Another explosive lawsuit has been filed in the world of men’s professional golf. This time, by Patrick Reed.
The nine-time Tour winner has filed a defamation suit in the Southern District of Texas against Brandel Chamblee and the Golf Channel, alleging they “have conspired as joint tortfeasors for and with the PGA Tour, its executives and its Commissioner Jay Monahan, to engage in a pattern and practice of defaming Mr. Reed.”
The lawsuit uses quotes from Chamblee from his time on the air for Golf Channel and Sky Sports as well as on podcasts to allege damages in excess of $750,000,000. This comes after 10 LIV Golf players — Reed not one of them — filed an antitrust lawsuit against the PGA Tour in Northern California. Last week, Talor Gooch, Hudson Swafford and Matt Jones were denied their request for a temporary restraining order which would have seen them re-added to the FedEx Cup Playoffs.
Reed’s lawsuit is different for many reasons, but does invoke plenty of similar context around his associations with LIV Golf. The suit kicks off with a meaty, 159-word declaration, saying that Chamblee and the Golf Channel have been …
“misreporting information with falsity and/or reckless disregard of the truth, that is with actual and constitutional malice, purposely omitting pertinent key material facts to mislead the public, and actively targeting Mr. Reed since he was 23 years old, to destroy his reputation, create hate, and a hostile work environment for him, and with the intention to discredit his name and accomplishments as a young, elite, world-class golfer, and the good and caring person, husband and father of two children, he is. It is well-known on tour that Mr. Reed has been abused and endured more than any other golfer from fans or spectators who have been allowed to scream obscenities only to be glorified by NBC’s Golf Channel for doing so, because it gets Defendants Chamblee and Golf Channel “clicks”, viewership, ratings and increased revenue. For Defendants it does not matter how badly they destroy someone’s name and life, so long as they rake in more dollars and profit.”
Chamblee, who has been a Golf Channel commentator for more than a decade, has strongly opposed LIV Golf’s entrance into the golf ecosystem. Reed’s lawsuit taps into that steadfast belief and asserts that Chamblee and the Golf Channel are in cahoots with the PGA Tour and DP World Tour and “are defaming and smearing anyone associated with LIV—including Mr. Reed, one of it’s most prominent athletes—in order to try to maintain their monopolistic hold on professional golf and therefore continue to substantially profit, to the tune of an estimated $1.522 billion in revenue for the PGA Tour alone in 2022.”
The idea that the Tour is a monopoly is at the center of the aforementioned antitrust lawsuit being waged by Phil Mickelson and nine others.
Reed’s complaint details how his reputation has been harmed, citing personal attacks at golf tournaments — many of which were spelled out in the lawsuit — which Reed asserts has hurt his performance and caused “emotional distress.”
In addition to complaints about Chamblee’s comments on LIV Golf and Reed’s involvement with that entity, the lawsuit also addresses one of Reed’s most controversial moments: The 2021 Farmers Insurance Open.
Reed won the event by five strokes, but not without earning the ire of many viewers, media and even players on the PGA Tour for how he handled a drop on the 10th hole during the third round. Reed took embedded ball relief along the left side of the green, which was reviewed by Tour officials on site and addressed on the CBS broadcast.
It became the story of the week as the manner by which Reed proceeded to earn the relief, removing his ball from the embedded area to prove that his ball was once embedded. The process was questioned by many, but, as the lawsuit states, “the PGA Tour cleared Reed of any wrongdoing.”