Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee, who has ripped Phil Mickelson in the past, didn’t buy the star golfer’s apology on Tuesday.
“The statement was six paragraphs long,” Chamblee said in an interview with Golf Channel. The first paragraph was about him pretending to be a victim. The second paragraph was about him pretending to be an activist. The third and fourth paragraphs were about damage control on whether he would be paid now or definitely in the future, considering he wrote the Saudi operating agreement for this tour.
“In the last two paragraphs, he was reminding everyone that he was a good guy.”
Chamblee, who also defended author Alan Shipnuck against Mickelson’s accusation that the statement he made was off-the-record, said golf is in good standing and disputed Mickelson’s claim that the game desperately needs change.
“How does (golf) desperately need change?” Chamblee said. “The game of golf is booming. [Golf manufacturers] for the first time have to deal with the supply. Do they have enough supply to supply all those fans of the game playing there in record numbers. The PGA Tour is doing extraordinarily well.
here is Mickelson’s full statement:
Chamblee also said Mickelson, who also saw KPMG terminate its sponsorship deal with him, was dishonest and “playing the victim” in his statement that he was “willing to take any punches” to bring about change. Prior to the apology statement, Mickelson had also received criticism from top PGA Tour stars such as Rory McIlroy.
“Is it because there is no professional golf circuit in the landscape that is funded by arguably the most reprehensible regime in the world?” Chamblee said. “Is this how the game should change? I don’t think anyone thinks that’s how the game needs to change.
“These big stars on the PGA Tour have to step down from what is a very philanthropic tour that takes care of players from the time they leave college to the time they want to hang up. …. I can’t imagine a tour that cares players from the start of their career until late in old age other than the PGA Tour; while the Saudi-backed tour claims it can only pick 30-40 players, statically, and that represents the best of the game.
“They don’t have a power system for this tour and definitely when they start playing badly they will disappear.”
Chamblee said four of the six paragraphs in Mickelson’s statement were about rotation and damage control.
“You can just get rid of the first two paragraphs,” he said. “You can get rid of the last two paragraphs. And really focus on the third and fourth paragraphs, that’s what it was all about. It’s more about damage control with LIV Golf Investments. It was more about Phil having money and control and him working both sides of the street.
Chamblee, who ripped Mickelson for playing in Saudi Arabia in 2019, said it was another instance of Mickelson trying to play it both ways, comparing it to when Lefty beat Tom Watson after the defeat of the American Ryder Cup team against the Europeans in 2014.
Chamblee – who spoke out against Mickelson’s actions at the time – said Mickelson called him a few days later and the two spoke for about 30 minutes, where “he told me all kinds of bad things about Tom Watson, trying to argue that this was all Tom’s fault [and] certainly not his fault.
“When I hung up I thought it was Phil at his manipulative best, trying to call me to put words in my mouth, so that I wouldn’t go on. [to criticize him.]”, Chamblee said. “What was, I think, even more telling after that was that a week or two after that, I started hearing other reporters basically, almost verbatim, spitting out the words same as Phil had told me (about Watson), which made me think that Phil had probably called a lot of reporters – again trying to work both sides of the coin – so he could come back and roll up his arms around the Ryder Cup as if he were the triumphant saviour.
“Meanwhile, he was the one who had punched holes in the boat, but he wanted to steer it to port and act like he was the heroic captain.”
Later in the interview, Chamblee pointed out the one group that received no apology – the PGA Tour.
“There has been no effort to mend fences with the PGA Tour [in the statement]”, Chamblee said. “He made a big effort to mend fences with LIV Golf. A big effort out there, because out there it’s all about money and control.
Chamblee also said that Mickelson has a pension plan of around $250 million after he finishes playing and he won’t get that on any Saudi-backed tour.
New York Post