Patrick Reed, who left the PGA Tour for LIV Golf in June, is now seeking $750 million in damages from The Golf Channel, and analyst Brandel Chamblee on allegations of defamation of character.
The suit, which was filed on Tuesday, alleges that Chamblee and The Golf Channel “conspired as joint tortfeasors for and with the PGA Tour” to label Reed as a cheater, and further mock his decision to leave for the Saudi-backed golfing enterprise. The suit also claims that Chamblee and the network “actively targeting Mr. Reed since he was 23 years old to destroy his reputation, create hate, and a hostile work environment for him.”
Court documents also include every insult that has been hurled at Reed over the years, and this is where reading the suit becomes surreal. Section 18 alleges that fans were incited to yell verbal insults at Reed by Chamblee and The Golf Channel, and if you’re wondering what kind of insults — well, they’re all listed.
- “Now on the tee the excavator!”
- “You suck!”
- “You fucking suck!”
- “You jackass!”
- “You coward!”
- “Why don’t you dig a grave and bury yourself in it!”
- “You piece of shit!”
- “No one likes you!”
- “Everyone hates you Reed!”
- “Good luck digging yourself out of this one!”
- “Where are your parents coward?!”
- “You cheater!”
- “Everyone hates you cheater!”
- “You’re going to miss this cheater!”
- “You cheat in college and on tour, you’re a piece of shit!”
- “Beat the cheater’s ass!”
- “Sorry Webb for having to play with the cheat! Who did you piss off?”
- “Why don’t you introduce your children to their grandparents you ungrateful b****?!”
I defy you to try and read this list without it sounding in your head like the jeering fan that Shooter McGavin hires in Happy Gilmore to throw Happy off his game.
Now, obviously it’s not nice to yell things at athletes — especially the jabs at Reed’s strained relationship with his parents (which has been documented in the past), but still, it kind of comes with the territory when you’re a professional athlete. The wide array of references to Reed cheating have followed him for years. There were longstanding allegations that he cheated in college, which he vehemently denies — but things really popped on in 2019 at the Hero World Challenge.
In that event, Reed was penalized two strokes for trying to improve his lie, after it appeared Reed was moving sand behind his ball in a waste area. At the time Reed blamed the incident on the TV camera angle, saying it didn’t show what he saw from his position.
The cheating allegations picked up steam again at the Famers Insurance Open in 2021, when Reed obtained free relief after he claimed his ball had been embedded in the rough. At the time Reed picked up his ball and marked its position, before any other golfer or official could confirm the ball was indeed embedded. No penalty was assessed, as Reed did follow the correct rules, but his history, paired with a lack of confirmation, led to speculation that he cheated once more.
In 2019, after winning The Masters, his dinner choice included both creamed spinach AND creamed corn as sides — which has nothing to do with golf, but I consider it a food crime.
One of the suit’s claims is that The Golf Channel and its analysts have conspired to destroy the reputation of LIV Golf and golfers who have defected from the PGA Tour to join the Saudi sportswashing campaign. Arguments will be heard in the Southern District of Texas Houston Division, and could set a precedent on what is considered fair, and unfair treatment of athletes by analysts and critics.