A Golf Channel analyst has apologized to Tiger Woods for hinting that Woods was a cheater after a year that was marked by several questions about whether the golfer had broken the sport’s rules.
Brandel Chamblee apologized on Twitter for a Golf.com column in which he graded the PGA Tour Player of the Year a 100 for a successful season, then struck through that and slapped on an F for being “a little cavalier with the rules.”
“When I was in the fourth grade,” Chamblee wrote, “I cheated on a math test and when I got the paper back it had ’100′ written at the top and just below the grade, was this quote, ‘Oh, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive!’ It was an oft-quoted line from the epic poem ‘Marmion’ by Sir Walter Scott, and my teacher’s message was clear.
“Written once more beneath that quote was my grade of ’100,’ but this time with a line drawn through it and beneath that an F. I never did ask my teacher how she knew I cheated and I certainly didn’t protest the grade. I knew I had done the wrong thing and my teacher the right, but I never forgot the way I felt when I read that quote.
“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.”
Woods had no comment, but his agent, Mark Steinberg, was livid and told ESPN.com that legal action was being considered.
“There’s nothing you can call a golfer worse than a cheater,” Steinberg said. “This is the most deplorable thing I have seen. I’m not one for hyperbole, but this is absolutely disgusting. Calling him a cheater? I’ll be shocked, stunned, if something is not done about this. Something has to be done. There are certainly things that just don’t go without response. It’s atrocious.”
By Tuesday evening, Chamblee was tweeting:
Thanks to viewers at home and video replays, Woods had a couple of issues with rule interpretations over the season. In the most crucial controversy, a former rules official watching at home called in a violation during the second round of the Masters and Woods accepted a two-shot penalty for taking a wrong drop. (He finished four shots back.) In the BMW Championship, he also was penalized two strokes when video showed that his ball had moved slightly, triggering a spirited Zapruder-esque deconstruction over whether it had oscillated or wobbled. In Abu Dhabi, he was docked two shots when he took relief because of a ball embedded in a sandy area that was covered with vegetation.
Woods’s reputation did take a hit for those infractions, as Golf.com’s Jason Sobel writes, but “cheater” is an awfully strong term. Chamblee initially stood by his comments, telling the Associated Press Tuesday afternoon that he never actually used the loaded word.
“I think ‘cavalier with the rules’ allows for those with a dubious opinion of the BMW video,” Chamblee told the AP via email Tuesday. “My teacher in the fourth grade did not have a dubious opinion of how I completed the test. But she was writing to one, and as I was writing to many, I felt it important to allow for the doubt some might have, so I chose my words accordingly.
“What people want to infer about that is up to them. I have my opinion, they can form theirs.”