Road Hole Shorts

Golf Design, golf, golf, GOLF

David Feherty — when humor and sincerity intersect

By Mary Armstrong/For the Sun-News

Posted: 12/02/2010 10:12:32 PM MST

David Feherty is perhaps the most recognizable of all our golf broadcasters. His calling card is his iconic Irish accent and wit.

If you’re pulled into his off-kilter humor you’re sure to be a permanent fan. What you may not know is David is a tremendous supporter of our troops. In his own words: “Any member of the military can walk with me, any time, anywhere, as long as it’s okay with the organizers — and now that I think of it, even if it’s not.”

Feherty was born in Bangor, Northern Ireland in 1958. He became a naturalized citizen of the U.S. last February.

A week or so ago David wrote in his GOLF Magazine Blog about a day he spent with Marine Michael Campbell at the Colonial Tournament last May. The 28 year old had been severely injured while fighting in Fallujah in 2003. Specifically, he suffered a TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) when an IED exploded nearby, killing most of his fellow Marines.

Few people can take as serious an injury as this and add humor without demeaning the person or the horrific event that harmed him. But, David being David, waded right into the fray.

He begins with a self-deprecating observation — always good in these situations — stating that he didn’t recall how the meeting was arranged — probably due to his own self-inflicted TBI. Feherty goes on to give us a glimpse into his own personality by revealing he has had bouts with mental health. I suppose you could read his statement as self-deprecation as well, but somehow it came through as a true confession and in fact he has struggled with and been treated for alcoholism and depression.

Feherty’s attention was immediately peaked when Michael “announced that he was going to be spending the day with me, and that he wanted to turn pro.” Apparently Michael’s injuries have resulted in a very short memory span. David, having a “razor-sharp intuition,” realized this after the young man asked David his name twice in a 20-minute span and followed up with a request for a picture of the two of them.

Michael explained that it would help him to extend his two-minute memory span and also give him a place to write notes. At this point, Feherty recognized that Michael indeed did have some kind of mental issue. In his article he remarks, “For some reason I attract them, or maybe they attract me. Either way, I seem to spend a lot of time with people who at least on the surface appear to be totally crazy. And Michael the Marine was a ripper!”

As the day passed, David saw that like other wounded armed service members he’s met, Michael’s sense of humor was his self-defense. As they got to know each other, David’s feelings for Michael only became stronger. After the round, David offered Michael his cell phone number.

Later, they met at “Harmon’s Heroes” — an event that Butch Harmon and Greg Maddux host in Las Vegas. The week before Michael played in Feherty’s tournament in San Antonio. There, David discovered that when Michael told him he wanted to turn pro there was more to it than you might expect from someone with a TBI. The reality was that Michael really is a good player — so good that Butch Harmon thinks he might make the tour as well.

The title of David’s article was “The loss of memory can be a curse…and a blessing.” In typical Feherty fashion, he turns Michael’s disability into a positive, stating: “I think it was Ingrid Bergman who said, “All you need for a happy life is good health and a bad memory.'”

I can’t think of a sport other than golf in which these to attributes would be more helpful, so please remember the name, “Michael Campbell’. If nothing else, you should remember Michael, because he might not.

A golf architect in New Hampshire for over 20 years, Armstrong brought her craft to Las Cruces last January. She is the founder of Armstrong Golf Architects, which provides planning, designing, permitting and construction monitoring services for golf course projects. You can comment on her writing and view past articles at her blog: https://roadholeshorts17.wordpress.com/.

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