An attorney for Patrick Reed has sent a cease-and-desist letter to a Golf Channel analyst telling him to stop inferring his client cheated at a golf tournament last month, Golfweek revealed Friday.
Brandel Chamblee accused Reed of cheating after he was penalized two strokes for appearing to improve his lie in a sandy waste area at the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas on December 6.
Chamblee said on the Golf Channel on December 9: “To defend what Patrick Reed did is to defend cheating.”
But Reed denies he cheated or that he was trying to improve his lie. “If you do something unintentionally that breaks the rules, it’s not considered cheating,” he told reporters at the Presidents Cup in Melbourne, Australia on December 10.
Reed’s lawyer Peter Ginsberg sent the letter, dated December 13, to Chamblee. CNN has seen a copy of the letter.
“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,” Ginsberg wrote.
The 29-year-old Reed, who won the Masters in 2018, was shown on TV taking a number of practice swings, which had the effect of flattening the sand behind his ball and improving the club’s access.
The incident happened on the 11th hole at Albany Golf Club, and quickly went viral on social media. Reed, who was leading after two days, was called to discuss the incident with rules officials after his round and hit with the punishment.
Reed claimed the camera angle was misleading, saying there was a distinct gap between his swings and the ball.
He told the Golf Channel: “It’s my word against their word…. You have to accept it and move on.”
‘Decaying traditions of the game’
The American was heckled constantly by fans at Royal Melbourne during the Presidents Cup the following week.
His caddie Kessler Karain — his brother-in-law — was thrown out of the tournament ahead of the Sunday singles because of an altercation with a fan, according to the PGA Tour.
At last Sunday’s Sentry Tournament of Champions on the PGA Tour, Reed was on the third hole of a sudden death playoff against countryman Justin Thomas when a spectator in the stand behind the green was picked up on TV shouting out “Cheater” after Reed putted.
Golf Channel confirmed to CNN that Chamblee received the letter.
“The letter accuses flippant and reckless comments,” Chamblee told ESPN. “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.
“This game has always had at its core the belief that self-governing gives the game its appeal. Inasmuch as we play the game for camaraderie. 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. If the catch-me-if-you-can attitude pervades junior golf, 10 years later it pervades professional golf and that concerns me. And was the origin of my remarks.”
Reed also sparked controversy after the 2018 Ryder Cup in France when he publicly criticized captain Jim Furyk and teammate Jordan Spieth.