by Jeff Skinner
Another chapter in the Chamblee/ Tiger controversy unfolded tonight on the evening version of Golf Central on The Golf Channel. The Golf Channel brought out its big gun, the very competent and respected Rich Lerner to moderate Brandel Chamblee’s latest apology. This time it wasn’t on Twitter, this time it’s on the Golf Channel.
Woods and his team specifically said it was “up to The Golf Channel now” even though Chamblee’s article appeared on Golf.com. This was their response to try and placate Woods and his agent and somehow I don’t think this will satisfy Woods and Steinberg. They smell blood and maybe want a little bit more than a mere pound of flesh.
Here’s the video:
I understand the pressure The Golf Channel may be feeling about their highest profile, and most capable analyst ragging on the biggest meal ticket in the game. Truth be told the PGA Tour doesn’t payout a million bucks to each week’s winner if there is no Tiger Woods. Maybe The Golf Channel doesn’t become the fastest growing cable station without Tiger Woods either. The “Tiger Effect” feeds a lot of families, even today.
But this apology came off forced, contrived and rehearsed. And I am sure it was all three. It looked like Chamblee had a gun to his head and he appeared unusually uncomfortable. It was like a kid called to the principal’s office taking his lumps.
I’d like to know if he volunteered to step away from Golf.com or if he was asked to leave. If so, that’s wrong…he was hired for his opinion and true to himself he gave it.
He’s still the best analyst on The Golf Channel and probably in all of golf. It would be a shame if The Golf Channel tries to muzzle him.
Here’s the transcript:
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.