The Half-Centurion: Golf Magazine and David Feherty Celebrate their 50th Birthdays

The Half-Centurion: Golf Magazine and David Feherty Celebrate their 50th Birthdays

"Few people who knew me well expected me to make it to 50."

I don’t know what the life
expectancy of this magazine
was in the late 1950s, but I
dare say that there were a lot
of publications born back then
that aren’t around now. It’s odd,
but pretty much the only thing
I have in common with the
rag is age. We are now both 50
years old, but a half century of
existence allows an inanimate
object such as a magazine to
evolve, while the first 47 years
of my life were essentially a
backward slide from the naked
innocence of my birth, through
unremarkable formative years
in the war zone of 1960s Ulster,
to the truculent ignorance of my
teens, the subsequent dropping
out of high school due to the
delusion that I might become
a professional golfer, a few years
of poverty-stricken hacking and
duffing, followed by a strange career
that, if it were compared to a tee shot, was
a complete top that went straight down the
middle, had a few spectacular bounces, but
ended up in a deep pool of casual alcohol
and drugs, from which I got a free drop
into journalism and TV. Needless to say,
few people who knew me well expected
me to make it to 50. But She Who Must Be
Obeyed is 51, older and wiser, had other
plans, and I’m probably a dead man now
anyway, after writing that bit.

But here we are, and as I write I feel
Ziggy, the worst beagle in Texas, nudging
my elbow as if there is something to eat
in my armpit. Coincidentally, my beloved
mound of hound is now seven years and
almost two months old, which makes him
50, too, right on the cold wet nose that is
now at a level that brings his slurping tackle
within reach of my beard, his 50-year-old
stick of a tail twitching joyously for no
apparent reason other than he seems to
have escaped the three other canines here
that eat food clearly belonging to him.

It’s been almost 13 years now since
George Peper, then editor of this rag, made
the fatal error of reading a column I had
written for a British golf mag that both
he and I knew was a pile of smoldering
hamster crap. He asked me how heavily I
was edited, and I told him that most of my
nights had been filled with dreams of how
I might get away with editorial homicide,
which was why I had quit. He asked me for
some unedited copy, after which he offered
me this job with the promise that he would
leave my work more or less alone, even if I
did want to write about dogs, guns, drugs
and alcohol, funerals, inventing my own
religion, poison ivy on the rectum and other
toilet behavior, or to regularly bash the
living daylights out of the R&A or USGA.
Yippee-ki-yay, bombs away, we were off!

Roughly 150 columns,
six editors, and numerous
features later, here I am
as usual, wondering how
this piece got started and
where the hell it’s going.

Oh, right — 50 years.
Writing is the hardest
thing I do, and by far the
most rewarding. Yeah,
sure, I’ve had a few letters
of complaint over the years,
even a few that managed to
make a good point or two
from which I’ve learned, and
one or two of them prosaic
and scathing. The majority
of the mail, however, has
been generally illiterate and
bigoted, and this is something
that cheers me up immensely,
for there is nothing I enjoy
more than pissing off illiterate
bigots. Occasionally I will even
correct one of them with a red
Sharpie and send it back with a big
red “F” on it. I’ve even had the occasion
to complain about myself, a column that
evoked utter rage from several readers
who quickly sprung to my defense, bless
their hearts, not having realized I’d written
the thing myself! Ah yes, my people —
complete morons.

Now, before anyone writes in to complain
about being labeled a moron, let me say this:
Most of my best friends are morons, at least
in some way or another, and I’m willing to
bet that most of you out there know exactly
what I mean. And the best part is, they are
friends with you because they think you’re
a moron, too… and you probably are. It’s
the clever people you have to be wary of, or
at least the ones who think they are clever
all of the time. Remember, “I don’t know,”
is always an acceptable answer, and often
the correct one, too, even if you do know.
That’s why I’ll always be grateful to Peper
for giving me the chance to talk to so many
of you each month. I don’t know why he
did, and if you were to ask him, he probably
wouldn’t know either.

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