CBS golf commentator David Feherty is in a bit of trouble right now for some jokes he wrote about the way he'd like to see certain Democratic congressmen treated. But while Feherty is making national news for his comments, he's by no means the first -- or even the fifth -- golf announcer to get himself in trouble. (Or magazine publisher, as that infamous cover at right indicates.) Consider this list of unfortunate statements that have made their way from deep inside golf announcers' skulls onto the airwaves or newspapers of the world. Are we too sensitive as a society, or do golf announcers just have a little too much time to fill?
Jack Whitaker: Way back in 1966, Whitaker referred to Masters galleries as a "mob scene." The Masters didn't take kindly to that description of their honored patrons, and twisted some arms to make sure Whitaker got removed from broadcast duties at Augusta.
Gary McCord: In 1994, McCord remarked that the greens at Augusta were "smoothed with bikini wax" and that some mounds on the course resembled body bags. Not particularly controversial, except when you're talking Augusta. As with Whitaker, Masters officials got McCord booted off the telecast, and he hasn't been back since.
Ben Wright: In 1996, Wright allegedly offered up a bevy of inflammatory quotes to a reporter for the Delaware News-Journal, including these gems: "Let's face facts here. Lesbians in the sport hurt women's golf ... They're going to a butch game and that furthers the bad image of the game." He added, "Women are handicapped by having boobs. It's not easy for them to keep their left arm straight, and that's one of the tenets of the game. Their boobs get in the way." He later denied making the statements, and was not suspended by CBS.
Johnny Miller: During the thrilling Woods-Mediate showdown at the U.S. Open in June 2008, Miller remarked that Rocco "looks like the guy who cleans Tiger Woods' pool." It seemed wrong to the easily offended, even if they couldn't quite explain why. Miller caught some grief but no disciplinary action.
Kelly Tilghman: In January 2008, Kelly Tilghman remarked that some of Tiger Woods' rivals might want to "lynch him in a back alley." Lynching + a black man = comedy fail. Tilghman was suspended for two weeks, but remains on the job.
Richard Boxall and Bruce Critchley: During the HSBC Championship in Shanghai in November 2008, Sky News' Boxall and Critchley pulled off the rare double-moronic race feat. Boxall led off with this gem: "With all these Chinese people around, I'm not sure if I bumped into him [Kim] in the hotel reception last night. I'm not sure if it was him." A few minutes later, when Kim misplaced an approach shot, Critchley said Kim had a look of "Oriental surprise," according to the Irish Independent newspaper. Despite criticism, no action was taken.
Andrew Magee: At the FBR Open in February of this year, Andrew Magee remarked on-air that he saw a guy wearing a t-shirt that read, "I got kicked out of the Boy Scouts for eating a Brownie." Was it a pedophile joke? A drug one? Could go either way, but Magee got a reprimand from the Golf Channel.
David Feherty: In an article written for D Magazine, Feherty opined that if a U.S. soldier were in an elevator with Osama bin Laden, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, "there's a good chance that Nancy Pelosi would get shot twice, and Harry Reid and bin Laden would be strangled to death." It probably would have been written off as an ill-chosen statement were it not for comedian Wanda Sykes' jokes about Rush Limbaugh being a 9/11 terrorist at the Washington Correspondents' Dinner. But since we're in a tit-for-tat culture, and since each side's comedian has now apparently deeply offended the other side, this could keep spiraling downward.
For Feherty's sake, I hope this ends here. It was a stupid thing to write, but that's it -- nobody was or will be harmed by this, and anybody who takes offense at simple words in times like these needs to grow a thicker skin.