Brandel Chamblee: 'I went too far'

Updated: October 30, 2013, 9:58 PM ET
By Bob Harig | ESPN.com

Brandel Chamblee on Wednesday made his first on-air comments since an Internet column he wrote two weeks ago insinuated that Tiger Woods had cheated because he had several rules violations during the 2013 season.

"In offering my assessment of Tiger to you, and specifically looking at the incidents in Abu Dhabi, Augusta, Ponte Vedra and Chicago, I said Tiger Woods was cavalier about the rules. I should have stopped right there," Chamblee told Golf Channel host Rich Lerner. "In comparing those incidents to my cheating episode in the fourth grade, I went too far.

ChambleeI said Tiger Woods was cavalier about the rules. I should have stopped right there. In comparing those incidents to my cheating episode in the fourth grade, I went too far.

-- Brandel Chamblee

"Cheating involves intent. I know what my intent was on that fourth-grade math test. But there's no way I could know with 100 percent certainty what Tiger's intent was in any of those situations. That was my mistake."

Chamblee said Golf.com's editors asked him to rewrite the portion pertaining to Woods and that he declined. He said he would no longer be writing for the site or for Golf Magazine after this year.

A former PGA Tour player and frequent critic of Woods' swing under coach Sean Foley, Chamblee had written an analysis in which he assessed several top players' years by giving them letter grades.

He gave Woods, who won five times this year on the PGA Tour, an F.

"When I was in the fourth grade, I cheated on a math test and when I got the paper back it had '100' written at the top, and just below the grade was this quote: 'Oh, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive!'" Chamblee wrote. "It was an oft-quoted line from the epic poem 'Marmion' by Sir Walter Scott, and my teacher's message was clear. Written once more beneath that quote was my grade of '100,' but this time with a line drawn through it and beneath that an F. I never did ask my teacher how she knew I cheated and I certainly didn't protest the grade. I knew I had done the wrong thing and my teacher the right, but I never forgot the way I felt when I read that quote.

"I remember when we only talked about Tiger's golf. I miss those days. He won five times and contended in majors and won the Vardon Trophy and ... how shall we say this ... was a little cavalier with the rules."

Below the summary was "100" with a line through it and "F" beneath it.

He had not made any comments on Golf Channel since the story appeared online.

The suggestion that Woods cheated -- he had four high-profile rules issues, including three that resulted in two-stroke penalties -- angered Woods' agent Mark Steinberg, who told ESPN.com that he would consider legal action.

On Wednesday, Steinberg said neither he nor Woods would comment any further on the matter.

"There's nothing you can call a golfer worse than a cheater," Steinberg said Oct. 18. "This is the most deplorable thing I have seen."

On Oct. 22, after first standing by his story in an interview with The Associated Press, Chamblee took to Twitter.

"Golf is a gentleman's game and I'm not proud of this debate. I want to apologize to Tiger for this incited discourse," Chamblee tweeted.

He added on Twitter: "My intention was to note Tiger's rules infractions this year, but comparing that to cheating in grade school went too far."

During his discussion with Lerner, which lasted slightly more than three minutes, Chamblee strongly denied a vendetta against Woods.

"Of course not," he said. "My job as an analyst at Golf Channel requires me to analyze the golf and offer my opinions. I'd like to think I'm pretty good at it. Tiger Woods is the best player in the game by miles. Maybe the best player of all time. And over the years, I have said a lot of positive things about Tiger's golf swing and his accomplishments, and at times I have been critical, but that's my job. ...

"I can be a bit forceful with my opinions. Some would say too forceful. That was obviously the case in this instance."

Woods said Monday prior to an exhibition with Rory McIlroy in China that he was ready to move on but that the next step would have to come from Golf Channel.

"There's a conflict and a confusion when you work for one company and write for another company," Chamblee said Wednesday. "So going forward I'm not going to be writing for Golf Magazine beginning next year. I'm going to be writing exclusively for GolfChannel.com and NBC.com. And that way, if Tiger and his camp have an issue with something I write, they could at least be yelling at the right people."

Bob Harig | email

Golf Writer, ESPN.com

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