David Feherty can't remember the exact year, but he knows it was the Houston Open. "It's all in the swirling winds of time," the NBC/Golf Channel announcer muses. Regardless, he certainly remembers what happened in his hotel room that week.
Perhaps you've heard the tale that involves Feherty, the late Payne Stewart and a groundhog. Perhaps not. Either way, it's worth revisiting the all-time prank Payne pulled on his fellow tour pro. And hearing how Feherty's attempt at revenge wound up backfiring. We'll let Feherty take it from here.
"The night before we’d been watching the basketball game, he swapped the hotel keys and I got the red light, but didn’t think anything of it," Feherty told a few media members on Thursday in New York City, where he was promoting the 10th season of his self-titled series. “I come back having played in the afternoon, and clump, put my clubs down by the desk and a fucking beaver jumps out from underneath it. Scared the living shit out of me. This thing was foaming at the mouth! I end up standing on the desk, torn 18 inches of sheetrock off of the ceiling with the chandelier cord . . . And it keels over. I’m poking it with my sand wedge to make sure the damn thing is dead. I’m looking at it and it’s a steaming pile of Stewart. That’s what it is."
Feherty knew Stewart was behind the prank. He also knew he would never admit to it, so he decided to play it cool. Only, that proved to be more difficult than he anticipated.
"I decided I’ll act like nothing happened. Like I didn’t notice this," said Feherty, who added he believed Stewart thought the roadkill was dead when he deposited it in his room. "I was supposed to meet him at the bar that night, we were going to watch another basketball game. . . . The bartender gives me a drink and I’m still shaking, you know, like a pregnant nun. And he looks at me and says, “What’s wrong with you?” I said, “You put a f---ing groundhog in my room, you son of a bitch!”
Despite all evidence pointing to Payne, Feherty said the three-time major champ never fessed up. But Feherty was so sure it was him, he decided to get revenge by switching a different set of keys. It didn't work.
“In Greensboro a couple weeks later, I said, ‘Oh, I’ll get him back.’ I took his courtesy car keys off the rack . . . I took them around the side of the clubhouse and tossed them in the rose bushes beside the putting green. I come around just in time to see him leaving in MY courtesy car.”
Fortunately for Feherty, he's a much better interviewer/commentator than prankster. The 10th season of the Emmy-nominated Feherty starts Monday, Feb. 24 with 2016 Open winner Henrik Stenson. We're guessing there won't be a groundhog involved.