January 07, 2013 4:14pm PT by Marisa Guthrie
Golf Channel Host David Feherty Talks Interview Wish-List, Checkered Past
David Feherty joined broadcaster Jimmy Roberts and Golf Channel president Mike McCarley at the network’s session at the semi-annual Television Critics Association press tour on Monday. And as expected, Feherty, the colorful, excitable golf analyst-turned-interviewer whose eponymously titled show heads into its third season Feb. 25, was the main focus.
He regaled gathered reporters with tales of his checkered past as an addict, his views on the game now (“golf is a depressing sport”; everyone who plays it has some form of PTSD), and his interviews with luminaries including Bill Clinton (who said it has been one of his “great dreams” to be interviewed by Feherty) and Samuel L. Jackson (“he has very little time for anyone who finds him impressive,” said Feherty).
"Because I’m so attention deficit," explained Feherty, "it turns into more of a conversation than an interview."
The third season of Feherty includes interviews with golfing icon Billy Casper – a 51-time winner on the PGA Tour and three-time major winner – at his Utah home. A member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints who has been married to the same woman for 60 years (they have eleven children), Casper takes Feherty to a rehearsal of the world-famous Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Subsequent interviews include volatile, chair-throwing basketball coach Bobby Knight, golfers Jack Nicklaus, Paul Azinger, Phil Mickelson, Nick Faldo and Colin Montgomerie, as well as PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem.
Asked who he'd like to get on his show, he responded: "There are people on my wish list - Jessica Biel - but I don’t know if they play golf or not. Justin Timberlake I know plays golf so I have an outside chance."
Meanwhile, Roberts, a veteran broadcaster who has covered 14 Olympics and has 13 Emmy awards, will examine stories that are only tangentially connected to golf. The March 12 premiere episode of In Play with Jimmy Roberts will feature Valentino Dixon, who has spent the past 21 years in Attica State Prison in upstate New York. Eligible for parole in 2030, Dixon has never played a round of golf but he passes the time in his cell drawing famous golf holes from around the world. Subsequent installments of the monthly program include the story of former USGA president Reg Murphy was the victim of a kidnapping in 1974 and a chronicle of golfers Hunter Mahan, Michael Thompson and coach Sean Foley who found themselves in the midst of the latest conflict between Israel and Hamas when they traveled to Israel last November on a peace mission to mentor Israeli and Palestinian youth.
“A story is a story,” said Roberts. “It doesn’t matter what it’s about.”
Also this season on Golf Channel, the latest iteration of The Haney Project (Feb. 25), which will feature Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps in eight episodes with legendary swing coach Hank Haney. The series has featured Charles Barkley, Ray Romano and Adam Levine. Phelps’ fledgling golf career is off to a good start. Last October, he sank a 153-foot putt at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship at Kingsbridge. Video of the putt has been an Internet sensation generating millions of hits on YouTube.