Is Brandel Chamblee Labeling Tiger Woods a Cheater Fair or Foul?
Tiger had almost as many rules infractions (four) as he had wins (five) on the PGA tour this year.
For his wins, his peers named him Player of the Year.
For his infractions, he got an "F" from former player, now Golf Channel announcer Brandel Chamblee, who insinuated that Tiger not only broke the rules but did so with the intention of cheating.
In an effort to raise his own profile, Chamblee has become strident and attacking, eschewing the basic principles of journalism. While singling out Tiger with his unfounded criticism and innuendo, Chamblee sounds like he is auditioning for an anchor position on Fox News.
Penning a year-end piece in Golf.com in which he rated numerous golfers, Chamblee wrote, “I remember when we only talked about Tiger's golf. I miss those days. He won five times and contended in majors and won the Vardon Trophy and ... how shall we say this ... was a little cavalier with the rules."
As far as we can tell, Chamblee is the only one talking about this stuff.
Tiger’s agent, Mark Steinberg of Excel Sports Management, is now threatening a lawsuit, per Bob Harig of ESPN.
Going against Adam Scott, Henrik Stenson and Phil Mickelson, there was some doubt about Tiger being named POY, especially since he did not win a major.
But Chamblee is the first to question Tiger’s character in the matter of his historically unusual number of penalties. Let's hope he is not equating Tiger's character on the golf course with that of his marital history. Let's hope that Chamblee actually has a genuine reason behind his accusations, like his own personal experience in elementary school.
In a sophomoric display of ego, he compared Tiger’s fallibility to his own cheating experience while a fourth grader.
What did Tiger do to warrant Chamblee's misdirected assessment?
At The Masters, a television viewer questioned Tiger’s drop after his ball had skirted into the water on No. 15. Officials gave Tiger a belated two-stroke penalty and then questioned their own procedures when they did not disqualify him for signing an incorrect card.
Tiger was then scrutinized for a drop at the Players Championship even after he was advised by playing partner Casey Wittenberg where his ball had crossed into the water hazard. He made a double bogey but went on to win the tournament.
At the BMW Championship, he was assessed a two-stroke penalty when he moved a twig, causing his ball to move. Tiger decried the penalty, but hi-def replay showed the ball had moved. He was hit with a two-stroke penalty because he did not return the ball to its original position.
Unlike other sports, golf is a self-monitored game, so players have to know the rules. Golf is also a game of character and skill. The PGA is not your Saturday morning game of four-ball. Pro players take great pride in their adherence to the rules to the point of even calling themselves out when they break one.
When was the last time you saw that in the NBA, NFL or MLB? In this way, golf rises above other sports. Just this year at the PGA Championship, Woody Austin noticed he had 15 clubs instead of 14, took the four-shot penalty and moved on.
Chamblee, a former player, should know this more than most announcers. He should know how difficult the game is and how important it is to the quality of the game that players play by the rules. By calling Tiger a cheater, he draws into question the nature of the sport.
Chamblee has lately become Tiger’s most vocal critic, going as far as saying his on-the-course mishaps this season should have excluded him from receiving the POY award, according to The John Feinstein Show.
Tiger's penalties came under a lot of scrutiny. But scrutiny is not the same as character assassination, and since he is Tiger Woods and not Joe Woods, he gets called the worst possible name you can call a golfer.
Golf is a gentleman’s sport, and Chamblee—with his biased approach to Tiger—has shown he is no gentleman.
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