By Andrew Both and Rory Carroll
(Reuters) – Golfer Patrick Reed’s lawyer has sent a letter to the Golf Channel’s Brandel Chamblee that the analyst says “hints at legal action” over recent critical remarks about the 2018 Masters champion.
Chamblee confirmed to Reuters on Thursday that he had received a letter in the wake of last month’s Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas, where Reed incurred a two-stroke penalty for improving his lie in a sandy waste bunker.
The letter was first reported by Golfweek, which said it was sent by New York City law firm Sullivan & Worcester.
“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 Peter Ginsberg, a partner at the firm, according to Golfweek.
Chamblee told Reuters the letter “hints at legal action” and accuses him of “flippant and reckless comments”.
Reed’s management company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Chamblee was a winner on the PGA Tour before turning to television, where he has carved out a wide reputation as a well-prepared and hard-hitting analyst.
He said his comments relating to Reed were made out of concern at a wider issue he worries is becoming pervasive.
“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,” Chamblee said in a text.
“This game has always had at its core the belief that self governing gives the game its appeal … 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, including the young men and women who will soon be on their respective tours.”
Reed accepted the penalty without complaint in the Bahamas after viewing television footage of the incident, but also said he had been unaware at the time that he had violated the rules.
He is playing in the Sony Open in Hawaii, where he shot one-under-par 69 in the first round on Thursday.
Chamblee is not backing down in the wake of the letter.
“If the catch me if you can attitude pervades junior golf, 10 years later it pervades professional golf and that concerns me,” he texted.
“And was the origin of my remarks.”
(Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina and Rory Carroll in Los Angeles; Editing by Michael Perry)