ORLANDO, Fla. (Sept. 20, 2012) – Michael Phelps, the most-decorated Olympian in history, will join golf’s funnyman, David Feherty, for a special Ryder Cup-themed Feherty Live from Chicago, airing Wednesday, Sept. 26 at 9 p.m. ET on Golf Channel.
The next installment of Feherty’s critically acclaimed Golf Channel series will be taped in front of a live Chicago audience and also will feature appearances by former Ryder Cup captains Paul Azinger, Sam Torrance and Lanny Wadkins. The first Feherty Live took place earlier this year during Super Bowl week in Indianapolis, when featured guest Tim Tebow faced Feherty – who USA Today calls “an interviewer like no other” – and created a huge media buzz when the NFL quarterback first discussed his political aspirations during the interview.
The off-beat humor and compelling interviews that have become trademarks of David Feherty will be on full display during one of the most anticipated weeks on the 2012 golf calendar. The 39th Ryder Cup, a biennial golf competition, begins Friday, Sept. 28 at nearby Medinah Country Club. Golf Channel will be there all week, delivering more than 40 hours of news coverage, with NBC airing 16 live hours of Ryder Cup competition on the weekend.
Feherty, whose series has been described by The New York Times as “a cross between Oprah Winfrey and Johnny Carson,” has been dubbed “one of the funniest men in the game” by Yahoo! Sports. Feherty debuted in 2011 as the most-watched premiere for an original series in Golf Channel history, and over the span of two seasons has featured a variety of guests, such as former President Bill Clinton, NBA Hall-of-Famer Bill Russell, real estate magnate and reality show star Donald Trump; actors Don Cheadle and Samuel L. Jackson; and golfers Rory McIlroy, Sergio Garcia, Greg Norman and Tom Watson. The third season of Feherty will premiere in February 2013.
Phelps not only has been one of the most popular Olympians of all time, he is the holder of an astonishing 22 medals, making him the most-decorated Olympian in history. In the afterglow of his stellar performance at the London Olympics, the American swimmer announced the serious pursuit of a better golf game as the next stage of his career. He intends to play the world’s best golf courses and improve his game under the watchful eye of famed swing coach Hank Haney, which will be captured by Golf Channel cameras for the next season of The Haney Project, scheduled to premiere in early 2013.
As a prelude to the biennial meeting of golfing heavyweights from opposite sides of the Atlantic, three former Ryder Cup captains also will spend time with Feherty to offer their insights about which team might come out on top. As a PGA TOUR golfer, the outspoken Azinger spent nearly 300 weeks in the Top-10 of the Official World Golf Rankings between 1988 and 1994 and recorded 17 professional wins and one major championship (PGA Championship, 1993). He was the last American captain to taste victory in 2008 at Valhalla Country Club in Louisville, Ky., and occasionally works as a golf analyst for ESPN. A longtime Feherty friend, Torrance is a charismatic Scotsman who amassed 44 career victories around the world. He was a member of the European Ryder Cup team an impressive eight times and sank the winning putt in 1985 to deny the Cup to the Americans for the first time in 28 years. He also captained the Europeans to another victory in 2002 at The Belfry in England. Wadkins also was part of eight Ryder Cup teams between 1977 and 1993, which ties the highest number of appearances in the competition by an American, and his winning record comprises one of the most impressive in the history of the event. His playing career included 31 professional wins and one major championship (PGA Championship, 1977). Wadkins also captained the 1995 American team at Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, N.Y.
MCA recording artist and country singer-songwriter Josh Kelley will return as musical guest for the Chicago performance. Kelley is best known for the top-5 hit “Amazing,” but his music has been incorporated into TV shows, such as MTV’s The Hills, ABC’s Brothers and Sisters and CW’s Smallville. Kelley is having success in Nashville with his hit “Georgia Clay” from his debut country album. He’s also an avid golfer who played golf at the University of Mississippi – where he was a roommate with Eli Manning – and remains a single-digit handicap.
Feherty Live is one of several programming highlights during Ryder Cup Week on Golf Channel, the fastest-growing network on television among those serving more than 80 million homes. War by the Shore, a film documenting the epic 1991 Ryder Cup matches between the U.S.A. and Europe, airs Tuesday, Sept. 25 at 9 p.m. ET; and Live From the Ryder Cup and Morning Drive will feature a combination of more than 40 live hours of news, highlights, interviews and analysis surrounding the 39 Ryder Cup matches from Medinah Country Club.
-NBC Sports Group-