Following Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee’s controversial Golf.com column that implied Tiger Woods is a cheater (in golf), all hell broke loose in the golf world, including Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg alluding to the potential of Team Tiger taking legal action.
A week later, Chamblee, who has not appeared on television since the piece was published, has finally spoken to defend his comments, via an email to the Associated Press:
“I think ‘cavalier with the rules’ allows for those with a dubious opinion of the BMW video,” Chamblee said Tuesday. “My teacher in the fourth grade did not have a dubious opinion of how I completed the test. But she was writing to one, and as I was writing to many, I felt it important to allow for the doubt some might have, so I chose my words accordingly.
“What people want to infer about that is up to them,” he said. “I have my opinion, they can form theirs.”
Okay, fair enough on Chamblee sharing his opinion. After all, it *was* a column (and I have a tiny background in law, but I am fairly certain that Steinberg and Woods would have no case against Brandel and/or his employers). Chamblee provided his opinion backed by the facts — as he saw them, which were made clear by his appendage following the asterisk in the Golf.com column — and not an agenda.
I have no problem with Brandel taking a strong stance or even an unpopular point of view frequently in his analysis on the Golf Channel. In fact, I almost always respect his opinions because he usually has one — which is very unlike the majority of commentators in the golf industry, where many times it feels like a bunch of good ole chums trying to outdo each other with sycophantic back-slapping (that’s inherent in business in general, but even more so in the golf world).
My issue with the column was that I felt like it crossed a (journalistic) boundary — a very fine line that we, in the media, have all stepped out of bounds before or continuously are trying to find the right balance. I also felt like it was trolling for a vehement response, like the one it got (but hey, again, I’ve been there, so I feel a bit like a hypocrite, though I don’t think I’ve ever published anything on a major media outlet with that intention).
As Steinberg said in his statement, “There’s nothing you can call a golfer worse than a cheater” — or strongly imply that a golfer is one without proof beyond a reasonable doubt, which isn’t the case in Tiger’s curious rules incidents of 2013.
We’ve all screwed up before, but it usually isn’t that large of a botch. It happens, though, so for that, Brandel should probably still be on probation, but eventually he’ll get a pass — at least if it doesn’t hurt his credibility (even more) with Woods and other top players going forward. Then again, he’s not hired to be BFFs with them and stroke their egos per se on TV or in print.
To leave this post with a bit of humor, let’s take it to Champions Tour player and 1995 PGA Champ Steve Elkington!
If Tiger Woods sued Brandel Chamblee for his comments what we he hope to get? Some hair spray & short snap hook ….
— Steve Elkington (@elkpga) October 21, 2013
(Photo via Golf.com)