Tiger Woods -- despite what Brandel Chamblee may have suggested -- is no cheater, according to 2006 U.S. Open champion Geoff Ogilvy, who also, in a recent Golf World column posted on GolfDigest.com, came to the defense of the Golf Channel analyst.
Ogilvy, in a wide-ranging article, took on Woods for playing it coy with the media, the press for being in the tank for Tiger and his PGA Tour-playing brethren, and defended Chamblee’s right to opine as he pleases even if he doesn’t always concur with his views.
"Yes, Tiger is ultra-competitive. Yes, he can be accused of playing with ‘blinders’ on during tournaments. But I have never ... seen him attempt to gain any unfair or dubious advantage," wrote frequent Woods playing partner, Ogilvy, who referred to the four high-profile penalties that the No. 1 incurred in 2013 and incited Chamblee to call Woods "cavalier" about the rules.
While Chamblee’s brash, take-no-prisoners tone rubs Ogilvy the wrong way, the intimidation tactics Team Tiger used in responding to the former Golf.com writer were "unfair." Indeed, muzzling Chamblee, who’s paid to offer opinions, would set a terrible precedent.
Woods threatened a lawsuit and essentially demanded some type of discipline for the outspoken color commentator after Chamblee flunked Tiger, who had five wins, for his 2013 season because of his serial rules violations. Ogilvy came down forcefully against such strong-arm ploys, which forced Chamblee eventually to concede he went too far in comparing Woods’ issues with his own cheating in fourth grade, and give up his Golf.com gig.
"The idea that someone in the media should somehow not be able to call it the way he or she sees it ... doesn't sit well with me," said Ogilvy.
Nor does the way in which many, unnamed, members of the media fawn over golfers, whom Ogilvy termed "just too spoiled.
"Because we are pampered in so many areas of our lives, we perhaps have unrealistic expectations when it comes to the media," he said. "In general we'd be better off not being so precious about what appears in print and on-screen."
Stop being "mere cheerleaders," Ogilvy urged print and broadcast journalists.
"I have to believe ... what most people want [is] an accurate representation of events and issues," he said. "Anything else is an insult to our collective intelligence."
Because the golf world continues to revolve around Woods, Ogilvy took Tiger to task for the heavy-handed role he plays in causing the apple-polishing reflex among reporters and stoking the feud between him and Chamblee.
"Much of what went on between Tiger and Brandel could have been avoided if Tiger would give open answers to questions -- ‘real’ interviews, not just ‘nothing’ interviews," Ogilvy wrote about Woods’ predilection for avoiding tough questions and legendary inclination to hold grudges against those he believes have wronged him.
Full disclosure about what occurred and why after the rules breaches at the Masters, Players Championship, or BMW Championship could have saved much fulminating from both sides.
"Not doing so only encouraged all kinds of rampant speculation and generally ill-informed conspiracy theories," Ogilvy concluded.
With The Telegraph reporting that Woods refused to grant individual interviews with Golf Channel during his stint at the Turkish Airlines Open, all eyes will be on the host of this week’s Northwestern Mutual World Challenge for more than his ball-striking abilities.
For Tiger to ignore such one-on-one opportunities during an event that Golf Channel will broadcast would only further tarnish his image and hurt his own philanthropic foundation, which the annual, star-studded tourney benefits.
The next time Woods meets Ogilvy inside the ropes -- which could be as early as next month at one of Tiger's favorite tracks, Torrey Pines, if both players follow similar schedules in 2014 as they did this year -- should make for interesting convo. Sure hope Chamblee's miked up for that one.