As if this golf year didn't already have enough twists and turns, another emerged on Tuesday when LIV Golf player and former Masters champion Patrick Reed filed a $750 million defamation lawsuit against analyst Brandel Chamblee and Golf Channel. Reed, 32, contends that he has been an active target of criticisms since he was 23 years old.
In the 30-page lawsuit, Reed's lawyer cast a wide net around various individuals and organizations, including the PGA Tour and commissioner Jay Monahan, the DP World Tour and CEO Keith Pelley and several PGA Tour players. However, Chamblee's criticisms of Reed over the years are the focus of the suit with Reed's lawyer claiming that those actions have led to heckling from fans on the course.
The primary complaint is related to Reed's defection to LIV Golf, which Chamblee has loudly and vociferously criticized. Chamblee, among many other analysts, was also a vocal critic of Reed's questionable actions as it relates to rules violations at both the 2019 Hero World Challenge and 2021 Farmers Insurance Open.
From the lawsuit:
To compound matters, both before and in furtherance of the threats made and actions taken by the PGA Tour and its Commissioner Jay Monahan, to constructively terminate Mr. Reed, Defendants Chamblee and NBC's Golf Channel have conspired as joint tortfeasors forand with the PGA Tour, its executives and its Commissioner Jay Monahan, to engage in a pattern and practice of defaming Mr. Reed, misreporting information with falsity and/or reckless disregard of the truth, that is with actual and constitutional malice, 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, and with the intention to discredit his name and accomplishments as a young, elite, world-class golfer, and the good and caring person, husband and father of two children, he is.
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. 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.
It didn't stop there. The lawsuit not only claims Reed has suffered from a hostile work environment but also that he has lost out on sponsorship deals directly because of Chamblee's rhetoric.
These calculated, malicious, false and/or reckless attacks have had a direct effect on Mr. Reed's and his family's livelihood and he has suffered major damages through the loss of not just one, but multiple multi-million dollar sponsorship deals as a result of the continuous harm that Brandel Chamblee and NBC's Golf Channel's have inflicted and continue to inflict upon Mr. Reed with defamatory publications that are false and/or made with a reckless disregard for the truth. These meritless accusations and misreported information intentionally deceive the public for corporate gain with no accountability to the public or Mr. Reed and his family.
This is not the first time Reed has taken action against Chamblee. Golfweek reported that Reed sent Chamblee a cease and desist back in 2020.
Patrick Reed doesn't only have his caddie wading in to defend his badly battered reputation — he's sending in his lawyer too. Golfweek has exclusively obtained a cease and desist letter Reed had his attorney send to Brandel Chamblee demanding the Golf Channel analyst not repeat accusations that the former Masters champion cheated at the Hero World Challenge last month.
It appears that Chamblee's comments on Reed's association with LIV Golf pushed the former PGA Tour pro over the edge. Here's an example of something Reed's lawyer claims Chamblee has said in the past about Reed and LIV Golf that appears in the lawsuit: "When I hear these players say that they are 'growing the game'... it makes me want to puke. They're destroying the game. And they are destroying their reputations."
The PGA Tour was mentioned several times in the lawsuit with Reed claiming that he was "constructively terminated as a member of the PGA Tour." Reed actually resigned from the PGA Tour.
Everything you need to know about professional golf right now can be found in the context of this lawsuit. A former Masters champion is suing for $750 million a broadcaster and the network that helped make him famous -- all for being critical of decisions he made both on the course and off it as it relates to his playing career.
Given the magnitude of the lawsuit filed by Phil Mickelson and nine other LIV Golf players against the PGA Tour two weeks ago, the Reed filing isn't even close to the most consequential golf lawsuit of the month.