FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, January 31st, 2020
TRANSCRIPT – DAVID FEHERTY AND ARRON OBERHOLSER – WASTE MANAGEMENT PHOENIX OPEN MEDIA ROUNDTABLE
Wednesday, January 29, 2020
JEREMY FRIEDMAN: David and Arron. David is hosting his Feherty Off Tour show tonight at the Orpheum Theater. He’s familiar with that theater because he did a Feherty Live when Super Bowl was here.
Arron is a part of our tournament broadcast team this week and lives just down the street, so he knows every ounce of this course, pretty much. David has his Feherty Series on Golf Channel starting its 10th season next month.
So David, just start with about the origin of the series and did you think that your series was going to go 10 seasons, and then just talk a little bit about this upcoming season a little bit?
DAVID FEHERTY: 10 seasons? No. I mean, I can’t believe that it’s gone this long. I can’t believe I still have people to interview. We have done what, 100? How many? 16 a year.
JEREMY FRIEDMAN: So you’ve had more than 140, almost 150 guests total.
DAVID FEHERTY: Yeah, yeah. No, I didn’t see it going this far. And the origin of the series was I had a very bad idea for a kind of a reality sitcom, which would have been catastrophic. And somebody at Golf Channel, it was actually Tom Stathakes and Keith Allo that said, No, you don’t want to do that. How about you do this? So and I really hadn’t been an interviewer at all before that point, except for the on-course interviews and things like that. So it was, it started off as a half hour show, but it became fairly immediately obvious that it wasn’t long enough because of the subjects that we had. It went to an hour and the rest is history.
JEREMY FRIEDMAN: And then your series has kind of, it’s branched out. You’re now doing these Off Tour comedy shows.
DAVID FEHERTY: Standup shows, yeah.
JEREMY FRIEDMAN: Talk about that a little bit and kind of what people can expect tonight.
DAVID FEHERTY: Well, the standup shows — where’s Jonesy? Right there. He’s a Canadian promoter. He promotes people like Jeff Dunham and Larry the Cable Guy and country artists and various bands and stuff like that. He was at a corporate outing that I did where?
BRAD JONES: In London.
DAVID FEHERTY: In London, Ontario, his hometown, and he approached me afterwards and introduced himself, and he said, If you ever think about doing this in front of, you know, like in front of a live audience. And I said, Well, I thought that’s what I just did, you know. And he said, No, like, in a theater. And I said, No, that’s never crossed my mind. So we, the first two that I did were in Calgary and Edmonton?
BRAD JONES: Yeah.
DAVID FEHERTY: And we put 1,500 people in theaters and for the first one I had no conception of time. It went for three hours and 12 minutes. There were people dying in the audience, you know. I think we had two natural deaths and I think one guy pissed himself to death because his bladder was too full. And from there we just, we do them in sort of clumps of three, preferably around golf tournaments, because it’s an interesting vehicle for people, for sponsors for that matter, you know, or golf courses in the area to send members in droves and things like that. I mean, McCord and I are doing our first one together tonight and what have we got 1,100 people? Yeah. It’s been, I mean, that’s the genesis of it, how it happened. I would do these corporate events of which I do very little now, because of this, you know, the show is, it’s in some ways easier to do. But two hours on the stage with just a microphone and a chicken is, it’s kind of — and I still don’t understand why I have a chicken, yeah.
ARRON OBERHOLSER: I’ve been wondering that since the show started.
DAVID FEHERTY: Why the chicken? Yeah, it’s kind of daunting, but it’s a real buzz once you get out there and stop shitting yourself, which hopefully that happens in the first few minutes, yeah.
Q. Arron, as a player, David’s interviewed a whole bunch of your contemporaries —
ARRON OBERHOLSER: He interviewed me once or twice, I think.
DAVID FEHERTY: Yeah.
JEREMY FRIEDMAN: And talk about David as an interviewer and kind of on the show.
ARRON OBERHOLSER: Well, as a, as someone who played when he was working for CBS on the ground and when you played well, you wanted to talk to David, obviously, and you were hoping that you got a chance to talk to David, which means you were playing well. And now that I’m on this side of the ropes, as part of the media and have been for the last, God, I think I’m starting my 8th year with Golf Channel now, which is crazy.
DAVID FEHERTY: Are you really?
ARRON OBERHOLSER: Isn’t that crazy? 8th year with Golf Channel now. The more, now I’m a student of what he did and what he does. Before just because you’ve been asked a lot of good questions by a very good interviewer, like interviewer that David is and was with CBS on the ground, doesn’t make you a good question asker as an interviewer. So to study the way he kind of went about it and how his questions flow from one to the other, especially in my part now — what he does now is completely different because he goes to tower, and then he goes from tower and he does his interview show on, and now he’s turned into like a real interviewer, versus I just have to ask golf questions. How was your round, you know, but there’s a way in which you ask them in which I thought he was fantastic at. And all the guys that I kind of studied and he’s one of the guys that I studied on the ground and admired on the ground when I do my ground work. So to see how he’s helped me and then to see where he’s gone and the level that he’s reached as far as what he does now, it’s fascinating and I think it’s fantastic and it just shows you that there’s always room for growth if you’re willing to let it happen and you want it bad enough.
DAVID FEHERTY: I’m a huge influence on people with low standards, as it turns out.
ARRON OBERHOLSER: He’s a tremendous slouch, trust me. (Laughing).
DAVID FEHERTY: Yeah.
JEREMY FRIEDMAN: All right. Questions, guys.
Q. Would you retell the story on the — I know you told it before, but when you got the penalty for marking your ball with a hotel key, room key. What were the circumstances of that and who gave you — just tell us.
DAVID FEHERTY: Vaughn Moise gave me the penalty. At the time we were playing the Houston Open and I, when I teed off that morning I was a little unprepared, to say the least, and confused, maybe slightly hungover.
Q. What round was it?
DAVID FEHERTY: I didn’t have a marker with me, so I had this hotel, it was actually — when they gave you a key rather than the damn cards that we get now, and that’s all I had in my pocket. And I used it to mark my ball and I can’t remember how it came about, but Vaughn Moise, he sort of became aware of this and he came over and said, You can’t do that. It’s got to be a disk, it’s got to be whatever it was at the time. Now you can mark your ball with an elephant turd. It doesn’t make any difference. But back then it was a penalty. Yeah. That’s all of that story.
Q. Did you file a protest or anything? That was a TOUR rule, not a rule of golf.
DAVID FEHERTY: Yeah, I think you’re right.
Q. It wasn’t. It’s not, like, in the USGA rule book.
DAVID FEHERTY: I think you’re right. Yeah. No, I didn’t protest it. I was too disillusioned at the time. It wasn’t the high point of my playing career.
Q. What round was that?
DAVID FEHERTY: That’s a good question. It was either the third or fourth round, because I think I was comfortably not in contention but still in the tournament, which is probably why it didn’t upset me that much.
Q. Is there a way you could compare or contrast the crowds at the Ryder Cup? Especially when you played at Kiawah versus this tournament that’s known for having a lot of noise. It’s kind if in a different way, but can you kind of compare those two?
DAVID FEHERTY: There are similarities. In fact, I suggested years ago that if we want to win, the Americans I’m talking about, you know, they should hold it here where A, you can sell a lot more tickets, and B, you want to talk about a partisan crowd, having the crowd on your side. These people would be, I think it would be a tremendous advantage for the Americans to have it in a place like this. But, yeah, there’s a rowdiness here that is similar, but obviously you don’t get that partisan feeling this is such a special event. You wouldn’t want it every week. But as a stand-alone event it’s something that it would leave a huge hole in the TOUR if they decided not to do this. It’s special in a lot of ways.
Q. Did you have any, anybody in the crowd, not heckling you, but was — what was the crowd like when you played in the Ryder Cup? I think that was before maybe things got a little more partisan?
DAVID FEHERTY: Well, it was the one where it really sort of —
Q. That was the start of it?
DAVID FEHERTY: It was the start of it in ’91, the War on the Shore. Yeah, I mean the crowd was, it was pretty wild on both sides. But the thing that I remember most about it is no matter how divisive the crowd was during the matches, it was the international tent afterwards, you know, where they were use, I think they used Woosie as a bowling ball to try to take out all kinds of spectators. I mean, there were Americans and Europeans and whatever. It was one of the great celebrations in the history of matches, that’s for sure. But it was, it was the first one I think that really sort of caught the attention of the American golf public. It was during Desert Storm. Corey Pavin and Steve Pate had their Desert Storm ball caps and it was, there was a tremendous sort of pro-American sentiment to it, the kind of national pride, that kind of thing. And then, of course, that was one where Langer missed the short one on the last green. If he had made it, we would have come back across the Atlantic with the Europeans. And when he missed it, of course, it stayed in America and it was there forever. Lawrence Levy, you probably remember Lawrence. I was stuck against him watching Bernhard on the last green and it was the loudest silence I’ve ever heard. It was like the tide stopped coming in in that moment. You hear the occasional seagull while Bernhard was over it and Lawrence turned to me, you know, he’s got one eye on the viewfinder and I’m shaking like a pregnant nun and he says, you know, he says, It occurs to me that the last German under this kind of pressure shot himself in a bunker (laughing), which was the single most inappropriate thing I’ve ever heard on a golf course, yeah.
Q. How do you describe 16 and the madness?
DAVID FEHERTY: The crucible? Yeah, it’s just a unique thing in golf, where I don’t think there’s any — you get enthusiastic crowds all over the world, but you don’t get the players involved the way they do here at 16. The players walk in there and they’re ready for it and I think the vast majority of them enjoy it. Yeah, I mean, it’s unique. I can’t think of anywhere — having said that, there were other places on TOUR — I remember in Greensboro, there used to be a kind of a — well, it was behind the 17th green.
ARRON OBERHOLSER: 17 at Warwick.
DAVID FEHERTY: Yes. There was always some big fat guy that tried to make it into the water hazard.
ARRON OBERHOLSER: They used to bury kegs the night before in the ground. Dig a hole, bury kegs in the ground at Warwick.
DAVID FEHERTY: Yeah, the Flintstones, they were. And there was one in Greensboro too, but they kind of got sanitized, if you like, over the years. But this one has stood the test of time.
ARRON OBERHOLSER: This is where golf meets Coachella Music Festival plus Burning Man. That’s how I described it on air last year or the year before when I did Golf Central.
DAVID FEHERTY: Plus Miller Lite.
ARRON OBERHOLSER: Plus Miller Lite, yeah, exactly. Yeah, lots of silver bullets out there.
THE MODERATOR: And you’re doing 16 this year?
ARRON OBERHOLSER: I’ll be in the live, I’ll be doing live golf this year on 16. So I’ll be in the 16th tower this year. My first go around doing it. So I’m excited, I’m scared shitless, but I’m excited, yeah. Filling in for, filling shoes of Gary McCord, which are unfillable, in my opinion. It’s a little scary, but fun.
Q. When you see the dynamic out here of the crowds and the noise, do you think that’s going to change in the years to come when golf is more in with sports betting and you look at these guys, are they hoping to interfere on the outcome based on whatever bet they placed?
DAVID FEHERTY: That’s a great question.
ARRON OBERHOLSER: Great question.
DAVID FEHERTY: I mean, I suppose if you get a bunch of people with a vested interest, they might be tempted. That’s something that we have to have security on.
ARRON OBERHOLSER: I think you’ll see it. I think you’ll see it. I think that some, I think that someone will place a big enough bet that means enough to them to where they will attempt to alter the outcome if it’s not going their way.
Q. And that’s true every week on TOUR, not just this week?
DAVID FEHERTY: It’s good television, though, when you see somebody get collared and tossed out.
ARRON OBERHOLSER: It will be interesting, the ways in which, if they are, if it does happen, it will be interesting to see in which ways they try to distract the player, if it does happen, yeah. Without, because, obviously, you’re not going to want to get caught, so how subtle, how subtle will it be.
DAVID FEHERTY: The old blow dart, you know.
Q. In hockey they have used lasers on the goalie.
DAVID FEHERTY: Oh, yeah, yeah.
ARRON OBERHOLSER: I can see that.
DAVID FEHERTY: Put a laser in the goalie’s eye.
ARRON OBERHOLSER: I can imagine.
Q. They had a fan yell on Tiger’s back swing on his last shot at The Open a couple years ago at Carnoustie, and I wondered at the time if that’s what that guy was doing.
DAVID FEHERTY: Yeah, of course, because the betting is already there. Yeah. Yeah, it’s an interesting one. Never thought of that.
Q. The people that are used to the TV show, are they in for a little shock content-wise with your live show without the cameras?
DAVID FEHERTY: I’m not sure if they would be shocked. But, yeah, I mean, it’s very different, that’s for sure, because I’ve got to split my — I try to explain to people that to start off with in the show that tonight, I’m a comic. I’m not a sports announcer because sports announcers can’t speak. We’re frigging, we’re told what we can and can’t laugh at by the most humorless people in America.
ARRON OBERHOLSER: True story.
DAVID FEHERTY: That’s the way things are heading these days and I mean this country will be healed when everybody can make fun of everybody else.
ARRON OBERHOLSER: And no one gets offended.
DAVID FEHERTY: No one gets offended. That’s, that should be the goal. So, no, tonight’s different, that’s for sure. We have to explain to them that, the audience, that it’s for you, it’s not for YouTube or my ass is in trouble.
Q. Is this a one time deal with Gary or are you guys turning it into something?
DAVID FEHERTY: We’re going to do it and see how it goes and it’s something that I would like to do more often. I miss him. I miss him a lot. Especially with the way things have kind of broken for him. It gives me more of an opportunity to spend time with him, I think. It’s something that I would really enjoy. I’m saying that I am nervous tonight, it’s like being handcuffed to a primate that you’re not quite sure —
ARRON OBERHOLSER: How he’s going to react.
DAVID FEHERTY: How he’s going to he react. A Capuchin monkey or something, he might bite me.
ARRON OBERHOLSER: Yeah, that’s how I felt when I interviewed him that one time I’m like, Jesus, what’s he going to say. What’s he going to say.
Q. Have you given this new tour or this talk of this new tour much thought?
DAVID FEHERTY: You know, I really only — my finger is not on the golf pulse the way Arron’s would be and that, but it’s pretty amazing the thought of it and how it affects this TOUR and the European Tour, I mean it’s kind of out of left field, not sure what to think of it at the moment. On the one hand to play for that kind of money, hopefully they’re making similar charitable contributions, that’s a huge part of this TOUR, and one of the reasons that it’s done so well. Yeah, I mean, I can’t get my head around it at the minute until I sort of see what shape it’s going to take.
Q. A lot of players have said that like I don’t really have an opinion yet because I haven’t been able to read up on it but little pieces keep coming out we don’t know what’s true and what isn’t?
DAVID FEHERTY: They’re going to wait also and see what — yeah, I mean it’s a mind bender. Came out of nowhere.
Q. But it sounds like there’s money out there like, I mean these numbers aren’t just made up, right, there isn’t that kind of money out there?
DAVID FEHERTY: My God, you know, evidently. But I mean it’s the Saudis, right? I have a line about that tonight, I don’t think I can say it. I don’t think I can say it here. I trust you guys. What do you think, Jeremy?
JEREMY FRIEDMAN: Yeah, don’t do that.
BRAD JONES: I’ll leave some tickets for you guys at the show.
Q. Do you feel the need to watch, do you watch the, when you’re not on, do you watch the other weekends on TV to kind of stay informed?
DAVID FEHERTY: I try to catch a little bit of each week, yeah. On Sundays usually.
Q. Is it hard to make yourself watch golf like that after all these years?
DAVID FEHERTY: Yes. Yeah, it is. Especially when Live PD is on all the time, but, yeah, it is. I try to, one of the hard things to do, for you guys as well, is to figure out who these new kids are every year. Just to recognize them, to put a name with a face, that’s one of the reasons that I do it. I like to know who the hell I’m looking at.
Q. You mentioned 140 episodes or some number around there, you haven’t had Tiger. Is he your white whale and what have the conversations been like trying to get him?
DAVID FEHERTY: I haven’t been involved in any of that and to be honest with you I would love Tiger to be my last show. He’s getting to a place where I think he can — I can do the show properly — I want the show to be a service to him and the journalistic integrity is under question there, but I have guests, I don’t have victims. That’s for Piers Morgan or for someone else. And he’s done so much for all of us, hell, I might not have a job if it weren’t for him. I’m interested in him being vulnerable and just telling us how he’s felt the last 20 odd years and I don’t think that he’s been in a place where he would be comfortable doing that until it looks like he’s heading in that direction to me. I would love to have him on, but to have the kind of interview that I think would be of a service to him and me and Golf Channel, obviously, I think his stock would go up astronomically if he were to do the show and it were to work out like that.
JEREMY FRIEDMAN: Any more questions? All good.
DAVID FEHERTY: Thanks, guys.
JEREMY FRIEDMAN: All right. Guys. Thank you.