David Feherty speaks: 'I'm lucky to be alive'

David Feherty speaks: ‘I’m lucky to be alive’

David Feherty said he'll be ready for the Masters.
Fred Vuich/SI

Two weeks ago David Feherty was hit by a truck while riding a bicycle near his Dallas home. Golf Magazine editor-at-large Connell Barrett caught up with the TV funnyman as he recuperates on his couch surrounded by candies and get-well cards.

It’s been two weeks since your bike-riding accident. How are you feeling?

Before the accident, I could ride 50 miles without breaking a sweat. Now, I can’t get halfway up the stairs without breaking for a nap. I can’t put enough weight on my arms to get out of a chair by myself, and I haven’t voluntarily farted in 10 days. I can’t cough, and a sneeze could be fatal. Otherwise, I’m peachy!

What are your injuries?

I have a torn bursa sac in my left elbow, a separated shoulder and three broken ribs, one of which is broken in two spots. That’s called a “floater.” I’m proud of my floater. Oh, and I had a punctured lung.

Tell us about the accident.

I adore riding. It’s my therapy. Two weeks ago, I was riding my beautiful 6.5 Trek Madone — now mangled — on the right side of the right-hand lane on a road about a mile from my home in Dallas. I’d done about 45 miles. I can’t go into detail about the accident due to legal reasons, but I was hit by a pickup truck towing a trailer as we both approached a traffic light. I felt a violent blow to my back, and I went flying through the air. I landed on my left side, on my left shoulder. I took a good crack to my helmet. It could have been much worse — the truck sort of pushed me off to the right, instead of sucking me underneath. Otherwise, I’d be roadkill. It was a slice — if it had been a hook it would have been fatal. So I’m lucky in that sense, but it was still a violent thud of a landing. It was Olympian. I got scores of 6.9 for artistic impression, but I couldn’t stick the landing.

You hear about people seeing their life flash before their eyes. Did you experience any sensations like that?

No, I remember just trying to stay conscious. It was hard to breathe. I was lying there like a goldfish out of his bowl. As it turns out, I wasn’t in grave danger lying there — you can breathe and survive with one lung, and I didn’t have much internal bleeding. But, of course, I didn’t know all that at the time. I was writhing around, unable to breathe. I said to myself, ‘If I pass out, am I coming back?’ I remember feeling that if this is it for me, I’m not unhappy. I’ve done all right. I was ready to go, if it was going to happen. I wasn’t afraid. I also remember a woman stopping. She came over and held my hand, asking, “Can you hear me?” She stayed with me until the paramedics came. I couldn’t talk, but I could listen, and I remember her voice. I haven’t been able to find out who she is yet. If you’re out there, call me. I’d love to say thank you.

The paramedics came and put you in the ambulance. You were concerned about your riding clothes, right?

[Laughs] They strapped me to a board, put me in an ambulance, and we were off. It’s funny how your mind works. Under my outer clothes I was wearing this skin-tight riding suit. It has a chamois that protects your ass from a bike’s razor-blade saddle. This is a $400 suit. They had to cut my clothes off in the ambulance to check for broken bones. They’re ripping and tearing, and I’m tallying up the total in my mind, thinking, Hey, easy! This is a $400 suit! Of course, I couldn’t really talk. I was too busy yelping like a coyote on acid. I remember thinking, ‘I wonder what my manhood looks like.’ There’s a compression issue with clothes that tight, and sometimes it makes your member looks like a button mushroom. No, guys, it’s normally bigger than this, I swear!

You were in the hospital for four days. Did you get an outpouring of support?

It was incredible. I want to offer a class-action “thank you” to everyone. I’ll be writing about this in Golf Magazine. Jack Nicklaus, bless him, called and made me laugh hardest. I had to cancel plans to go to The Jake, Jack and Barbara’s pro-am benefiting their efforts to fight childhood illnesses. I really wanted to be there, and Jack said, “Hey, don’t worry about it. We might actually make some money now that you’re not coming.” I laughed so hard I almost broke another rib. Johnny Miller called to wish me well. That fat bastard [Roger] Maltbie at NBC suggested on the air they take up a collection to buy me training wheels. Like training wheels are so expensive? If he really cared, he’d have splurged and bought them himself.

Have you heard from your CBS cohort, Gary McCord?

McCord calls me twice a day. He loves other people’s misfortune. But if I have to tell one more person about what happened … I’ve now explained it so many times in calls and text messages that it would be less painful to go back to the scene, build some bleachers, invite all my ghoulish friends, and have the guy hit me with his trailer again. That would save me some time. [Laughs]

Sounds like laughter is not the best medicine when you have broken ribs and a punctured lung.

I almost didn’t survive the Eliot Spitzer story. That nearly killed me! But people have been fabulous. I’ve injured my thumb sending out so many Blackberry messages. I’ve written over 80 thank-you notes. I’ve got more flowers here than a funeral home, and I’ve been eating about 800 boxes of Easter candy people have sent me. It’s been wonderful and heartwarming.

You’ll be at the Masters, we hope?
Oh yeah, I’ll be ready. I’ll weigh about 800 pounds, but I’ll be there.