I had the chance to participate in a conference call with David Feherty and Hank Haney (Tiger Woods’s former coach) yesterday, hosted by Golf Channel. Next week marks the beginning of new seasons for both of their shows. Haney will premier at 9pm ET and Feherty at 10pm ET on Monday the 27th of February.
I asked Feherty about his upcoming show of course, but as “any question” was welcomed in this format I slipped in a couple of other questions as well. Hope you enjoy. Please note: spelling or word mistakes are from the transcript service, not my typing. For instance, Feherty called 10 at Riviera a “crap” hole, not a “crab” hole! I like crab hole though…
TONY KOROLOGOS: David (Feherty), your show has been extended by a half an hour, so what are you going to be doing to fill up the extra time? Are there any new wrinkles, formats, changes, surprises that we can watch for in that extra 30 minutes?
DAVID FEHERTY: Well, we found that the interviews and the subjects of the interview were often so compelling that it was extremely difficult to get the essence of what they said into 22 minutes of programming and a half hour show.
Leading up to the new season we extended the Tom Watson and Johnny Miller interviews, the Lee Trevino one was already an hour, and there were several more that should have been an hour. Greg Norman was an hour. We just felt it’s a better format, and that we can get more out of it.
Having said that, there will be other elements that we can use, some characters that I hope to introduce to the show, correspondents. Not unlike what John Stewart has done at the Daily Show. I’ve got a character called Dr. Phyll, that is searching for a drug that will help you play golf. And if he finds it, I’ll be really pissed off, because I looked for it for 20 years.
Hamish McGregor is my rules expert who will be answering rules questions. Things like that.
TONY KOROLOGOS: Hank, in working with the pros, do you feel like the new groove rules for the wedges really changed any part of their game or has really affected the game right now? Did you have to change any techniques or did anybody have to make adjustments at that point is this?
HANK HANEY: I don’t feel that it’s changed anything, to be honest with you. I don’t see any difference in the way players are playing the game. I think maybe we’ve seen players increase a little loft on their most lofted wedge. You were kind of seeing that already with some players using 64° wedges.
But that would have been the only probably minor adjustment that you might have seen a few players make to add a degree or two extra to their most lofted wedge to stop the ball a little quicker. But I don’t see that it’s done anything at all to be honest with you.
TONY KOROLOGOS: This past weekend the playoff hole 10 at Rivera is a short little par-4 and barely 300 yards, 310 or something like that. We saw three of the very best TOUR players try to play that hole and only one guy actually hit the green in regulation. Another great short hole I think of is 12 at Augusta. Do those holes show us something? We talked about how the ball is too long and length is such a problem and all of this. Is there something to be learned from those short holes like that which could help the game rather than worrying about scaling the ball back or making golf courses longer?
HANK HANEY: Well, I think one thing you’ve seen a certain trend in golf courses in the last year, and particularly the way they set up tournaments is everyone is intrigued by the short par4. You see the USGA is doing it with their tournaments, trying to make a hole, if it’s possible, a drivable hole. It does go to show you that a golf course doesn’t have to be long to be difficult.
By the same token, to be a real test of golf, you want to have to hit ball of the shots. In order to do that, you have to have length, and you have to have the ability to stretch the course out, because the ball does go so far now.
DAVID FEHERTY: You get holes like number 10 at Rivera, and continually I sort of disagree with my colleagues when it’s considered to be one of the finest short par4s in the world. It’s not. It’s a crab hole. But what it does, it brings out the best and the worst in the best players in the world. But it doesn’t have to be any good to do so.
The 17th at Scottsdale, or the 15th at Hartford, it’s drivable, but it’s just so fiddly and tricky. There is no real way to play it properly.
For instance, yesterday, if one of the players I mean, I said that I felt that four could win having watched the 18th, which might be the toughest hole on the golf course. Two of them birdied it to get into a playoff.
The tenth hole, even though it’s a 5iron and a sand wedge, you can’t hit the sand wedge on the green. It’s such a steep pitch and it’s so narrow. Everything about it is just so wrong, that it turns out right for television, because it makes the best players in the world look like idiots at times. I think that’s what makes it so attractive to the viewer because they think to themselves, I could do that. Where the reality is, no, they couldn’t. They’d make 11 there.