Why CBS’ Decision to Let Feherty Go Is a Mistake

Sources say Feherty wanted a booth job and more money.
Sources say Feherty wanted a booth job and more money.

So after 19 years of walking the fairways, controversial golf analyst David Feherty and CBS have parted ways because they couldn’t reach an agreement on the sportscaster’s “role on the network’s golf coverage.”

Multiple sources confirm the situation went south because Feherty wanted a booth job for his three-piece suit, a network role Nick Faldo already shares with Jim Nantz, and because Feherty was asking for too much money. CBS should’ve paid the man.

In my opinion, CBS made a huge mistake by vastly underestimating Feherty’s popularity on its golf coverage. The Twitter trolls seem to agree with me. No doubt, Feherty was divisive. He’s not your average golf commentator. His demeanor is funny and sarcastic, and because he’s a former pro, Feherty’s not afraid to jab at the players.

Nick Faldo, on the other hand, is your average, unadventurous golf commentator – another boring, pompous-sounding Englishman who fails to resonate with younger viewers. Feherty is incredibly witty, and his Irish accent just adds to the spectacle because every comment he makes sounds like its in the form of a question.

Golf takes itself way too seriously – on the course and on the air, which is why the 57-year-old Feherty was and is perfect. He knows the game, but he’s also a distinct personality. For the Win’s Chris Chase recently suggested Feherty “had carte blanche to say whatever he’d like, almost like a golf Charles Barkley… and was every bit as important to CBS’s golf coverage as Nantz or Faldo.” I agree and disagree. Nantz is one-of-a-kind. Faldo makes me yawn.

NBC feels like the better landing area for Feherty since he already has a show on the Comcast-owned Golf Channel.

And that brings us to Feherty’s two main suitors: NBC/Golf Channel, owned by Comcast (where Feherty already has an interview show), and FOX Sports. Industry insiders with knowledge of the goings-on at the peacock network say NBC is grooming David Duval for lead analyst Johnny Miller’s job when the 68-year-old Miller is ready to move on.

They do want Feherty – but to work as an on-course reporter, the same job he seems tired of doing at CBS.

FOX Sports already has a lead analyst too, Greg Norman, but Feherty would seemingly be a much better fit for the network that already has a penchant for the kind of outspoken comments that put Feherty on the map in the first place.

The only problem is that FOX only has the rights to three USGA tournaments – the U.S. Open, the U.S. Women’s Open, and the U.S. Amateur. That doesn’t leave much airtime for Feherty, but he would be an instant hole-in-one for a network still looking to make a name for itself in the sport where it’s a newcomer.

Where Feherty goes from here is anybody's guess.
Where Feherty goes from here is anybody’s guess, but he won’t be out of work for long. He’s too good.

If you ask me, NBC just feels like the better landing area for Feherty. To make up for losing the U.S. Open, it has the British Open beginning in 2017, the Ryder Cup, THE PLAYERS Championship, the Olympics (where golf will makes its debut next year) and numerous other PGA Tour events. And again, Feherty already has a show with the network. But it’s unlikely that NBC would share Feherty with Fox like it did with CBS. Either way, it’s hard to imagine Feherty being outside the ropes for very long.

Portions of this post courtesy of Golf Digest and For the Win.

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