LIV Golf player Patrick Reed has launched a stunning US$750 million ($1.07 billion) defamation case against leading commentator Brandel Chamblee, after being repeatedly accused of cheating.
In court documents filed in the US District Court on Tuesday, Reed claims Chamblee has a history of unfairly targeting him and labelling the 32-year-old a cheater.
The lawsuit also goes on to say that Chamblee has criticised Reed and other golfers for leaving the PGA Tour for Greg Norman's Saudi-backed LIV Golf series.
The court documents allege that the Golf Channel and its lead studio analyst have "conspired as joint tortfeasors for and with the PGA Tour, it’s (sic) executives and it’s Commissioner Jay Monahan, to engage in a pattern and practice of defaming Mr Reed."
It goes on to accuse Chamblee and the Golf Channel of "misreporting information with falsity and/or reckless disregard for the truth... purposely omitting pertinent key material facts to mislead the public, and actively targeting Mr Reed since he was 23 years old to destroy his reputation, create hate, and a hostile work environment for him...”
Pro golfer @PReedGolf sued the @GolfChannel and commentator @chambleebrandel for defamation Tue.
Reed claims Chamblee has a history of calling him a cheater, and has harshly criticized him and other golfers for leaving the PGA Tour for the Saudi-backed LIV tour. @CourthouseNews
— Cameron Langford (@cam_langford) August 16, 2022
Chamblee has criticised Reed’s move to LIV Golf, however he’s far from alone in doing so. Chamblee has also been critical of Reed’s rules violations or near-rules violations - something he has been accused of doing since his college days at Georgia.
“It is well-known on tour that Mr. Reed has been abused and endured more than any other golfer from fans or spectators who have been allowed to scream obscenities only to be glorified by NBC's Golf Channel for doing so, because it gets Defendants Chamblee and Golf Channel "clicks", viewership, ratings and increased revenue,” the lawsuit said.
“For Defendants it does not matter how badly they destroy someone's name and life, so long as they rake in more dollars and profit.”
Reed reportedly sent Chamblee a cease and desist order in 2019. Reed claims in the lawsuit that he has suffered from a hostile work environment on the Tour, and that he’s lost “multi-million dollar sponsorship deals” as a result.
Reed is also claiming that he was “constructively terminated” from the PGA Tour when he left for LIV Golf — though he actually resigned when doing so.
The court documents also claim that Chamblee and Golf Channel have set out to destroy LIV along with its golf professionals, with lawyers representing Reed seeking more than $1 billion in damages.
Reed has often found himself in the crosshairs of commentators and fans over accusations of cheating in the past.
Patrick Reed accused of cheating throughout his career
At last year's Arnold Palmer Invitation, fans accused Reed of bending the rules after footage appeared to catch him using his fingers to improve the lie of his ball in rough.
Earlier in 2021, Reed was embroiled in another controversy at the Farmers Insurance Open after being accused of picking up and moving his ball before officials could judge whether it was embedded or not.
He was also famously penalised two strokes at the Hero World Challenge tournament in 2019 after footage showed that he'd used his club to move sand behind his ball in a bunker.
Controversy around that incident followed the American to the President's Cup at Royal Melbourne in 2020, when Reed was heckled by fans and his caddie got in a heated scuffle with patrons.
Former CBS golf commentator Peter Kostis also revealed in 2020 that he had witnessed Reed improve either his lie or line of play during competition multiple times in person, while working a Tour event.
Kostis said part of his job as a commentator prevented him from calling Reed out on the incidents, merely reporting on them if and when he was penalised.
“That's the difference between reporting on a story and being a part of a story, right? I've seen Patrick Reed improve his lie up close and personal four times now," Kostis said.
“You can go on YouTube. It's the only time I've ever shut [commentator Gary] McCord up, he didn't know what to say when I said, ‘The lie that I saw originally wouldn't have allowed for this shot.’
“Because [Reed] put four, five clubs behind the ball, kind of faking whether he's going to hit this shot or that shot — and by the time he hit a freaking 3-wood out of there. Which, when I saw it, it was a sand wedge layup originally, right?”
Reed’s lawsuit is the latest to come from a LIV Golf member. A group of them, led by Phil Mickelson, filed a lawsuit against the PGA Tour earlier this month - part of which was used to try and force the Tour to allow players to compete in the FedExCup Playoffs.
A judge denied that request just before last week’s FedEx St. Jude Championship.
Reed has won nine times on the PGA Tour in his career, most famously winning The Masters in 2018.
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