News & Opinion

Reed, not Chamblee, needs to ‘cease and desist’

A comical attempt by Patrick Reed’s lawyer to silence dissent – specifically, comments by TV analyst Brandel Chamblee that Reed tried to cheat – merely sinks Reed deeper into the game’s abyss

Remember the old cowboy flicks, in which an unsuspecting soul would stumble into quicksand? The more he struggled, the more he submerged and the worse it got. Finally, someone would fetch a rope, attach it to a horse’s saddle and pull him free.

Someone throw Patrick Reed a rope.

Presidents Cup 2019
Patrick Reed finds himself surrounded with security during the recent Presidents Cup matches in Australia, but the protection did little to muffle the gallery’s disdain with the American’s recent actions on the golf course.

With every move made by the embattled former Masters champion, he sinks a little deeper. Whether Reed makes these decisions or whether it’s someone manipulating his clenched fist, who knows? But he can’t stop hitting himself.

Reed, 29, arrived on the PGA Tour scene highly respected for his skills, but he also arrived with baggage. A brittle college transcript included accusations of cheating, stealing and boorish behavior. Reed has denied all of it, but his pro career has done little to make the stains fade.

There was the time in 2014 when he declared himself to be one of the top 5 players in the world, a time when he was ranked No. 20 and had yet to play in a major championship.

There was the shushing of the European crowd at the 2014 Ryder Cup with a provocative finger to the lip. That’s a self-indulgent NFL move, not a golf move. There was the profanity-laced, homophobic slur that microphones caught at the 2014 WGC HSBC Champions. There were the shots he took at captain Jim Furyk and teammates concerning the loss in the 2018 Ryder Cup, always a good way to buddy up to the fellas. And there is the continued estrangement from his parents and sister, which has gotten ugly at times.

In early December, a spotlight fell on Reed for his actions in a waste bunker at the Hero World Challenge in Albany, Bahamas. Twice, he put his clubhead down and brushed away sand with a takeaway. He insisted that nothing unsavory was involved, but others opined his actions were done purposely to improve his lie, which in the Merriam-Webster world of golf would define “cheating.”

Upon review, the PGA Tour assessed Reed a two-shot penalty and allowed him to continue. But in the days since, Reed has been targeted by hecklers taunting him with the “C” word.

Presidents Cup 2019
Patrick Reed (right) and his caddie/brother-in-law Kessler Karain didn’t need to test the wind during the recent Presidents Cup. They were playing into a figurative headwind all week long.

At last month's Presidents Cup, an exchange resulted in Reed’s caddie and brother-in-law, Kessler Karain, channeling Ron Artest and going into the gallery. The Tour dismissed Karain from the competition. To attention-seeking lowlifes, who think a gate pass entitles them to obnoxious and intolerable behavior, the whole affair screams encouragement, or “Thank you, sir. May I have another?”

Late last week came another revelation. In the midst of the Presidents Cup caper, Reed’s lawyer Peter Ginsberg sent a cease-and-desist letter to Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee (“In other golf news,” Jan. 9). Ginsberg, by the way, previously represented Ray Rice, the former Baltimore Ravens running back whose career ended in the fallout from a domestic-violence incident. Seriously, you can’t make this stuff up.

Chamblee is an outspoken former player and TV commentator. His job is to be opinionated, and he is among those who believe Reed’s sandywork in the Bahamas was immoral. More precisely, Chamblee said, “To defend what Patrick Reed did is to defend cheating.”

Putting this latest development into context – with a straight face – is difficult. It’s like Donatella Versace and “Carrot Top” scheduling more plastic surgery; like Lori Loughlin enrolling her daughters in coxswain lessons; like prosecutors insisting that O.J. try on the gloves. And it’s like Reed issuing a public statement with a whiny soundtrack: “Stop picking on me! Whaaa! Whaaa!”

Reed is a public figure, a professional athlete. As such, he is subject to critical commentary or uncomplimentary evaluation. It’s not always fair, or easy to accept, but it comes with the territory, like disproportionate praise and preferential treatment. Moreover, what he did was and still is out there for public consumption, enacted on a public stage. To think that a lawyer could cease-and-desist the fallout is almost comical.

Shredded dental floss might carry more weight. You may as well send a “continue and embellish” letter instead.

In the correspondence, according to ESPN, Ginsberg wrote: “Indeed, as you should know, and presumably do know but chose to ignore, if the PGA Tour believed that Mr. Reed had intentionally violated any rule, he would have been disqualified from the tournament rather than assessed a two-stroke penalty. Everyone involved agrees that Mr. Reed acted unintentionally, and the tape of the incident fully supports that conclusion.”

Now that’s rich, using the PGA Tour’s action as a defense. The PGA Tour would slap Warden Norton on the wrist, put Hannibal Lecter on a meal plan and pardon The Joker if it were good for the bottom line. The PGA Tour is not in the judiciary business; it’s in the entertainment business. Everyone involved agrees.

Patrick Reed isn’t just sinking in quicksand; he’s breakdancing in it. For God’s sake, someone throw him a rope.

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