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Brandel Chamblee tells all: LIV tension, Phil drama, how Brandel became Brandel
Brandel Chamblee goes deep on LIV, Phil Mickelson, Saudi influence and golf’s “catastrophic greed” — and explains how he got to this point.
The post Brandel Chamblee tells all: LIV tension, Phil drama, how Brandel became Brandel appeared first on Golf.
Brandel Chamblee goes deep on LIV, Phil Mickelson, Saudi influence and golf’s “catastrophic greed” — and explains how he got to this point.
The post Brandel Chamblee tells all: LIV tension, Phil drama, how Brandel became Brandel appeared first on Golf.
Just minutes after the golf world changed, Brooks Koepka took to Twitter.
“Welfare check on Chamblee,” he wrote.
It was the morning of June 6 and a bombshell announcement had just sent shockwaves across the sports landscape: The PGA Tour and Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund — sole backer of rival league LIV Golf — had reached an agreement. It was telling that Koepka’s mind (and mock concern) went straight to Brandel Chamblee. The fact that it immediately became one of Koepka’s biggest tweets ever suggested that the Golf Channel personality was on other golf fans’ minds too.
How did a 61-year-old journeyman-pro-turned-rigorous-intelligent-TV-talking-head garner this level of attention? Golf analysis on the tube famously trends toward bland, chummy and inoffensive. In the sunset of their careers, plenty of Tour pros have tried their hand at it. None have left an impression quite like this.
Depending on your perspective, Chamblee is charismatic or he’s caustic; he’s a breath of fresh air or he’s full of hot air. He has opinions about everything and everyone and so everyone has opinions about Chamblee. But even his detractors would agree on two things: He’s obsessively prepared and impressively unafraid. He’s also fiercely principled, which is how he has become the face — and the voice — of the golf world’s opposition to Saudi involvement in the sport.
Chamblee dug in on the subject as far back as 2019, when he decried players taking guaranteed money to compete in the Saudi International tournament. His objections have only grown louder since LIV’s arrival. Increasingly, the LIV world’s objections to him have turned up, too.
THREE WEEKS AFTER the announcement of the unimaginable (and still in question) alliance, I pull up to the banquet room at Grayhawk Golf Club, not far from Chamblee’s home in Scottsdale, Ariz. The day hasn’t yet reached its high of 114 degrees, but I can feel myself starting to sweat in the few steps from air-conditioned car to air-conditioned room. Chamblee arrives minutes later, well before his call time, wearing an easy smile. This is a man accustomed to and unbothered by the heat.
I’m eager to talk through his upbringing and path to his current role. I’m eager to hear him reflect on his playing career. I’m most eager to hear his reaction to golf’s latest, biggest news. I’m eager, in other words, for a welfare check on Chamblee. I’m unsure if uncertainty around the PIF-PGA Tour deal will make him less inclined to share his thoughts, but it takes exactly one-and-a-half questions to realize that won’t be an issue.
Editor’s note: What follows is the interview in its near-entirety. An abridged version appears in the latest issue of GOLF Magazine. You can also listen to the interview on the Drop Zone podcast or find clips on YouTube. Otherwise, dive in below!
I. BRANDEL THE KID
Dylan Dethier: The logical place would be to start at the beginning. You were born in St. Louis, is that right?
Brandel Chamblee: I was, yeah.
DD: But you grew up in Texas. What were you like as a kid? And how does that relate to what you’re like now?
BC: I don’t know. I think we all evolve. I was a very athletic kid. You know, whatever I was watching on TV, I wanted to do professionally, whether it was — having moved to Texas pretty young, I grew up in Irving, Texas, which at the time was the home of the Dallas Cowboys.
And I would argue, even with ardent New England fans, that the greatest decade in the history of football was the Dallas Cowboys in the 70s. And I was in Texas. You play football, you play baseball, you run track. I was pretty fast, so I played running back and I wanted to be Walt Garrison. I wanted to be Tony Dorsett.
And I can remember the turning point with that particular aspiration was when I was about 13 and I was going up against what we called the “headhunter defense.” They had stickers for every solo tackle they had made on their helmets, and all I saw was just helmets covered in stickers. And I was not a big kid — shocker — but I was fast. And the next thing I knew the whole defense, it seemed like, ended up on top of me. And I was on top of the football. Which part of the football? The top of the football, lengthwise, so it was right in my sternum. And I remember laying at the bottom of that huddle, if you want to call it that, that pile, that mass of crazed-out young kids thinking I am never playing football again.
And then I remember winning our district in various track meets and going to regionals. And I just got creamed at regionals and we came out of there and my dad put his arm around me and he was like, I think we need to find you another sport. And that was riding horses. So we had horses, and I rode them competitively and did a lot of stupid things on horses and then eventually got hurt doing that. But no, I just played every sport and that’s all I did. We’d we’d get out in the front yard and it’s way before your time, but at that time, Evel Knievel was trying to jump everything. He was trying to jump every canyon or building or car or whatever it was.
So we would try to go out — I can’t even imagine let my kids do this, but back then, it was just different — and we would set up these ramps and we would get going as fast as we could on our bikes and take off on these ramps. And we’d try to jump 20 feet and we crashed all day long.
I’ve got scars all over my body from my knees to my hands, everything. I can’t imagine letting my kids do something like that. But we did it all day long. We’d play pickup football games, our neighborhood against another neighborhood. And there was always one guy you couldn’t tackle. So it was, you know, so much pride if you could tackle Mike. Mike Watney was his name. And that’s all we did.
My mom would say come home at dark and we’d be home at dark. And then with the horses, my parents would drop us off at sunup and then they would come get us at sundown. And my brother and I would ride horses everywhere all day, hundreds and hundreds of acres. What now is the TPC Las Colinas used to be just this farm that we rode horses on.
When I was 11 and again, I cannot imagine letting my kids do something like this. But when I was 11, my older brother was 13. We got on our horses, my brother and I, and we set off to ride to Lake Texoma. That’s 100 miles. And we thought it’d be so cool to to camp out, have a campfire, cook beans. And wherever we would decide to camp out — it was at random — we would take a sign and stick it on the road saying ‘we’re here!’
My parents would drive out at night and find the sign because we knew they would check on us. But we hadn’t planned on thunderstorms, and I think the third night into that trip it started lightning storming. And every lightning crash my brother’s horse would run off.
So my brother, genius that he was, decided he would stop that and tied the horse to his leg. And all I remember is seeing my brother flying up with the light from the from the lightning. And [laughing] that’s when I knew he was going to be a world-class, kick-ass lawyer. No, I was like, yeah, you’re brilliant, Bill. How he didn’t die, I don’t know.
But we were always doing crazy stuff. I mean, my brother and I would be in the backyard trying to throw knives at each other and see how close we could get without killing each other. We would go out in the fields and shoot, with BB guns, anything that flew. And then invariably we’d take those and try to sneak up on each other and shoot each other in the ass. We were ridiculous boys. That’s what we did. And it was a tremendous way to grow up.
DD: What were your parents like? Did they support their ridiculous boys?
BC: They were the best. I mean, you’re very fortunate if you’ve got great parents. And I think I had the best parents in the world. They’re still alive. My dad’s 88. My mom is 82, and they’re still alive. They’ve still got their wits about them. They’re still active. I have five brothers and sisters, so darn near 20 grandkids.
My dad mostly just worked because that’s a lot of mouths to feed, a lot of kids to put through college. But he bought everybody a car when we graduated from high school. He sent everybody to college, paid for everybody’s college. He paid for my golf. He paid for graduate schools, business schools, law schools, medical schools, dental schools. He paid for all that. And I don’t know how he did it because he wasn’t rich. He just worked his ass off. He just worked.
He would leave at 7:30, 8:00 in the morning. I don’t know that he got home till 1030 or 11:00 at night. And on the weekends he was home and he would cook steaks every Saturday night for pretty much everybody in the neighborhood. And on Sundays he would hold court with everybody in the neighborhood.
And he loved to debate and loved to argue, and so did everybody else in my family. So we’d just sit around and I’d try to beat my father at debates, which was impossible. But it was a great way to grow up.
My mom, all she did was just take care of everybody. She took care of the house. She’d get everybody to school. She picked everybody up, took them to their extracurricular activities and never missed a beat, never complained, had meals on the plate, made sure everybody did their homework, got everybody to bed, did the laundry, kept the house clean. She was a soft spot to land. Sweetest thing in the world and still is. So I cannot imagine two better parents.
My dad, he’ll still send me stuff. I’ll come home after a couple of weeks. I’ll have a packet, and in that packet will be letters, clippings from my dad. He doesn’t know that you can get newspapers digitally, online. So he still reads them. He still cuts out clippings about golf that he thinks might inform my opinion. He’ll highlight them, staple them together, send long, detailed notes. He’ll send cards and letters and—
DD: Do you read them? Do you ever get anything out of them?
BC: Yeah! I do. I still call my dad to talk to him about things. What would you do about this? What would you do about that? What do you think about this? And I’ve got kids that now, they’re 26, 21 and 20, but you never stop worrying about your kids. And so I’ll call my dad about some something I’m thinking about with my kids. You never stop thinking about them.
And my dad, he’s always like, Raising?! I don’t understand your generation. It’s not hard to raise kids. Kids need two things. They need love and discipline. That’s all they need is love and discipline. And I’m like, Okay, right. Sure.
DD: He says give ’em a bike and a backyard and a bunch of things to jump over…
BC: Yeah, I mean, every generation looks at the current generation from the view of your past one and you think, Oh, this one’s lost its mind or whatever.
But that was not a bad way to grow up. It got us out of the house. Rough-and-tumble play is very important to growing up and there’s a lot of evidence to that. There’s a lot of literature on that. And I think this era is missing rough-and-tumble play. We’re on our devices too much.
II. BRANDEL THE GOLFER
DD: So where does golf fit into any of this?
BC: Where does golf fit into it? Because I took a high school friend of mine out to ride horses one day, and he said, okay, you’ve got to come play golf with me. And my dad had taken me to play golf when I was, I don’t know, 6 or 7 at a par-3 course right outside of Dallas, but it didn’t take.
So my buddy asked me if I wanted to go play golf with him. He was a very good golfer, one of the best in the nation. I didn’t know that his name was Billy Beverly, a hell of a player. And so I came home and told my dad, Look, I love it. I think I could be good at this.
The first time I played, I don’t even know what I shot, but I loved it. And he was like, okay, if you really want to play golf, then we’re going to have to sell the horses because you can’t do both. And I was like, okay — so we sold my horse and I started playing right before my 13th birthday.
And then shortly thereafter I pretty much quit every other sport and just dove into golf. My dad said to me, I’ll take you at any hour you want. I would wake up at 4:30 and knock on his door and he’d take me to the golf course so that I’d be there right when the sun came up in the summer.
And they’d pick me up when the sun went down, just like what we used to do with horses. And I just fell in love with it. I was lucky that I grew up in an area where there were so many great junior golfers. I counted and it was like a dozen from my era in the Dallas-Fort Worth area that made it to the Tour. The most obvious were like Andrew Magee, Scott Verplank, Mark Brooks, Andy Dillard. These are all people that I grew up playing golf with. And they were shooting 66, 67, 68 in high school tournaments. When I first started playing was right before I went into high school and I can remember being nervous about trying out for the high school team because everybody was so darn good.
My dad again was like, don’t worry about it. Don’t sweat it. If you don’t make it, we’ll put together a schedule. You’ll go play junior golf tournaments, we’ll figure it out. And I think I shot 90-something. I made the high school team.
But being around all those great junior golfers was motivating. And I got very good, very fast. I’d say by my sophomore year in high school, I was good. I was shooting in the low 70s. And then I got way better my junior year, way better my senior year, such that I was able to get a scholarship to the University of Texas, and that set me on the path.
DD: I’m always interested by people that weren’t top golfers from eight, nine, 10 years old, which seems like it’s true a lot of the case. I’m sure people ask you all the time, oh, how should I make my kid into a superstar golfer? Is there anything that you’ve learned from your upbringing and now your professional career and now your career as a talker and observer about how golf parents should approach that?
BC: Yeah, I have mixed emotions about it because I see the helicopter parents that have had success with their kids and they’ve turned into extraordinary golfers. And it looks like they’re all trying to copy Tiger Woods. But what I can glean from reading everything I have about Earl and Tiger’s relationship is that it was founded on a great respect for one another and that the desire for Tiger to play golf came from Tiger, not from Earl.
Tiger wanted hit golf balls. Tiger wanted to be out there all day long. Was Earl pushing it on him in any way? I mean, he exposed him to it, but it lit a fire and then it was Tiger’s passion. When I’ve talked to juniors and their parents are in the room, I say the same thing:
Look who’s around you right now. Look who’s supporting you. And if you are lucky enough to get really good at this game, don’t ever lose sight of that, because the better you get, the more people are going to want to come in and hitch their wagon to your star and usurp your stardom. And more times than not, they’re going to damage you because you develop motor patterns when you’re very young.
And yeah, we do hear about Tiger Woods. We hear about the successful ones. Tiger learning from Rudy Duran and then going to Butch [Harmon] and going to [Hank] Haney and then going to [Sean] Foley and then going to [Chris] Como. And we hear about all those and we think, well, it’s okay to sort of hop around to all these teachers.
And I would just say, look, we only hear about the successful ones, but for every great teacher-player change, there’s scores, if not hundreds, that don’t make it. And they don’t make it because I think it disrupts the motor patterns that kids develop as juniors.
So if somebody is going to make it in professional golf, there really is no secret. They all have talent. That’s a given. I grew up with hundreds of junior golfers in my area. Most of them were talented. The ones that make it? They’re the ones that just persevere. They’re the ones that work the hardest. There are some that don’t make it that work very hard. But I would argue that they get their path deviated by instruction. That’s not a knock on instruction. Instruction is vastly improved over the last five, 10 years. And it’s never with ill intent that that happens. But instruction is still guessing, to some extent.
It’s lucky that Jack Nicklaus ended up in a place with Jack Grout, just by chance. If Jack would have ended up under the tutelage of Jack Graham — just pulling a fictitious name out of the ether — Jack would probably be a pharmacist. In those particular situations, it worked out. I mean, that was such great historical serendipity. If you realize who Jack Grout was and his path to being at Scioto, you realize that that’s some of the greatest instruction in the history of instruction, which derives from Alex Morrison, which led to Henry Picard, which led to Ben Hogan, which led to Jack Nicklaus. I mean, it had this great lineage. So that was tremendous fortune on Jack’s part that he happened to been born there.
For the most part, though, the director of golf at your home club is easily good enough to foster and bridge that gap between the frustrating part of starting the game and finding the love of it because it’s enjoyable. And then then it’s up to the young man or woman. Do they have the passion? They of course have to have supportive parents, but it’s up to them and it’s perseverance that gets you to the Tour, not talent. You have to have talent, but it’s perseverance that gets you there.
I wasn’t Fred Couples. I wasn’t Jack Nicklaus. I wasn’t Tiger Woods, I wasn’t Rory McIlroy. I wasn’t blessed with that kind of athleticism they had. I was a good athlete, a very good athlete, but I wasn’t — those are once-in-a-generation athletes. But they didn’t outwork me. I had the work ethic. Nobody was going to outwork me.
III. BRANDEL THE PRO
DD: What was the peak of your playing career? Was there a moment where you were absolutely playing your best golf?
BC: Yeah, probably in college. In 1983 I was ranked in the top five amateurs. I was First-Team All-American, won quite a few tournaments. I hit the ball very far and very high. And I say this because once I got to a spot where I got a lot of attention, I was winning a lot of tournaments, unfortunately or fortunately, depending upon your view, I was very curious, too. And so all of a sudden I had a lot of instructors following me. Up to that point I’d had zero instruction.
DD: None at all?
BC: None, zero. I’d just watched, read and emulated and imitated and I’d dug it out of the dirt. But I started listening to — because they were watching me hit golf balls, instructors, and I didn’t know what something was and I tried it.
And the next thing you know it’s kind of hard to find your way back home. And so I spent the next — I played professional golf from 1985 till I started doing television. I mean, I’m still technically a professional golfer, but everybody in this room makes more money playing professional golf than I do. I played for 20 years as a pro, but I don’t think I was ever as good as I was when I was in college.
My best year on Tour I think I finished 37th on the money list. And I’d gotten better every single year up to that point, when I’d started playing the Tour from ’88 on. If I had it to do over again, of course I wouldn’t listen [to the instructors]. You don’t get to make those choices again. But that’s also the reason I’m sitting here now is because of that curiosity and my love of golf, the golf swing, the passion for it — it directed me more towards an analytical role than a professional golfer role.
DD: Were you an outlier on Tour in the way you thought about things? Or in the fact that you really thought about things a lot, period?
BC: Well, I don’t know from the golf-swing aspect of that. There were others who were pretty geeky about the golf swing, for sure. When I played the Tour, Faxon was that way. Faxon and I are probably in a battle, a lifelong battle to see who can pay for more instruction from teachers.
But I’ve gone through the Top 100 list, and a lot of them I’ve worked with. But from a philosophical standpoint, I can remember when I played the Tour I had several people that I absolutely love to play golf with. Brian Henninger was one of them because we talked about the outdoors and riding horses.
Colin Montgomerie — I loved playing with Colin because we could talk about anything but golf — traveling, we talked a lot about. And Frank Nobilo. I loved playing with Frank because we would talk about politics or philosophy or history or wine or food, and he was just, I thought, so bright. And it’s ironic that I did work with Brian Henninger in television. I have worked with Colin Montgomerie in television, and I spent the better part of my TV career working with Frank Nobilo. But I so enjoyed all of those guys because they had something to say. And they they loved golf, but they also loved life outside of golf.
DD: Did you like the lifestyle of professional golfer? Of a Tour pro?
BC: [Pauses] No. No, I didn’t. I mean, I liked the competitive aspect of it. I liked the grind. I loved the simplicity of waking up every single morning with it being so crystal-clear what you needed to do. Golfers have that tremendous luxury. You get up every morning, you’re like, I’ve got to be a better long-iron player. I’ve got to be a better mid-iron player.
That kind of clarity is the stuff that people dream of. And to have something so objectively define who you are or what you can do in a sport is beautiful. But if my father had taken me aside when I was 13 — nobody did this, and I don’t lay fault on them — but if somebody had taken me aside when I was 13 or 14 and said, look, let’s map this out, you’re going to be really good. You’re going to play professional golf, you’re going to be gone two-thirds of the time from the people that you love the most. You are not going to be able to participate, really, within your community. You’re not going to be home for dinner. You’re going to miss birthdays, you’re going to miss celebrations, you’re going to miss anniversaries. And it’s going to put a tremendous stress on your your your life outside of golf.
I probably would have gone into something else. Like I said, I loved the competitive aspect of golf. But if I had it to do over again, if I were in college and it occurred to me how much sacrifice there would be for the payoff, I would not have done it. I would have gone into some other endeavor happily.
IV. BRANDEL THE TALKER
DD: When you made that switch, when you retired from playing, you stayed within the golf world. Is that something that you knew was going to happen? What was that turning point like?
BC: Family is the reason I went from playing competitive golf to doing TV.
I had a tragedy in my family. I lost a child. And if you read any literature on that, it’s — it’s catastrophic to relationships. So I came home because I had to solve a lot of — I had to try to mend things. And I thought TV would be a way for me to be home a lot more and to be more present.
Because even when you play golf for a living, you’re gone two-thirds of the year. You come home and you’re up first thing in the morning. You go to the gym, you practice all day, you come home and it’s still in you.
And in TV, there’s it’s easier to turn it off. When you’re off, you can be off. So that’s how the transition really came about. I really wasn’t playing that badly. I wasn’t injured. And looking back, it’s easy to say now, but I certainly wasn’t even old, I was 39, 40. I’d love to be 39, 40 again.
So that’s kind of how TV came about. I mean, I guess it came about, too, because I studied communication in college. I was comfortable talking in front of people. I love to write. I love to read. I had been writing for the entire time I played the Tour, either wrote for Golf World, Sports Illustrated, GOLF Magazine.
I was always writing. And based upon things I would write, I would get asked to do television or go sit down and do an interview. And so I knew the people in the television world. And I can remember coming in to do the Masters in 2001 at Golf Channel. I had not qualified for the Masters. I almost did, but I just missed it.
And I remember working that entire week. That was really the first week where I did TV and it was such a team game. I enjoyed that team-game aspect of it.
Golf is is the most selfish endeavor I can think of. It’s just you and those golf balls and you answer to nobody. You don’t have a boss and nobody can tell you what to do. Nobody. It’s just you and those golf balls. And if you’re good at it, you can get very selfish. And here I had a director and a producer and a gazillion people behind the scenes working graphics and lighting and cameras and you name it. And it was like a family. And I enjoyed it.
I really enjoyed the people that I worked with that week. And if it hadn’t been for that week and some of those people that I worked with — some that I still work with now — I’m not so sure it would have made the transition easy. But it did.
DD: Did you find your voice very quickly because you had dipped your toe in the water before going full-time to TV, or did that take some time to develop?
BC: No, I wouldn’t say I [found it quickly] at all. I mean, I was curious enough that I was decent at it. But you don’t really even know where to find all the things that you need to find to form the opinions that you need to form. So it took me two, three, four years to get comfortable because there’s nobody, reall,y that can tell you how to do TV.
You can have producers and directors, they can tell you a million different things and they do tell you those. And if you have them in your head, they’re all well-intended. But if you’re trying to think about all those things that people tell you, don’t say this, don’t say that. Don’t do this, don’t do that. If you go on the air and if that’s in your head, well, you can’t think, you can’t talk. And if you’re worried at all about what people are going to think about what you say, you can’t talk, you can’t think.
DD: And were you worried, early on, about what people thought?
BC: I mean, I’m not saying you’re not worried. You want to say things on TV that are informative and that are true and fair. And if you’re aspiring into the height of it, that are entertaining, that pique people’s interest. And so, of course. But when I say I’m worried about what people think, if they’re offended by something you say, and if your goal is to be accurate and fair, well, you just have to keep asking yourself, where’s this coming from? What am I doing? What’s the goal here?
The thing about TV that I think I learned pretty quickly is so different from golf is that golf is very objective. You shoot 65, nobody can tell you you’re not great. You shoot 75, nobody can tell you you’re not terrible.
But in TV, it’s very subjective. You can finish a show you think is great and someone thinks it sucked. And you can finish a show and you think it was awful and someone’s like, Actually, that was pretty good. And so I had to come up with my own definition of what I thought was good, and mine was to work as hard as I could, to know the players, to know the course, to know all the questions that might be asked of me, to have the overarching theme of the show and then to to relax and and try to be fair. And if I did that, at the end of a show in my view it was a successful show.
And when I say relax I mean listen, because if you’re just thinking about what you’re going to say, you don’t listen. And everybody’s guilty of doing that. But the height of TV is when you’re comfortable, you’ve done your research and you relax and you can just listen.
And then when you listen, it’s more of a conversation and that’s the epitome. That’s the best you can imagine. So I came to that eventually. It took a while.
Editor’s note: The next bit works better with visuals; check out the video below for a look at Chamblee’s show notes.
BC: You make a fool of yourself all the time doing TV. You say things that you wish you hadn’t said or not in the way you wish you had said them. You say things that turn out wrong. But that’s never the goal. You want to be right. And I don’t take the job lightly.
We have an audience that tunes in. That loves golf. And it’s unlike other people who watch other sports. You don’t watch football and go out and play football. You watch golf and you want to go play golf. So you’re watching it not just to be entertained, but to be informed and to learn.
And I’m the same way. If I’m trying to learn, I’ll get up, spend all morning on a pitch shot or a chip shot, because I’m also trying to learn, and then I’ll go use it, I’ll go try to see if it works. And we work with some great people and they know golf.
If I was on a show and I said, Jon Rahm finished fourth at the Masters, in my ear I know I’ll get: he finished third. They know golf. They know it. You mispronounce a name, they are in your ear. They know it and they love it.
And I’ve got such a respect for it. The fellow that I worked with when I did that first show in 2001 at the Masters, the main producer was Eric Epstein, who has since moved on. And Eric Rutledge was the director then and he’s moved on and he’s teaching directing at Full Sail in Orlando.
But one of them was a fellow by the name of Matt Hegarty. I don’t know exactly what his title is. But he oversees all Live Froms. He’s still there. And there’s nobody on the Earth that loves golf more than he does. Nobody we ever met. You run across Matt, he’s like a character out of an Aaron Sorkin series or something. I mean, he’s the most beautifully insane lover of golf and he’s loud and he’s sympathetic and he’s empathetic. He’s just a sweetheart and he’s crazy about the subject and his passion for golf is inspiring. So you could never mail [a show] in because he would know it, and you’d run through a wall for that guy.
Rich Lerner is the same way. I mean, he’s crazy about it. Ben Dawn, who used to be producer, and now he’s in charge of running live golf tournaments, he’s behind all the economics, finances and the talent. Nobody loves golf more than Ben Dawn. Nobody. Never met anybody who loves golf more than that guy. Jeff Fabian, nobody loves it more. We’ve got another guy, Allen Roberson. I call him MOAG. Master of All Games. Because you can’t beat him at any game, any card game. He’s a savant. If I said Bobby Jones finished fifth at the 1927 Open, he would say, No. No, that’s wrong.
We had a guy that just left the Golf Channel, went to the PGA Tour to work for them. Ari Marcus. I mean, you’ve never met people that know more about golf. He could tell you the shaft that Tiger’s hitting in his 3-wood. The shaft that’s in Rory’s putter. The grip he put on, whether it has a reminder in the back. That’s how these people know the game. And that’s a wonderful environment to work in.
DD: You’ve talked about how professional golfers are not your audience. You’re not catering to the guys out there that you’re talking about. But you’re also not necessarily catering to the the most vocal minority of of social media. The unknown commenters. So who are you listening to?
BC: I’m not broadcasting for golf professional golfers because there are only — there aren’t that many. In the world there might be 10,000 of them, which sounds like a lot, but there’s 50 million golfers. So the math doesn’t work out that that’s a significant number. And then I’m certainly not talking to the people on social media who think that they’re the arbiter of all that’s right and wrong with the game of golf.
And so I certainly read stuff, listen to stuff. I pay attention to it and I try to read as much as I can, hear what the best players in the world are saying. But my audience is the is the core golfer. That’s the guys out here that [gestures to Grayhawk, outside] pay $300 to go play golf or $200 or whatever it is.
That’s that’s the audience. It’s the core golfer. It’s people I take golf trips with. And it’s not that I don’t listen to criticism. I get plenty of it. If the criticism is well-founded and not profane, I certainly consider it. I don’t think you should just dismiss criticism. There’s a a grain of truth, I think, in most criticism.
But it’s difficult on Twitter and in social media because there are so many bots in the world, who knows how many bots or the Saudis have, tens of thousands of them. And so when I talk about LIV I’ll get a lot of interaction, negative interaction on Twitter, but 95% of it is bots. And then the other 4% are people who’ve been bought. And 1% of them are just people who disagree with me. And that 1% is usually fairly polite. It’s just the bots and the people who’ve been bought that are trying to drum things up, because social media algorithms reward discord and reward bullying and and people tend to believe that.
When the merger of the Tour and LIV happened or the proposed merger happened, I had people call me like, hey, are you all right?
I’m like, Am I all right? Yeah. Why? They’re like, Well, I just see all this stuff on social media. I’m like, the idea that anybody would give any credence to what they read on social media — it’s bots, it’s lies or it’s people with an agenda.
V. BRANDEL VS. LIV
DD: But I guess that’s my question, or my point, is that doesn’t stop most people from caring about what people say on social media. But you seem like you have sort of a healthy detachment from giving those people too much credibility — or, whether they’re real people or not.
BC: Yeah, look, they’re just generally not. But it used to be that you had to earn your way towards a place where people would listen to you. Now that anybody can? If you’re walking down the road and and you see a group of people coming at you that look like they’re up to no good, you cross the street, you don’t you don’t stop and engage with them. So why would you stop and engage with the people on social media?
Y’know, I was walking around the U.S. Open every day before we’d go on the air. In the course of a week I would have had several hundred people say something to me. And not one negative comment.
DD: Not one?
BC: Not one. You’re talking about several hundred interactions over the course of seven days with people. Because what transpires on social media, one, it’s fake for the most part, but to the discord and the bullying, that’s anathema to face-to-face conversation. That’s just not how people behave. You don’t get to act like that, face-to-face. You don’t get to engage in conversation. That’s not to say that I haven’t had people stop me and and take issue with my stance against LIV. I have, but it didn’t happen at the U.S. Open and it’s only happened a handful of times — and I’ve been doing this long before LIV was LIV, taking issue with the Saudi involvement in golf, since the first Saudi International event. So we’re sneaking up on five years now, but the few times that I’ve had people take issue with me in public, it’s been very congenial and I’m happy to debate the topic when it’s congenial.
DD: There’s a conversation I remember having with you — must have been like, March 11th or 12th, 2020. And it was right before the pandemic shut the world down and golf down. And it was also right after Rory had really spoken out for the first time about how he wasn’t crazy about where the money was coming from.
And I remember you saying after that, look, there’s going to be people that are going to have to make some tough decisions if some of this starts happening, and if someone’s going to pay you X millions of dollars per year, how is that going to affect the choices you make with your hypothetical career? That’s the sort of decision that these players and other people in the golf ecosystem are going to have to make.
And it’s not so much a question, it’s just something that sticks out in my mind as the moment it became real for me. You mentioned the Saudi involvement was already there, but did that still seem like a turning point in the game?
BC: Definitely, yeah. When the Saudi International event started [in 2019] I don’t think it’s coincidental that it started shortly after the murder and dismembering of Jamal Khashoggi. But from that moment to this moment, it’s tilted the entire game towards greed.
And I would say perhaps catastrophically towards greed. People like to ask me about different scandals that arose in the game, Tiger or whatever they may be, and I’d be like, it’s none of my business because my job is to analyze the golf. I’m not talking about the character of people or morals or values. I’m talking about golf. That’s what I do.
But LIV and the Saudi wealth fund investment trying to buy the success of the West — now sport is about character and it is about morals because it’s about people who will sell their souls to turn a blind eye to murder. So it’s corrupting the sport now, based upon greed and based upon turning a blind eye to murder.
So the game has been tilted towards greed. And I say catastrophically, because the greed is unrealistic. Not to get all philosophical on you, but the game is confounded with moral circumstances.
I’ll give you this. I’m going to ask you this question. So everywhere in the world that golf is played as a sport, where it’s legitimately played as a sport, not as a sportswashing vehicle, people will travel and play the sport there for free. They’ll play in the national amateur championships, they’ll literally play for free. So who won the Saudi Arabia amateur championship in 2022? Right. Didn’t happen. Because nobody is going to travel to Saudi Arabia and play for MBS and his murderous thugs for free. You have to be paid to turn a blind eye to murder.
And they’re being paid so much that it’s tilting the entire game towards greed. And again, not to get all philosophical on it, but you can’t help but think about the great philosophers and and the words they used and how it has everything to do with what’s going on in golf.
If Aristotle is right that virtue is something that we can cultivate through practice, is the same not true of greed? So if altruism begets altruism, does not greed beget greed? Rousseau said something very similar when he suggested that the more a country asks of its citizens, the greater their devotion to it. So I would argue, does it not then follow that the less a sport asks of its athletes, does the necessary devotion needed to excel at it not become a risk?
And I would I would say it absolutely does. And that’s unfortunately where we’re headed in the game, because what these players don’t even understand is that they’re being used as instruments. And this is the sad part. This is what’s happening in our game, is that they’re being used as instruments, They’re being bought to help hide murders and atrocities.
Should everything be up for sale in our society? Should everything? Because the market can determine the price of bread. That’s what the market does. It’s very successful at that. But should the market be able to decide the impunity with which someone can commit human atrocities, crimes against humanity, should the market be able to determine that?
It wasn’t that long ago that slaves were treated as commodities, robbing them of everything, not least the freedom and dignity of living, autonomous lives. And in the process that corrupted all the economies that depended upon and profited from their labor and sale. And it was over time that the the global morals and values of the world changed such that slavery ultimately became seen for what it was, which was the biggest blight in the history of humanity. And it was abolished. But here we are, less than two centuries later, and the morals and the values of the world are changing, such that with the the commoditization of seemingly everything in the world makes it not only possible but acceptable to commit crimes against humanity and pay for the forgiveness and the vehicle for that forgiveness.
Right now the main vehicle is sport and it’s disgusting to see what’s going on. I applaud Lionel Messi for turning a blind eye to $1.7 billion. Now, mind you, he got lauded for it and he got paid for it, he used it as leverage, but he did say no to them. And Endeavor, the entertainment agency, Endeavor, gave back $400 million to [the Saudis].
People are saying no to them. Not everybody, not enough. But I thought, of all the people in the world that could say no to them — and maybe this is quixotic, but I don’t think it is — it was golfers because, again, golfers answer to nobody. They have the autonomy to tell MBS and his murderous thugs, listen, you want to buy us? You want us complicit in your operation? Then show me real evidence of reform in your country.
Where is that real evidence? Have you abolished the male guardianship law? Do you still put homosexuals in bags and beat them with bats and throw them off buildings for fun? Where’s the freedom of expression in your country? Where’s the the freedom of religion in your country? Where are those things? Show me real evidence of reform. Show me that.
This merger, to most people it looks like, oh, the Tour’s up for sale, the Tour can be sold. And because Saudi money is in everything, clean and dirty, it’s like, blood money’s everywhere. They’re taking a page out of Russia and China’s book that co-opting one business makes it harder for another business to say no.
And next thing you know, it’s everywhere. But someone made this point to me recently, and I thought it made a lot of sense. Okay, so here’s Uber, which let’s say is 10% PIF money. You still use Uber, right? Because it is a great benefit and you’re mildly disgusted with PIF money being in it, but it’s not a 100% stake in Uber. So it’s like, at what point would the investment in golf not make you completely disgusted? In other words, if the entire game were co-opted by PIF and the Saudi wealth fund, if this deal goes through, they have a seat at the board, for crying out loud. At what point would you not be entirely disgusted with it?
And it’s like, well, it’s certainly not 100%. It’s not 80%, it’s not 60%. But if they owned 10% of it, because we can’t keep it out, because if you own a publicly traded company, you can’t control who invests in it. If we can’t keep it out, if they want to buy the success of the West and pretend that they’re surrogate to the success, can we do everything we can to at least try to get them out of the seventh century and have a have a collision with modernity?
We don’t chop journalists up if they say things we don’t like. We don’t essentially enslave women from birth till death and make them dependent upon men. We don’t do that. And I felt like golfers were in a unique place to say no to that. Even — you know, what’s sad about Phil Mickelson is that he admitted it. You’d have to be a complete moron not to know it, but Phil admitted they were bad people, and then in the next breath said that he could use them for leverage. And that’s what made what Phil said and everything that’s transpired since then about Phil so, so incomprehensible and sad.
DD: I guess Phil’s approach, to some extent has been like, Hey, this is the world we’re living in, baby. You’ve got to get on board because it’s coming, whether you like it or not. Where maybe Rory typified the PGA Tour’s approach of wanting to keep autonomy and control as they take a very different approach. But is there an inevitability towards a world that Phil Mickelson envisions? Is there any resisting this Saudi takeover of sports and golf, specifically?
BC: Well, I think if the deal doesn’t go through, it will open the Tour up to clean good monetary investment. And the Saudi wealth fund people love to say they have all the money in the world, a $650 billion investment fund is — it’s laughable to think that that represents all the money in the world.
There’s something like $140 trillion of money floating around the world that you could call somewhat clean and good to be invested in the Tour. And it’s opened up the eyes of a great many people who have good, clean, honest money, who want to invest it in golf. And now that the model is to have some for-profit operation, as part of the PGA Tour, they could come in and perhaps save golf from this alliance.
The sad thing is look, Rory, I would say his opposition to LIV is based upon a conscience and his character. I say the world will tell you what to do, golf will tell you what to do, life will tell you what to do, if you listen. And I just don’t think Phil was listening. He was like, how can I make as much money as I can? How can I get mine? And how can I, as profoundly as I can, denigrate the PGA Tour?
You know, Phil reminds me a lot of Patrick Cantlay. They both think they’re the smartest people of any room they walk into. They’re both smart. I have no doubt that Phil is smart. I have no doubt that Patrick Cantlay is smart. But you’re likely not the smartest person in the room, otherwise you’re likely in the wrong room. And they’ve confused, I think, their talent in one aspect with their talents in other aspects. And they think that they could be the dealmakers here and leverage this.
And it’s that greed that has given golfers a reward mentality that is not anchored in reality. You’re simply not worth what you think you are. You’re not. Your play has already valued you in a certain way. The market determines what you’re worth.
DD: Were golfers underpaid before this?
BC: Lord, no. Underpaid?! If you go look at the top 100 sports earners of all time, three of the top five were golfers. Of the top five! They’re golfers and they’re underpaid? I mean, it’s ludicrous to think so.
To me it’s like, does bread cost too much? The market determines what you’re worth. If the market is telling them based upon your 1.5 rating on TV or your 2.2 rating on TV that you can play for $9 million, corporations are not dumb. They know what they can spend and the value that they get. The people that run these corporations, they’re the smartest people in the room, okay? Not Phil. They’re confusing what people will pay for sportswashing with reality. And they think that that’s what they’re worth. Twenty-five million dollar purses are unsustainable based upon the market. That was obvious a few years ago. It’s more obvious now.
I would have thought if Jay would have walked into that meeting with the players and said, look, we’ve got three options: We can keep fighting these guys and go broke, or we can take them in as partners and we’ll all play for $20-25 million. But in the process, the reputation of the game gets sold, your reputation gets sold.
Or we can go tell them no deal. We’ll probably have to jettison the Korn Ferry Tour. We’ll probably have to jettison the PGA Tour Champions and not play for $25 million. We’ll play for $12 million. We can do that. We can sustain that. That is sustainable. And if we want to do that, I’m your guy. I’m the commissioner. And if you guys want to do that other stuff, I understand it. But I’m not your guy. I resign.
To me, that’s the stuff that they they write movies about. That’s the stuff they write books about. That’s a great leader. Now, I realize, again, that’s probably romantic or quixotic, and it’s hard to know what you would do unless you were in that room. And I know technically they didn’t sell golf to the Saudis. But that was the way it looked. And now it looks like golf is up for sale. And like they’re quick to sacrifice their principles for profit.
I realize it was a tough dilemma that the Tour was in, but they wouldn’t have been in the dilemma if if it wasn’t for Phil. You know, when you look at the the different players that defected to LIV, there was the you-wouldn’t-look-at-him-twice-in-Home Depot Taylor Gooch to the testosterone twin peaks of Brooks Koepka and Dustin Johnson to the flatulently egoed impresario Greg Norman.
But Phil was the only one that could really make a difference. He was the only one. And he was he was not motivated by altruistic thoughts. He was moved and motivated by greed and that tilted the game in that direction. And so when I think about the dilemma that the Tour was in, it wouldn’t have happened if it hadn’t been for Phil.
That’s why I think Phil should be removed from the Hall of Fame. I don’t think he has any business being in the Hall of Fame. He’s caused irreparable damage to the game. And if the Tour’s philanthropic aspect dies, the autopsy should read LIV. It should read Phil.
DD: You and Phil have had some back-and-forth on social media. Has there been any any contact outside of that? Any is there any material possibility of you guys sitting down and having a chat on TV?
BC: Look, I told him [at the U.S. Open] he was welcome to come up on our set any time. He passed it up, saying he was busy that week but, you know, he wasn’t busy from 6 to 8 [p.m.]. He could have popped up there, made his case. And look, if he thought he would have come out on the the winning side of that debate — he was like, I don’t want you guys to make any more money.
First of all, you’re going to be on the set for 10 or 15 minutes. I doubt we’re going to be able to monetize that in any significant way. Phil, again, you overvalue your worth.
But the flip side is if he really thought he could win, then he could have done great benefit to his team and LIV and he would have financially benefited from that, not us, if he’d really thought that he could have won a debate.
But he knows his position is morally indefensible. He knows that. After he said he couldn’t come up, there were some guys I know who offered to just be intermediaries between he and I in a sort of sitdown, not unlike this. And he passed on that.
And I guess he said I can come and do one on Piers Morgan, which happens to coincide with the U.S. Women’s Open. But I legitimately am busy that week. And I’ve listened to Piers Morgan talk about it, I’ve listened to Tucker Carlson talk about it. I think both those guys are smart and I think they’re both great on TV. But I think they’re missing the point of this as well. And that they’re they making the argument that every business is co-opted and that, you know, the United States government does business with with China and Saudi Arabia. And that’s the foundation of their point.
But my point is, well, the United States has geopolitical issues that golfers do not have. We aligned ourself with two of the worst human beings that have ever walked on the planet. We aligned ourselves with Stalin to beat Hitler. We lined ourselves with Mao to sort of keep the Soviet Union from doing their thing after World War 2. And you could argue that that eventually led to the collapse of the Soviet Union. And I think everybody everybody understands why we, from a geopolitical standpoint, have aligned ourselves to some extent with Saudi Arabia.
But individuals don’t have to make those complicated choices. They have the autonomy to say no. And if we’re going to allow the commoditization of just everything in the world, then it’s a race to the bottom. It’s an absolute race to hell. And that’s what’s on the desk here. That’s what’s on the table here. Can you commoditize human atrocity? And golfers were in a pretty good spot to say not on my watch.
DD: On that day that the merger, for lack of a better term, was announced, there were a bunch of people, your old pal Brooks Koepka included, who were saying, Oh, how’s Brandel doing? Welfare check on Chamblee. How were you doing? Did you feel any sense of betrayal or regret, any misgivings about anything you had said, on that day, looking back?
BC: No. I mean, betrayal? Yeah. Shock? Yeah. You know, it was incomprehensible to me. For a while I thought, well, this can’t be real. I had driven my wife, who was traveling with a group of girlfriends, at the airport. I had gotten out of my car, walked her to the plane, gave her a kiss on the cheek, got back in the car, and I had 50 text messages, and I thought, This can’t be real. Somebody is pulling my leg here. I’m being punked.
Then our main producer called me and he said, can you go on the air? And I was still driving home and I was like, okay, let me get home and read about this first.
So when I finally got my arms around it, I thought, okay, why would the Tour do this?
And you start to put yourself in your shoes, like, why would they do this? You’re like, their financial situation had to be so bleak. And then, of course, there had to be legal vulnerability vulnerabilities on both sides that needed to be quelled. And you think, okay, there’s no way they make that deal unless that’s the case, and you don’t know that, but you can pretty much assume it.
And that seems to be the reason behind it. So, you know, at first, yeah, betrayal. The Brooks thing and the Phil thing, one I thought it was childish on their part. But two, I thought it was a bit ignorant. Because it wouldn’t have been hard to look at, if it was actually a merger with the Tour, that means they all lost their jobs that day and their new boss, the person they were going to have to come through was was Jay Monahan.
So they’re all walking around like peacocks, thinking they got promoted when they got fired. But it goes with who they are. If you look at the people that defected, for the most part, to LIV, they were self-absorbed, narcissistic types who wanted to pound their chest and act like they’re being a force for good, all the while knowing that they’re a force for evil, a force for the decay of the game of golf, that they’re really just out for their own narcissistic greed.
We all dove in and did what we do and read about it and you try to get your arms around that deal and talk to everybody that you can that’s close to it to try to form some opinion. And it’s just clear to me that the Tour wouldn’t be in this position if it wasn’t for the defectors, if it wasn’t for Phil, and that’s it.
And then given the circumstances of the intractable legal fees and trying to keep up with the purses and trying to diminish the threat as much as they can, some very smart guys were in that room. I mean, very smart, smarter than Patrick Cantlay, smarter than Phil Mickelson. Very smart guys were in that room.
And I think when you look at Jimmy Dunne, you ever heard that saying when someone shows you who they are, believe him? So I do believe that Jimmy Dunne showed the world who he was after 9/11 when he did not have to. When he honored paying insurance and college tuition for all the kids of all the people that died on that tragic day. I mean, how many people in business do the right thing? More than people think. But that’s an example of somebody showing you who they are. And so when I talked to Jimmy on the phone, I have no doubt that that Jimmy is trying to do the best thing he could do for the game of golf and that it was an untenable situation.
And I wish that the PGA Tour wasn’t in that situation. But I think that the derision being directed at Jay and Ed and Jimmy, I think it should be more directed at the people who denigrated the PGA Tour as they were defecting to LIV. That’s what really sent golf down this path.
We always say that golf’s been lucky that it’s had great superstars who’ve been caretakers of the game. And that was true of Bobby Jones. It was true of Jack Nicklaus. It was true of Arnold Palmer. They were all, Jack and Arnold, for sure, Tom Watson; they were all given the opportunity to defect and start their own tours. They were all presented with those ideas in their era, but they turned them down because it wasn’t great for golf and it was selfish for them.
Greg Norman came along and that’s all he’s been trying to do his entire career. Let me get mine. Let me get paid. I’m worth more than the market says I am. And that’s what set golf down this path. So when I look at how unlucky golf has been, in my view, the lack of character of Phil and Norman as preeminent figures in the game of golf, it’s set golf down this path and it’s put the heads of governing bodies in a pretty tough spot.
But having said that, again, I still think there’s an opportunity for better economic choices that I think are available now to the Tour. So if the deal doesn’t go through, good, clean money can come in and combat the problem of the Saudi wealth fund, trying to buy all of sport, but in particular golf.
DD: How has the last year been for you personally? I mean, you’ve sort of made it sound like you can brush this stuff off, the controversy and the criticism. But a job that used to involve golf controversies about rules scandals and hoodies and whatever else has gone geopolitical. It’s much more personal. It’s much more like politics and the rest of the world. How has that affected your life and and the way your life intersects with your job and your enjoyment of that job?
BC: Yeah, I’d look forward to getting back to just talking about golf and golf swings. I mean, I, I love looking at golf swings and trying to connect dots. I love that. I look forward to it as much as I used to look forward to getting up and hitting golf balls.
And I would rather not spend all day long looking at videos of debates about Saudi Arabia. I would rather not be buying books about global political issues and geography and spending almost half my days trying to figure out how to navigate the politics of what’s going on in the world of golf. I’d much rather not be doing that. It’s time-consuming. But what else are you going to do? Because that’s where golf’s at. And it’s my job to talk about not just golf swings, but golf. And so that’s the nature of the job now. That’s what it requires.
What’s it been like? I wouldn’t say it’s any more or less stressful than my job otherwise was. Maybe slightly less enjoyable. But there was always — I call it stress, it’s not stress — a sense of urgency to try to get your arms around what’s going on in golf and to say it in a different way than you said it yesterday. That’s the toughest thing about your job, probably, is to write about the same thing you wrote about last week and say it a different way this week and then the next week.
And that’s the same thing with my job is I like going to talk about Jon Rahm this week. What can I say different about Jon Rahm at the Open Championship that I didn’t say at the U.S. Open? Well, luckily, his game changes. Things change in the game. The course changes. And so you can always try to do that. It takes a lot of time. And that’s fun for me. It’s really fun for me. I really enjoy it.
But the political stuff and the attacks, it just comes with the job. And in the social-media world that we live in, it’s inevitable. I mean, if Mother Teresa were alive today, she’d be getting vilified on social media. You take the most honorable human being you’ve ever known, if they’re on social media, they’re getting vilified. If they’re doing anything, they’re getting vilified. And again, what most people don’t realize is you don’t even know who is on social media. You don’t know those people. You don’t know what their motivation is, even if they’re real people or who they are. Unless it’s somebody I know on social media, I pay scant regard to it.
If it’s somebody I know, if it’s you or it’s Riggs from Barstool or the No Laying Up guys or Justin Ray or somebody I work with and they’re criticizing something I say, I look at okay, is this justifiable criticism?
DD: What about when it’s Phil Mickelson?
BC: Well, look. I always consider the bias of where a criticism is coming from. So I’m not saying that they can’t be valid criticisms. I’m like, I try to read behind the bias of it and try to see, is it well-founded? Is it well-intended? Was I wrong? And yeah, if you’re wrong, you’re like, actually, they’re right. They got it right. I’ll change my opinion. They’ve presented evidence that contradicts mine. I’ll absolutely change my opinion.
Look, Phil is in an indefensible position morally. There’s nothing Phil could say to me about LIV that would have any merit. What he’s doing is morally indefensible and he knows it. And people that are close to him know it. And he knows that. So what Phil is doing is trying to sell a lie and nobody sounds more insincere or stupid when they’re trying to sell a lie.
And that’s what he’s trying to do. And that’s what MBS is trying to do. And that’s what LIV’s trying to do. They’re trying to sell a lie. And I’m not buying it.
DD: My last thing for you, before we get you off to lunch and our camera guys start falling asleep, is this. You’re one of the most curious people in golf, from my perspective. That’s why you are good at what you do — it’s this curiosity. And I’m sure that LIV and the Saudi-PGA Tour dilemma occupies a lot of your brain space right now. But what else are you thinking about? What else are the puzzles that you’re trying to solve? What rabbit holes are you going down?
BC: Well, there’s a lot of things. For the first time ever, I’ve seen people get over the chipping yips in golf, and I think that’s really cool.
DD: Who’s gotten over it?
BC: Tiger Woods, first of all, got over it. I mean, that’s I think that’s amazing what he’s done. Viktor Hovland, to some extent has gotten over it. I wouldn’t call what he has now the yips — before I would call it the yips. So he’s gone from the yips to now being, let’s just say, a little worse than average. I think that’s pretty cool. That’s the area we’re in right now in instruction. It can be far more accurate.
And then there’s the recipe for power. It used to be that if you went try to chase power, people lost their game. Now they know how to chase it. They know how to find it. It’s not that the equipment is improved over the last 20 years, because the line in the sand was drawn 2003. It’s just the people now know how to get longer.
And then I would love to — I’ve tried to build this course myself in South Texas and that deal went through, but I’m still trying to build it. Well, it doesn’t matter whether I build it or not, but I think it would be great for the LPGA and the women’s game if there were the equivalent of the TPC LPGA, because golf courses are never designed with women in mind. They’re designed for the best male players if they’re designed for professional golf. And that means all of the fairway widths and bunker depths and green angles are designed for the best players and their trajectories and angles of descent.
And you see this in places like when the Augusta National Women’s Amateur is played at Augusta, and women drive it in that left bunker [on 18], that bunker was designed for the most powerful men on the planet, the best golfers, to hit an 8-iron out of there, 7-iron, and get it up over that lip and on the green.
So it becomes a bunker that’s built for a different golfer. It shouldn’t be near that deep. If it’s designed for the best women players, because there’s a roughly a 20 mile-an-hour difference in clubhead speed. So that bunker shouldn’t be as deep so that they could get a 5-iron out of it and on the green.
So imagine if there was such a thing as a TPC LPGA designed with the bunkers in the right places with the greens designed in the right way, and to put women on the best possible stage to bring the best, most exciting golf out of them and call it the TPC LPGA Championship, the same thing that the Players is, for women.
It doesn’t make any difference if I do it, I just think it needs to be redone. I’d like to see it and it’s not out there. The reason I wrote the book I wrote on golf swings was because I wanted to read it and it wasn’t out there. It should be should be there. And I feel like that would be a great thing for women’s golf.
You know, there are a lot of things. I have a putting book that I’ve written — almost completed. I’m massaging it, but I need to get that in for publication.
Again, I love writing that book because I want to read it and it doesn’t really exist. I say it doesn’t really exist because there is one book out there that was written, but it was written about 50, 60 years ago and it’s no longer in print. Most people write books about what they did when they putted well, and those are great and they’re interesting and they’re informative. But to me it’s like, well, what did the best do and what do they have in common? And I think that’s a better place to to start it.
And then, you know, I always say that when we go on the air, everything that can possibly be said about the golf has already been said. So the hard part is trying to think: what can I say that hasn’t been said? And that’s the part that’s fun.
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