MediaAugust 12, 2015

Brandel Chamblee addresses his "Tiger Hater" label, and why he and Woods have more in common than you think

If you watch the PGA Championship this week, you'll probably also catch some of Golf Channel before and after CBS' coverage each day. And if you do that, you'll definitely hear Brandel Chamblee talking about Tiger Woods.

At that point, there's a good chance you'll think of Chamblee as that guy who hates Tiger. And you'd be wrong -- at least, according to Chamblee.

Related: Behind the camera with NBC/Golf Channel

"I don't hate Tiger at all. I love Tiger. I think what he's doing is amazing," says Chamblee, who seems to perpetually be in analyst mode -- in large part due to the long hours he logs at the game's biggest events, including this week's PGA Championship at Whistling Straits. "Taking four different golf swings to No. 1 in the world? Who would have thought of that? But why would you do that? It's perplexing to me. His singular pursuit of perfection trumps winning. He'd rather have a perfect golf swing than win. Why else would you do what he's done? That's my opinion."

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Giving his opinions on TV is what Chamblee has done for a living since his last full season on the PGA Tour in 2003. And he has to do it often.

"I do three or four Tiger breakdowns a day. I do 180 or so shows a year, you do that math," Chamblee says. "I'm probably about to do my 5,000th Tiger Woods breakdown. I can't just say he's the greatest player of all time or perhaps the greatest player of all time."

And then there were the comments he wrote about Woods in a column two years ago, when he insinuated Tiger cheated and gave him an 'F' grade for the year despite Woods' five victories. When the Woods camp fired back, Chamblee gave a public apology and resigned from Golf Magazine.

Chamblee has remained one of Golf Channel's stars and for good reason. He's smart, has a polished delivery and well prepared with knowledge and stats that back up whatever he says on whatever topic he discusses. Chamblee is not a one-trick pony, and in particular, his knowledge of the golf swing -- not just Tiger's swing -- has set him apart from other TV analysts.

"I enjoy studying and talking about the golf swing," says Chamblee, who has his own instruction book focusing on the commonalities of the game's all-time greatest players coming out in early 2016. "It was probably to my detriment as a player. But as an analyst, it's what people want to hear, and it's what I like to do."

Chamblee preparing for an episode of "Live From."

Still, Chamblee acknowledges many people know him mainly for his perceived dislike of the game's biggest star.

"Is it frustrating? To some extent it is, but it comes with the territory," Chamblee says. "I've been privileged to watch Tiger. I've been privileged to play with him . . . Because I sit in a chair where someone asks me about him every two minutes and I've had to give my opinion -- If I put together all of the video I've ever had of me talking about Tiger Woods, 85 percent of it would be me lauding him. If you and I sat here for an hour and I tell you that you're a great writer and I say I enjoy you're company, but in the last two minutes I say I don't like you're haircut, that's all you'll remember. You'll say, 'that asshole didn't like my haircut!' I get it. That's human nature. People remember the criticisms."

Related: Golf Digest's "My Shot" with Brandel Chamblee

And it turns out Woods and Chamblee are linked by more than Tiger's ever-changing swing that Brandel is constantly being asked about. When recalling his own career, Chamblee says he became one of the top amateurs in the country at the University of Texas without ever taking a lesson before being surrounded by a stable of great teachers like Phil Rodgers, Mike Adams, Chuck Cook and Dave Pelz. Chamblee says he "got worse immediately" when he started taking lessons from everyone around him and reading every book he could find and that he was never as good on tour as he was in college.

"I modeled my swing to an ideal and I didn't just play golf intuitively," he says.

Sound familiar? Maybe Tiger's pursuit shouldn't be so puzzling to his most vocal critic after all.

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