Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee has taken quite a bit of heat over his controversial column on Golf.com, accusing Tiger Woods of being “cavalier with the rules.” Chamblee, who had commented via email and Twitter about his remarks, appeared on-air for the first time since the his piece was published several weeks ago.
Talking with Rich Lerner on Golf Channel’s “Golf Central” show, Chamblee said he went “too far” comparing the 14-time major champion’s skirmishes with the rules during the 2013 season to his personal cheating incident on a fourth grade math test. He added that intent is involved with cheating and there’s no way he could’ve known what Woods’ was with any of the four incidents he had mentioned.
RICH LERNER: Brandel, let’s address the events of the last couple of weeks off the article that you wrote for Sports Illustrated’s golf website Golf.com. You’ve had a chance to reflect on it, consider what you wrote. Is there anything you would have done differently, you wish you would have done differently?
BRANDEL CHAMBLEE: A few things, Rich. You know, in offering my assessment of Tiger’s year and specifically looking at the incidents in Abu Dhabi, Augusta, Ponte Vedra and Chicago, I said Tiger Woods was cavalier about the rules. I should have stopped right there. In comparing those incidents to my cheating episode in the fourth grade, I went too far. Cheating involves intent. Now I, I know what my intent was on that fourth grade math test. But there’s no way that I could know with one hundred percent certainty what Tiger’s intent was in any of those situations. That was my mistake.
LERNER: Blunt question: Do you have a vendetta against Tiger?
CHAMBLEE: Of course not. My job as an analyst at Golf Channel requires me to analyze golf and offer my opinions. I’d like to think I’m pretty good at it. Tiger Woods is the best player in the game by miles, maybe the best player of all time. And over the years, I have said a lot of positive things about Tiger’s golf swing and his accomplishments, and at times I’ve been critical, but that’s my job. And my obligation to the viewer to not only talk about when Tiger plays well, but when he doesn’t play well and put it into perspective, as well as every other player. Now at times, I can be a bit forceful with my opinions, and some would say too forceful too many times. Fair enough. And that was obviously the case in this instance. So much so that even my son chimed in on this issue.
LERNER: Your son – what did he have to say about all of it?
CHAMBLEE: Well I have a 45 minute drive to and from the school every day. So we’ve had a lot of time to talk about this as he and his buddies have read almost all of this online. And at one point in one of those drives he looked at me and he said, “Dad, if you’d been more diplomatic in what you wrote, perhaps people would be talking more about the issue than your assessment.” He’s a smart kid. And it wasn’t until after he said that that I offered my apology on Twitter. Maybe I should have let my son read this column before I hit send on the email.
LERNER: What’s next in all of this?
CHAMBLEE: Tiger and his camp, they’re upset at Golf Channel; they specifically called Golf Channel out. And to me they’re barking up the wrong tree. This column appeared on Golf.com, nobody here at Golf Channel knew anything about it and my editor at Golf.com asked me to rewrite the ending when I sent it in to him. I wished I would have listened to him. But all of this has made me realize that there is a conflict and a confusion when you work for one company and write for another company. So going forward, I’m not going to be writing for Golf Magazine beginning next year. I’ll be writing exclusively for GolfChannel.com, (NBCSports.com). And you know, that way if Tiger and his camp have an issue with something I write, they will at least be yelling at the right people.
Well said — he’s entitled to his opinion just as Team Tiger is entitled to be aggravated by it. I think Brandel sounded remorseful and sincere throughout the entire segment. Also, I couldn’t agree with his son more — because it’s same thing I’ve been saying, but perhaps not quite as “diplomatic.”
I’m so sick of this whole controversy and I hope everyone is satisfied and we can now move on. However, it’s still curious as to why Golf Channel got all the heat when it never had control over the publication of Brandel’s column. Earlier this week at the exhibition match against Rory McIlroy at Mission Hills, Woods said the ball was in GC’s court. I mean, it’s as if Team Tiger has a vendetta against Brandel and not the other way around…
“Yeah, I think Brandel was completely wrong. I don’t think he has the authority to say anything like that about Tiger Woods,” said Rory. “People wouldn’t know who Brandel Chamblee was if it wasn’t for Tiger Woods, so I am completely against what he said and I think he should be dealt with in the right way.”
He added: “I’ll let the Golf Channel executives think what the right way is.”
I’ll be really disappointed if anything happens to Brandel. While I don’t think it will, he’ll be just fine, either way, because, remember FOX Sports is getting into golf and I’ve heard they offer hefty contracts.