McIlroy, a few weeks short of 22nd birthday, had just experienced the most disappointing setback of his young career when the lead he had held for 63 holes at Augusta National evaporated after a terrible tee shot at the 10th hole and Feherty marvelled at his maturity.
“I was with him that Sunday night at Augusta and I said, ‘you doing all right kid?’” Feherty recalled. “And he said, ‘hey, if that’s the worst day of my life, I will be a hell of a lot better off than most people’.
“What a weight to have on your shoulders for three and a half days and tip it off. One bad swing around that place will expose every raw nerve.”
Feherty will be living on his nerves on Monday night when he makes his debut as a chat show host on the Golf Channel. The 52-year-old former Ryder Cup player has for many years forged a very successful career as an on-course commentator for the CBS network, his offbeat and razor-sharp wit coming to the fore in the process.
Now “Feherty” will showcase that often ribald humour in a weekly series which will premiere on Monday with a one-hour special featuring an interview with Lee Trevino and see the naturalised American perform opening and closing monologues amongst other things.
“This is something I wanted to do for a long time but haven’t had the forum to do it, and I am very grateful to the Golf Channel for the opportunity to believe that I could do it,” Feherty said on Wednesday night as he sat on the edge of the stage at the Greenberg Theatre in Washington DC, having just given invited guests a live taste of what his new show will be like.
“My head is so full of stuff, things that come into my head and straight out, I don’t remember them, and this is a chance to actually have some recorded and see if some people find them funny, entertaining, or poignant.
“It isn’t just the ridiculous side of golf, I do ask people questions, not so much tough questions, but awkward ones. Questions that interest me that might not occur to other people. It’s a hell of a process, I feel like someone has pulled a Christmas tree out of my ass backwards.”
Getting guests to come on his show has so far not been a problem. A highlights video on Wednesday showed interview clips with Trevino, Tom Watson, NBA legend Charles Barkley, Hollywood star Don Cheadle and Luke Donald. Yet one interview subject to elude the show so far is Tiger Woods.
“I have made an effort and so far have not been successful,” Feherty admitted. “I would like to interview him in his new place. First of all, he needs some serious PR stroke. It would not be an unintelligent thing to do, to talk to me in this forum.
“What would I ask him? I’d ask him if he could change one things in his life what would it be. I’d ask him if he confused fun with happiness and thought they were the same thing. I’m an addict and that’s what I did.
“I thought fun and happiness were the same thing but they’re not. They’re entirely different. That’s a common thing among all addicts. They are always getting those two things mixed up. When you confuse fun and happiness, you get unhappiness. Those are the questions I’d ask.”