Feherty under fire for joke

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- CBS Sports golf analyst David Feherty came under sharp criticism Saturday for a joke he wrote in a Dallas magazine article that suggested American soldiers would be just as likely to knock off House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Leader Harry Reid as they would Osama bin Laden.

Feherty was among five Dallas residents who wrote for "D Magazine" on former President George W. Bush moving to Dallas, where the former Ryder Cup player from Northern Ireland has been living the last dozen years.

"From my own experience visiting the troops in the Middle East, I can tell you this though," Feherty wrote toward the end of his column. "Despite how the conflict has been portrayed by our glorious media, if you gave any U.S. soldier a gun with two bullets in it, and he found himself in an elevator with Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and Osama bin Laden, there's a good chance that Nancy Pelosi would get shot twice, and Harry Reid and bin Laden would be strangled to death."

Feherty is among the most popular golf analysts on television for his glib humor. He writes a monthly column for Golf Magazine, and the last of the four books he has written was titled, "An Idiot for All Seasons."

CBS Sports quickly distanced itself from Feherty's writing.

"We want to be clear that this column for a Dallas magazine is an unacceptable attempt at humor and is not in any way condoned, endorsed or approved by CBS Sports," spokeswoman LeslieAnne Wade said.

CBS Sports is not televising the PGA Tour this week at The Players Championship, and Feherty did not immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comment.

"David Feherty is an insightful and sometimes humorous commentator for CBS Sports' golf coverage," the PGA Tour said in a statement. "However, his attempt at humor in this instance went over the line, and his comments were clearly inappropriate. We hope he will use better judgment in the future."

Media Matters for America demanded an apology.

"Mr. Feherty's violent comments about Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Reid are disgusting," said Eric Burns, president of the watchdog group. "Suggesting that our troops would attack the leaders of the very democracy they've sworn to sacrifice their lives for is an insult to their integrity, honor, and professionalism. CBS Sports should demand it's golf analyst apologize to our soldiers."

Feherty, a recovering alcoholic, has been part of the CBS golf team since 1997 and has been an endless stream of comedy on the air. Last week in North Carolina, he stumbled over a line of questioning until he wound up asking Tiger Woods how it felt to be the "loser" after he finished fourth at the Quail Hollow Championship. That brought laughter from the world's No. 1 player.

He has gone to Iraq the last two years over Thanksgiving to meet with the troops and deliver his irreverent humor, but the experience moved him to the point that he has applied for U.S. citizenship.

Feherty is involved with "Troops First Foundation," with hopes of raising $15 million for soldiers who return wounded, many of them without limbs. He created his own division -- "F Troop" -- and last year took eight soldiers to South Dakota for pheasant hunting.

"I think it was going to Iraq and being so proud of this country," he said in an interview in November. "The vast majority of Americans who haven't been outside of America don't really understand how wonderful this place is. ... And it just meant more to me, I think in the last year or so, having visited our troops abroad and spent so much time with them at home, that it will be a great honor for me to be an American."

He is supportive of the 43rd president and his relocation to Dallas.

"I think most of us here in Dallas would have understood if he and the former First Missus had moved someplace a little more secluded than Preston Hollow. Like Area 51, maybe, or some sandbar in the Galapagos Islands, just so they could catch their breath for a couple of years and take stock of their lives," Feherty wrote.