Ernie Els finished ninth in the U.S. Open /FREDERIC J. BROWN / GETTY IMAGES
Ernie Els has said David Feherty’s jokes about his putting stroke were a low blow and called the CBS Sports analyst a shock jock, during an interview for the July edition of Golf Magazine.
David Feherty made the comments about Els at the Tavistock Cup, an exhibition match in Orlando in March, featuring several top pros, including Tiger Woods. Ernie had missed a couple of short putts in the final holes of the Arnold Palmer Invitational and David introduced Els to the gallery on the first tee by saying that Els would be “putting with a live rattlesnake.” Then he later remarked that people had always wondered how Ernie lost with his beautiful swing and that “now we know.”
Ernie was not best impressed with the treatment handed out to him;
“I’ve known David for a long time, but for him to have said that was totally shocking and, well, not out of character, because he tries to shock the world all the time, but it was a low blow. It wasn’t a gentlemanly think to do. I wouldn’t have done that. It made the whole group very uncomfortable for the first few holes, it was a very shitty feeling. It wasn’t a very classy move, but then again it’s how he makes his living these days. He’s kind of a shock jock.”
“I knew he was going to say something, shock the world, get your two minutes of fame. As an athlete, going through those emotions, it’s not the greatest feeling to have, especially when he calls you a friend. At the end of the day, I screwed up in front of a lot of people on live television. But I’m still in the game. I didn’t quit. I’m still trying to win tournaments and majors, and the people who are criticizing you, their life journey was to play golf for a living and now they’re a journalist. I shouldn’t take it seriously, but you can’t help but take it personally. If you’re going to take the piss out of me, fine, but don’t do it with a microphone in your hand and in front of the whole world.”
To be fair to David, when told of Ernie’s discomfort at his remarks he said;
“I gave everybody a hard time at the Tavistock Cup, and I did it in proportion to how much affection I have for the person. If that backfired with Ernie, I unreservedly apologize, because I love the guy.”
I must say that I am not a great admirer of David Feherty’s commentary style, but he is so much better than the usual monotone offering we get from the others. They tend to trot out the same lines week in and week out; ” to play this course well you have to hit all the fairways and all the greens in regulation.” That is not commentary that is stating the blindingly obvious, I could do better myself, and I would be a lot cheaper.