From sports

David Feherty: The Golf Channel’s Wild Man

David Ferherty & Tiger Woods out on the golf course

David Feherty is a bipolar recovering alcoholic and former touring golf pro who also happens to be one of the best interviewers on TV.

When Feherty debuted on the Golf Channel, did you purposely decide to be vulnerable and talk so openly about yourself?

None of it is planned. Like when Jack Nicklaus was on. He was talking about his father. My father has Alzheimer’s now, and I don’t know what to do for my mother, or how to approach my father. So I asked Jack for advice. He said, “Just love him. Just be there for him.” And it was a powerful moment. I’m at an advantage – all of my skeletons are out of the closet. I’m as fucked up as they come. I have to take 13 pills a day to be this normal.

What did you learn from your years of alcoholism?

It didn’t work for me when I was drinking. Nobody knew I had a drinking problem, until I showed up one day and was sober. A good drunk is worse than a bad drunk, because it’s going to kill you and people aren’t even going to notice. When I wrote my first book, a novel, I was hammered. I wrote it in a whiskey-induced coma. At one point I set my swimming pool on fire. Shot a tree in half in the backyard. I thought I wasn’t going to be able to write once I sobered up – that that’s where creativity came from. But if I hadn’t gone through that, I don’t think I’d have the viewpoint I have today. Now nothing matters other than the time I have left. I don’t live one day at a time – I live 20 minutes at a time. It drives my wife Anita crazy because I can’t think of what I’m doing tomorrow.

What turned you around?

The feeling I was failing my wife and daughter. Eight years ago, when she was seven, my daughter climbed on top of me and put her forehead on mine. I was on a La-Z-Boy with a bottle of Bushmills on the table beside me. I was half-man, half-mattress. And she’s smiling and says, “Dad, you need another bottle.” And I sent her to get one. Because I wasn’t where I needed to be yet. I’ll never forget her saying that to me, and it was part of the turning point.

He speaks about his depression in a 2013 interview

There’s no mystery to Feherty’s behavior. Six years ago, in a widely read Golf Magazine profile, the retired tour pro admitted to years of alcoholism and prescription drug abuse — a dance with clinical depression that had him drinking more than two bottles of Irish whiskey per day. The underlying diagnosis is Bipolar I disorder, a form of manic-depressive illness. Hypomanic symptoms consistent with Bipolar I include “inflated self-esteem, flight of ideas, distractibility, and decreased need for sleep” — which pretty much describes Feherty’s forgetfulness, his rants, and his four-in-the-morning trips to the garage to cut rifle-barrel threads on a lathe.

“Everybody’s brain chemistry is different,” says Feherty, freely conceding that his resembles the formula for Sara Lee lemon-meringue pie. Along with a daily regimen of antidepressants and mood-stabilizers he takes “an enormous dose” of amphetamines. (“They make other people hyper, but they make me relaxed.”) He wears his pharmaceutical leash grudgingly, but it’s way better than the despondency that engulfs him if he doesn’t take his meds.

“And occasionally I don’t,” he admits. “I have the brilliant idea that I’m all right now, that I’m no longer depressed.”

Asked to describe his depressive episodes, he stares at his hands. “I feel a hollowness inside that I wouldn’t wish on anybody.”

There’s no punch line. No kicker. That’s unusual for Feherty, who has been making people laugh since he assumed the “class jester” role at his school in Bangor, N.I., a Belfast exurb. Bangor is where he began, as he puts it, “playing the part of me.”

Here, for instance, is how Feherty, playing “Feherty,” talks about his alcoholism:

I would go for my annual physical once every three years [arched eyebrows] and my numbers were all right, until the last one. My doctor was looking at the chart, and he said, “How much are you drinking?” And I thought, Oh god [slumped shoulders], here we go. I said, “Well, you know, one and a half, two and a half bottles a day.” He said, “Of wine?” And I said, “No, Irish whiskey.” The doctor said, “My god [mouth agape], these numbers should be in Cooperstown! They’re Mickey Mantle’s! Have you ever thought about getting help?” And I said, “No! [bewildered look] I can drink it all by myself!”

You can’t help but laugh. But if you’re Feherty, you’re wondering what kind of damage the whiskey and pills did to your ruminative organ. And you’re asking Anita why, in a country where Debbie Does Dallas can be overnighted with a single click of the mouse, there’s a two-month wait to get a brain scan.

Make sure you watch this amazing interview with Tom Watson where Watson talks about his own addiction and the intervention that he held that saved David Feherty’s marriage and life.

CrossFit’s insecurity is showing

Good article in Outside Magazine about the founders of Crossfit not really being team players.

I’d spent the past two-and-a-half years reporting on obstacle racing, a sport whose meteoric growth was greatly fueled by CrossFitters looking for a place to test their strength. I wanted to see what a straight-up CrossFit competition was like. Instead, my press pass was denied.

“Outside Online has published headlines and articles about CrossFit and the CrossFit Games that lead us to question Outside Magazine and Outside Online’s editorial intentions,” said the email from CrossFit Press, which arrived after we reached out to Greene. The email listed four Outside articles to which CrossFit had taken offense: a report on a Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research study that suggested CrossFit has a 16 percent injury rate, a report on the subsequent lawsuit between CrossFit and the journal (published by the National Strength and Conditioning Association), the NPFL story, and another story digging deeper into injury statistics.

No mention was made, however, of the stories we’ve published trumpeting CrossFit’s stars like four-time CrossFit Games champion Rich Froning, pointing readers to the regimen’s best boxes, or even promoting CrossFit-inspired training plans. Outside has covered all aspects of the fitness trend since it began.

With that in mind, we asked CrossFit to reevaluate its decision. CrossFit is important to us and to many of our readers. We were eager to cover the games. Again, we were rejected. This time, our email didn’t even elicit a response.

Denying our press pass is like the NFL writing, “Dear ESPN, We can’t let you cover the Super Bowl, because you covered the traumatic-brain-injury concerns of NFL players.” By CrossFit’s logic, every major media outlet in the United States should be blackballed, from the New York Times to USA Today, because we’ve all covered CrossFit injuries.

Keith Olbermann on How the NFL Encourage Violence Against Women

For years Jordon has been talking about how professional sports encourages violence against women by minimizing punishment and the actions of athletes who do violent acts.  Keith Olbermann agrees and broadcast this much watch segment on how women are treated by the media, by their colleagues, and by other athletes and how that leads to violence.  Even if you are not a sports fan, watch the video.

The ‘World Cup Is Over, Now What?’ Guide to Soccer

From Grantland

Just because the World Cup is over doesn’t mean soccer stops. Soccer never stops; that’s one of its biggest appeals. There are so many different teams, leagues, club competitions, and international tournaments that, if you want to, you can always find someone to cheer for or some team to root against. It can also be a bit daunting to wade into without any experience. Luckily, you have me, your Russian Premier League–watching, tactics board–chalking, Opta Stats–devouring Gandalf, to help you tailor your soccer-watching habits

Jordon is a Manchester United fan but I think I am going to stay in North America.  It comes down to Toronto FC, Montreal Impact, or Vancouver Whitecaps.  Since I live in the west, I going with the Vancouver Whitecaps (Jordon just left the house and is filing for divorce).  

Place Place

Does anyone actually cheer for the Canadian Men’s National Soccer Team.  I’d cheer for the Guyanese National Football Team but they haven’t played a game since 2012.