Pro golfer Patrick Reed is threatening legal action against Golf Channel commentator Brandel Chamblee after the analyst accused Reed of cheating.
Reed’s attorney Peter Ginsburg put the journalist on notice after Chamblee accused the golfer of intentionally cheating during December’s Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas, Golfweek reported.
Chamblee’s accusation stems from an incident where Reed was handed a two-stroke penalty after video seemed to show him moving his ball for a better lie in a sandy waste area. Reed, however, insisted that he did not try to “intentionally” trying to “improve the lie.”
Reed’s lawyer sent Chamblee a letter warning him to cease the accusation.
“The purpose of this letter is to obtain assurance that you will refrain from any further dissemination, publication or republication of false and defamatory statements concerning Mr. Reed, including any allegations that he ‘cheated’ at the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas,” wrote Reed’s lawyer.
Reed also addressed the charge himself.
“It’s not the right word to use,” Reed said. “Whenever you’re out there, and you do something unintentionally that breaks a rule, it’s not considered cheating, and at the end of the day, that’s what it is. If you intentionally try to do something, then yes it would be considered cheating. But I wasn’t intentionally trying to improve the lie or anything like that. If I was, it would have been a pretty good lie, and I would have hit it really close.”
Chamblee, though, has been highly critical of Reed’s actions. He also confirmed that he received Reed’s letter, though, he doesn’t seem very concerned.
“The letter accuses flippant and reckless comments,” Chamblee said on ESPN. “My comments were weighed heavily before they came out of my mouth, and they were meant to address the larger issue of what I believe to be the decaying traditions of the game. This game has always had at its core the belief that self-governing gives the game its appeal. Inasmuch as we play the game for camaraderie. The self-governing tradition is slowly being replaced by a catch-me-if-you-can attitude.
“I think the whole golf world was watching how the Reed incident was treated,” Chamblee added. “Including the young men and women who will soon be on their respective tours. If the catch-me-if-you-can attitude pervades junior golf, ten years later, it pervades professional golf, and that concerns me. And was the origin of my remarks.”
Chamblee has also said that anyone who defends Reed is “defending cheating.”
Reed has faced condemnation from fans, as well. During both the Presidents Cup last month and the Sentry Tournament of Champions, fans were seen yelling out “cheater” at Reed. It became so pervasive that Reed’s caddie, Kessler Karain, got in a shouting match with a fan during the Presidents Cup, and was even barred from working the final day of the tournament.
Still, Reed’s attorney reminded Chamblee that the PGA accepted Reed’s explanations.
“Indeed, as you should know, and presumably do know but chose to ignore, if the PGA Tour believed that Mr. Reed had intentionally violated any rule, he would have been disqualified from the tournament rather than assessed a two-stroke penalty,” Ginsberg wrote. “Everyone involved agrees that Mr. Reed acted unintentionally, and the tape of the incident fully supports that conclusion.”
PGA officials have ruled the matter closed.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on facebook.com/Warner.Todd.Huston.