Is sports commentary — often bombastic and entertaining — to be held to a similar standard to analysis reserved for politics and hard news?
It appears we might find out, right here in Texas.
It might seem like a frivolous suit, but an attorney working on behalf of Houston resident Patrick Reed filed a lawsuit seeking damages from Brandel Chamblee and Golf Channel for defamation, court documents that came out Tuesday show.
According to the documents — which were released via a reporter for Courthouse News Service — Reed claims Chamblee has a history of calling him a cheater and has criticized Reed and other golfers for leaving the PGA Tour for the Greg Norman-led, Saudi-backed LIV Golf Series.
The court documents allege Chamblee, a three-time All-American at the University of Texas who now works as an analyst with Golf Channel, “have conspired as joint tortfeasors for and with the PGA Tour, it’s (sic) executives and it’s Commissioner Jay Monahan, to engage in a pattern and practice of defaming Mr. Reed, misreporting information with falsity and/or reckless disregard for the truth … 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 … ”
The document, which was filed Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas Houston Division, also states Chamblee and Golf Channel have set out to destroy LIV along with its golf professionals.
The suit is seeking in excess of $750 million in damages. In civil cases, plaintiffs have to prove whether a defendant is liable, not whether a defendant is guilty. According to the document, the suit was filed by Larry Klayman. The Florida-based attorney has been on the losing end of a number of defamation lawsuits, including one in which Arizona politician “Sheriff Joe” Arpaio sued several national media outlets, alleging they defamed him and affected his attempt to win a U.S. Senate seat.
Meanwhile, last week a judge ruled against three LIV golfers from participating in the FedEx Cup playoffs in the first of what’s to be many legal battles in the antitrust battle between the PGA Tour and LIV Golf.
Reed has played in two LIV Golf events thus far, recording finishes of third in Pumpkin Ridge in Portland and fifth at Trump Bedminster in New Jersey. His team, 4 Aces, captained by Dustin Johnson, has won both events. Reed finished T-47 at the Open Championship at St. Andrews.
LIV Golf’s next tournament is Sept. 2-4 in Boston.
LPGA Texas event gets new sponsor
The LPGA’s fall Texas stop is getting a new name as Ascendant National Title steps in to co-sponsor the event with Volunteers of America in a new multiyear partnership, organizers announced. The event will now be called The Ascendant LPGA benefiting Volunteers of America and will be held Sept. 29-Oct. 2 at Old American Golf Club in The Colony, just outside Dallas.
The field of 132 will also play for an increased purse of $200,000 to $1.7 million total.
Seven of the top-10 players in the world are early entries into the tournament, including Jin Young Ko (1), Nelly Korda (3), Lydia Ko (4), Brooke Henderson (5), Atthaya Thitikul (6), Nasa Hataoka (9) and In Gee Chun (10).
Texans Angela Stanford (2020) and Cheyenne Knight (2019) are both past champions of the event. South Korea’s Ko is one of several international players who now call Texas home.
“We are incredibly honored and excited to join the LPGA Tour family as co-title sponsor for the Ascendant LPGA benefiting Volunteers of America,” Ascendant National Title President and CEO, Len Franco said in a release. “None of this would have been possible without our parent company and partner, Cypress Ascendant, and their generous support and vision for this partnership. We look forward to expanding our presence in professional golf by supporting and empowering female athletes through our partnership. We are thrilled to be hosting this world class championship in The Colony this fall.”
Ascendant National Title is a national title and escrow company and is the official Title Insurer of the PGA Tour.
Amateurs Bailey Shoemaker, Michelle Zhang and Avery Zweig will be competing on sponsor exemptions at the event. Shoemaker, a rising high school senior who is committed to USC, won the Kathy Whitworth Invitational in back-to-back years.
Zhang, a freshman at SMU, won the 2022 Volunteers of America Classic Girls Championship in July while Zweig, a high school sophomore from McKinney, won the event last year and took a share of second in 2022.
This isn’t the lone LPGA event in the state any longer. The first Chevron Championship — the successor to the ANA Inspiration, formerly known as the Dinah Shore Classic — will debut in April of 2023 after making a move from Palm Springs, California.
UT’s Travis Vick falls in U.S. Amateur but still had a great year
Travis Vick’s appearance at the U.S. Amateur didn’t turn out as planned. The University of Texas star lost his opening match to Aussie Connor McKinney 3 and 1 in the Round of 64 on Wednesday. Vick started the week in solid fashion, posting a 69 in the stroke play event, but then limped home with a 76 to finish T-39. Still, a year that included an NCAA title and a U.S. Open appearance hasn’t been lost on the Longhorn.
“It's been incredible. Being able to win a National Championship for the University of Texas and just with everything our team went through, we were preseason No. 1, we had a lot of hype around us, we faced a ton of adversity, and being able to get that monkey off the back and hoist a National Championship trophy, it's something we'll remember for the rest of our lives,” Vick said. “And then U.S. Open was just a bonus. Going over there and playing well and experiencing everything that entails with a U.S. Open and the way the USGA ran that event, it was pretty cool.
“You know, I thought I was playing in front of a lot of people, and then I showed up on 18 trying to get that low am medal, and that was like quadruple whatever number of people I was playing in front of. Yeah, it felt like a movie. It felt like you were there watching a movie. I was able to have a perfect line on Will Zalatoris' putt that he barely missed. Yeah, that whole experience was awesome.”
Birdies and bogeys
• The 47th Texas Four-Ball will be held this weekend in Kerrville at Comanche Trace. This is the second of this year’s four men’s major amateur championships conducted by the Texas Golf Association. The original 18 holes, the Hills and Valley Courses, opened in 1999 and were designed by a trip that included World Golf Hall of Fame member Tom Kite. The 2021 event was held on the Apple Rock Course at Horseshoe Bay Resort
• It’s been a long time coming, but Golfinity, an indoor performance golf club near the Lakeline Mall, is finally open for business. The brainchild of local teaching pro Aaron Bergman, the facility was scheduled to open in 2020 on RM 620, but multiple delays, some brought on by COVID-19, pushed the debut into this August. Golfinity offers 20 state-of-the-art simulation suites (including Trackman, Foresight and Uneekor) for instructor-guided lessons, self-practice, or leisure play, as well as an indoor putting green and Full Swing’s customizable virtual green.
Tim Schmitt is the managing editor for Golfweek, golf coordinator for the USA Today Network and lives in Round Rock. Golfweek’s Beth Ann Nichols and Cameron Jourdan also contributed to this report.
This article originally appeared on Austin American-Statesman: PGA golfer Patrick Reed files lawsuit against Brandel Chamblee