David Feherty was once penalized for marking his ball with an extremely odd item

January 30, 2020
David Feherty takes a walk to the next tee during a broadcast.

David Feherty has many wild and hilarious stories about his days as a Tour pro, but he told one on Wednesday that some in the golfing world might not have heard yet. What did we learn from it? Always bring a ball marker.

NBC Sports/GOLF Channel analysts Feherty and Arron Oberholser participated in a media roundtable at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, and one reporter asked Feherty to retell the story about that time he was penalized for an obscure reason at the Houston Open.

“When I teed off that morning I was a little unprepared, to say the least,” Feherty said. “And confused, maybe slightly hungover.”

Feherty said he got to the course in the morning and didn’t have a marker on him. So he had to improvise.

“[Hotels] gave you a key rather than the damn cards that we get now, and that’s all I had in my pocket,” Feherty said. “And I used it to mark my ball and I can’t remember how it came about, but [rules official] Vaughn Moise, he sort of became aware of this and he came over and said, ‘You can’t do that. It’s got to be a disk, it’s got to be whatever it was at the time.’ Now you can mark your ball with an elephant turd. It doesn’t make any difference. But back then it was a penalty.”

Feherty said it wasn’t a penalty according to the Rules of Golf, but it was a Tour rule that he violated. He said he believes it was the third or fourth round of the event “because I think I was comfortably not in contention but still in the tournament, which is probably why it didn’t upset me that much.” That means it was likely in 1995, when he opened with a 68 but ended up T46 after closing with rounds of 74-72-73. (The only other time he played the event was in 1994 and he shot 72-77 and missed the cut.)

Feherty said he never challenged the penalty.

“I was too disillusioned at the time,” he said. “It wasn’t the high point of my playing career.”