Let me get this out of the way: I’m not normally in the habit of telling somebody their opinion is wrong. I’m even less inclined to do so when that person has a wealth of experience backing them up. I give my opinions on subjects in golf every day, so I understand that it’s not always going to be popular.
That said, Golf Channel and Sports Illustrated golf contributor Brandel Chamblee went off the deep end in his judgment of Tiger Woods‘s 2013 season.
In a recent article on Golf.com, Chamblee posted his grades of several of the top PGA Tour stars’ year, including sparkling reviews for Phil Mickelson, Jordan Spieth, and Jason Dufner (who even earned a second “plus” on his “A++” mark thanks to his attractive wife).
When it came to Woods, however, Chamblee launched into an allegory about a time in which he was caught cheating on a math exam in fourth grade. Chamblee’s teacher, according to his telling, marked his test with a “100”, then crossed it out and gave it an “F”. Chamblee, presumably writing from a rather large soapbox, went on to say that he didn’t protest because he knew he had done wrong. He then gives Woods a “100”, crosses it out, and gives the five-time winner an “F”, stating that Woods “was a little cavalier with the rules”.
Of course, we all remember Woods’s famous drop following the ricochet into the water on No. 15 at Augusta National in the Masters. Also included in Chamblee’s list were drop issues at Abu Dhabi and The Players Championship, and his recent issue with a loose twig causing his ball to move at the BMW Championship.
Now, there’s no doubt that Woods had his share of interesting rules situations this year, but Chamblee’s article all but calls Woods a cheater, something there is absolutely no excuse for. At Abu Dhabi, as well as at Sawgrass, Woods sought out the advice of his playing partners – Martin Kaymer in the first, Casey Wittenberg in the latter – before making any moves. At the BMW, rules officials had to use high-definition, slow motion video replays to notice his ball’s movement, and even then it was slight.
The important key here, is that Woods was justly penalized in each of these situations. His two-stroke penalty in Abu Dhabi forced him to miss the cut. At the BMW, the two-stroke penalty took what was already a double-bogey to a quadruple.
Even at Augusta, where tournament officials erred by allowing Woods to sign his scorecard prior to informing him of the potential penalty, the two-stroke penalty allowed him to stay in the tournament, but certainly cost him valuable positioning. Woods may have disagreed with some of these penalties, but he took them and moved on. There hasn’t been any attempt to deceive evident, and it would be foolish to think that the most-watched player in the world would think he could get away with any.
In the end, it seems that Chamblee’s analysis is nothing more than a chance at attention, and that’s disappointing from someone who generally does some excellent work. He went way off the deep end here in essentially calling Woods a cheater, and he would do well to retract some of those statements.