In an interview in the July issue of Golf Magazine, Ernie Els said David Feherty's jokes about Els's putting stroke were "a low blow" and called the CBS Sports analyst a "shock jock."
Feherty made the comments about Els at the Tavistock Cup, a hit-and-giggle exhibition in Orlando in March featuring several top pros, including Tiger Woods. Els had missed a couple of short putts in the final holes of the Transitions Championship, which prevented him from qualifying for this year's Masters. The next day at the Tavistock Cup, Feherty introduced Els to the gallery on the first tee by saying that Els would be “putting with a live rattlesnake.”
"I've known David for a long time, but for him to have said that was totally shocking and — well, not out of character, because he tries to shock the world all the time, but it was a low blow," Els told Golf Magazine. "It wasn't a gentlemanly think to do. I wouldn't have done that.
"It made the whole group very uncomfortable for the first few holes — it was a very s—–y feeling," Els continued. “It wasn't a very classy move, but then again it's how he makes his living these days. He's kind of a shock jock.”
At the same event, Feherty also said that people had always wondered how Els lost with his beautiful swing and that “now we know.”
"I knew he was going to say something," Els said of Feherty's remarks. "Shock the world, get your two minutes of fame. As an athlete, going through those emotions, it's not the greatest feeling to have, especially when he calls you a friend. At the end of the day, I screwed up in front of a lot of people on live television. But I'm still in the game. I didn't quit.
"I'm still trying to win tournaments and majors, and the people who are criticizing you, their life journey was to [play golf for a living] and now they're a journalist," Els said. "I shouldn't take it seriously, but you can't help but take it personally. If you're going to take the piss out of me, fine, but don't do it with a microphone in your hand and in front of the whole world."
In response to Els's comments, Feherty told Golf Magazine that he did not intend to offend Els.
"I gave everybody a hard time at the Tavistock Cup, and I did it in proportion to how much affection I have for the person,” Feherty said. “If that backfired with Ernie, I unreservedly apologize, because I love the guy."
Els has four top-10 finishes on the PGA Tour in 2012. He finished ninth at the U.S. Open last week to climb back into the top 40 in the World Rankings.
The July issue of Golf Magazine is on newsstands now; it is also available free for subscribers on tablets at golf.com/allaccess.