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Voice of golf in US David Feherty to be honoured by ex-President George Bush for aiding wounded veterans

By Claire McNeilly

Northern Ireland golfing pundit David Feherty is to be honoured by former US President George Bush snr for his humanitarian work with American soldiers.

The Bangor-born former professional player has made his name as a sports commentator in the United States, but has also raised tens of millions of dollars for GIs injured in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The 41st President, father of George W. Bush, will present Feherty with the Bush Cup Foundation's Humanitarian Award at a special dinner in October.

The NBC Golf Channel analyst is co-founder of the Feherty Troops First Foundation, which has provided assistance and support to solders wounded while serving in Middle East war zones since its formation in 2008.

"I grew up in an urban warfare environment in Northern Ireland, so I'm used to sectarianism, murders, troops on the streets, bombs going off, an enemy that wouldn't wear a uniform and hid behind women and children," Feherty said. "I visited Iraq in 2007 to see what Americans were doing over there, and it was a great job in incredibly trying circumstances.

"I came home determined to do something for them, and that's how the foundation came about."

He added: "The soldiers all come back changed in some way, physically or mentally."

The 57-year-old, who has a reputation for being searingly honest about his struggles with alcohol, prescription drugs and depression, said he understood "the mental part of it".

He added: "I suffer from what I call pre-traumatic stress disorder; I'm pretty sure something s**t is going to happen, but I don't know when."

The Bush Cup Foundation was established in 2015 "to promote collegiate sports and inspire athletes to strive for personal excellence as well as service to America as exemplified by the life of President George H. W. Bush".

In October Medinah Country Club, Illinois, will host the second annual Bush Cup golf competition in honour of the former President, with Feherty receiving his accolade during an awards ceremony at a dinner to be held afterwards.

Texas-based father-of-three Feherty has a daughter, Erin (17), with his second wife Anita, and two sons, Shey (26) and Rory (23), with first wife Caroline.

Feherty dropped out of Bangor Grammar School at 17 to play golf.

Despite being hooked on alcohol in his middle teens, he won five tournaments in Europe, three in South Africa and came close to winning two Open championships. He cites Anita and veteran multi-Major winner Tom Watson for helping wean him off alcohol.

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