Tiger Woods put Brandel Chamblee on the map and the Golf Channel analyst’s insinuations that the world No. 1 cheated during the 2013 season were "completely wrong," according to Rory McIlroy.
The two-time world champion, weighing in on the fracas Chamblee instigated with a Golf.com article earlier this month in which he opined that Woods was "a little cavalier with the rules," stood up for his good friend Tuesday prior to this week’s WGC-HSBC Champions event. McIlroy echoed Woods’ call for Golf Channel to take some disciplinary action against the self-styled Tiger scold.
"Yeah, I think Brandel was completely wrong. I don't think he has the authority to say anything like that about Tiger Woods," McIlroy told the Guardian. "People wouldn't know who Brandel Chamblee was if it wasn't for Tiger Woods, so yeah, I am completely against what he said and I think he should be dealt with in the right way."
Chamblee, who noted that Woods won five times during the recently ended PGA Tour 2013 season, flunked the 14-time major champion for the year because of his numerous run-ins with golf’s edicts. In the October 15 column, Chamblee compared Woods’ serial penalties with his own cheating on an elementary school math test, an analogy that clearly crossed the lines for many observers.
Woods spoke publicly about the situation on Monday when he issued a veiled ultimatum to Golf Channel, the television soapbox from Chamblee offers his brash views, to take some action against its lead analyst.
"I don't know what the Golf Channel is going to do or not," Woods said. "But then that's up to them. The whole issue has been very disappointing as he didn't really apologize and he sort of reignited the whole situation. So the ball really is in the court of the Golf Channel and what they are prepared to do."
Golf Channel has declined to comment on the matter, with a spokesperson emphasizing to SBNation that Chamblee made his controversial remarks elsewhere. Golf.com, meanwhile, has Chamblee’s back.
"We hired Brandel because he is one of the most incisive and engaging analysts in golf," Golf.com’s editor Eamon Lynch told USA Today Sports’ Steve DiMeglio. "We continue to value his insights and contributions."
Four rules infractions by Woods -- an illegal drop and subsequent two-shot penalty in Abu Dhabi, a near-DQ at the Masters after an improper drop, a questionable drop at the Players Championship, and a two-stroker when his ball moved at the BMW Championship -- sparked the fireworks that show no sign of sputtering.
It’s unclear what Woods and McIlroy expect Golf Channel to do. While the network is unlikely to fire the embattled broadcaster who has been a constant Tiger critic for years, an on-air mea culpa from Chamblee would appear to be a no-brainer.