — he did not cite the revolutionary nature of the 54-hole, no-cut shotgun format, or tell us he had been a lifelong fan of the Crushers (one of the 12 teams on the new tour).
No, he said, simply, there were three reasons. Money. The chance to be a lead analyst for the first time in his career. And …
“An opportunity to be myself again,” Feherty said. “It’s become more and more difficult, especially in sports broadcasting, to have any kind of character. Charles Barkley can say pretty much anything he wants, because it's, ‘Oh, that's just Charles.’ And it is just Charles. But I have become more and more guarded over the last few years. There are people waiting around every corner hoping to be offended by something. [Expletive] those people.
“Our lives are being shaped by small groups of mean-spirited people who have no sense of humor. We're in danger of losing our national sense of humor because of this.”
He addressed doing business with Saudi Arabia, including its role in 9/11. (Fifteen of the 19 hijackers were Saudis.)
“The 9 /11 Commission said that the Saudi government wasn't involved,” Feherty said. “People that criticize are doing business with China, doing business with Russia. China, in particular, is a country where they're murdering Uyghurs left, right, and center, and their human rights record is horrendous. … You can point to various countries throughout the world. I wouldn’t want to behave like that, but wherever golf is, good happens, and I’m hoping this will do the same thing. [LIV] has said its going to donate $100 million to area charities.”
While Feherty isn't quite the first to say that money was a deciding factor for him (kudos to Pat Perez for doing that), he IS the first person on team LIV who has not really tried to paint a rosy picture around it. Guy got paid. Plain and simple.
David Feherty has always been known for his honesty and his unwillingness to beat around the bush. Good or bad, he's gonna tell you how it is. That's what's made him so likable for so many years and that's what put him in position to get this bag.
What I find interesting is that his personality goes against the grain of the types of guys who have joined LIV. Few are popular players and most of them are grouches and have acted as such since joining. Makes me wonder how all of this might have been perceived had Phil not opened his mouth and the rest of the guys hadn't tried to make this whole thing about something it isn't. If the message coming from the big names was that this was all about the dough from the start, maybe people wouldn't be shitting on it nonstop. The more bullshit they've peddled, the more people have talked about the nonsense and painted the entire venture as disingenuous. Which is pretty ironic if you ask me.
Shame to see Feherty with those guys, but glad to see he hasn't changed.