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Are media members unqualified to call out athletes?

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Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee used his television platform on Sunday to call out Ian Poulter on not playing to win The Players Championship — a bold claim, for sure. But Poulter’s response implying Chamblee isn’t even qualified to make that claim is even more bold, in my opinion.

In case you missed what happened: With 238 yards to the pin on the par-5 hole No. 16 at TPC Sawgrass’ Stadium Course, with his ball sitting up in the rough, Poulter decided to lay up and then proceeded to play his approach to the center of the green away from the flagstick. He also played away from the pin on No. 17 — the island green — hitting it to the meat of the green. On paper, it does indeed sound as though Poulter wasn’t doing everything he could to win the tournament, but the wind was up, his lie on No. 16 brought the water over the green into play, and going at the far right flagstick on No. 17 is reckless; that’s not to defend him, those are just facts. With his T2 finish, it should also be noted that Poulter will now keep his Tour card, which was recently in serious jeopardy.

After being called out by Chamblee, Poulter said this in response on Twitter.

Classic response from an athlete to a media member. “If you weren’t out there competing, you aren’t qualified to talk about it.” So Poulter’s argument is basically that Chamblee would be more qualified to analyze The Players Championship if he had won The Players Championship.

This line of thinking will just never make sense to me.

Brandel Chamblee isn’t your uncle who can’t break 80 but claims he could stick it on 17 on Sunday. He’s not some armchair quarterback throwing beers back on Sunday while flipping between The Players Championship and the Yankee game. Chamblee is a professional golf analyst and also played golf at an extremely high level. Who would Poulter say is more qualified to analyze the golf tournament? Would Si Woo Kim be more qualified to say Poulter wasn’t playing to win? Or perhaps Poulter’s caddie would be the best candidate since he wasn’t “on his arse” and was actually there, although that would raise some questions of neutrality.

Also, does that mean Poulter believes coaches who haven’t played at a high level professionally are not as qualified to coach as others who have? Would Ian Poulter himself make a better swing coach than Sean Foley because Foley hasn’t “been there” down the stretch in a professional tournament? What about Tour caddies; Does Poulter fire back at his caddie about not being “good” enough to suggest a certain club or shot?

Point is, just because Poulter can beat Chamblee in match play doesn’t mean he’s unqualified to analyze Poulter’s game. At the end of the day, Poulter’s job is to win golf tournaments, and Chamblee’s job is to talk about golfers who are trying to win golf tournaments.

I’ve never worked as a chef in my life, but I know when the meal is too salty. I also know that laying up on 16 with 238 to the green means you weren’t doing everything possible to win the event — and I didn’t have to play in The Players Championship to know that.

What do you think?

What do you think of the Chamblee-Poulter beef?

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He played on the Hawaii Pacific University Men's Golf team and earned a Masters degree in Communications. He also played college golf at Rutgers University, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism.

31 Comments

31 Comments

  1. Noe Chaparro

    Jun 14, 2017 at 9:24 am

    Chamblee constantly crosses the line with his comments. Watch tape on how David Duval and Chamblee have words on live TV. You can see Duval is upset and Chamblee wont stop talk. Ilove that Duval didnt step down and showed the “professional announcer” jow unprofessional his comments were when he was trying to have the last word.

  2. Warwick Weedon

    May 30, 2017 at 4:55 am

    You are reading too much into it. Poulter is not saying Chamblee is not qualified, he is saying Chamblee is an idiot.

  3. Dave R

    May 26, 2017 at 9:06 pm

    Chamblee is a mutt and not even a bright mutt.

  4. Patricknorm

    May 26, 2017 at 6:34 am

    Pro sports is all about winning. In Poulter’s situation playing down the last few holes , its apparent that Ian was playing not to fail. He was two shots behind the leader at 16 and an errant second shot either wide left or right would have meant a bogey or worse.
    So, if Poulter is guilty of playing ” not to lose” then to me it’s understandable. Why take a chance when your confidence isn’t 100% or, playing smart and safe will guarantee a high finish?
    There is a saying in pro sports that says ” steady wins”. Only Ian Poulter knows his current capability and calculated consequences. I’m sure Poulter slept well that Sunday evening.

  5. ND Hickman

    May 21, 2017 at 6:19 pm

    Okay, I get that Chamblee is contributing for this website now and you feel obliged to stick up for him but try and be fair. This is a man who has previous with golf coaches online for not listening to what they have to say for exactly the reasons this article is defending the man. Speak to Mark Crossfield about this experiences with Chamblee and you’d be able to repost this article with Chamblee in place of Poulters name. While we’re on the subject it’s very convenient that you omitted that fact that Chamblee responded to this critique by blocking Poulter on twitter. Very mature way to engage people in a debate.

  6. T

    May 19, 2017 at 12:50 pm

    This article is off base. Poulter isn’t calling him out because Chamblee “isn’t/wasn’t as good” he’s calling him out because it was bull for Chamblee to call him out for making an intelligent and strategic decision regarding his round and life.

    So what if he played for a top 5 finish? It takes some real awareness in the moment to play smart. Now that his card is secure if anyone wants to call him out at any other event this year for playing safe with a chance to win, go for it, I will agree 100%.

  7. Johnnythunders

    May 17, 2017 at 5:13 pm

    Poulter was playing for his card, cough cough “Ferrari”, his clothing company went under he was in deep trouble until brian gats wife bailed him out.

    Brandel was 100 percent right.

    Dont like him but he was spot on.

    Dont like ian evenmore, crappy club pro but a great
    putter. And he was a white Ferrarri. Ugh!

    • stephenf

      Jun 2, 2017 at 4:26 pm

      “Crappy club pro” is where you totally lost credibility. He’s one of the best couple hundred in the world at what he does. What are you ranked that high at?

  8. Sandy Bunker

    May 17, 2017 at 4:57 pm

    Typical armchair commentary from Chamblee, who left his family to marry a young girl half his age. Not much has been said about that !He should join the Champions Tour and show everyone how great he is ! Poults needs to finish tournaments to earn $$$$, Chamblee can only talk about it….big difference.

    • Sandy Bunker

      May 17, 2017 at 5:03 pm

      Chamblee didn’t try very hard to win his wife back……..Poults did what he needed to do to win his Tour Card.

      • setter02

        May 22, 2017 at 7:22 am

        Poults hasn’t been doing what he’s needed to keep his card for a prolonged period of time. Too much time looking in mirrors and trying to pick out patterns for his next Ferrari to put the time in to maintain his play.

    • stephenf

      Jun 2, 2017 at 4:28 pm

      Frank Deford wasn’t an NBA player, either. Neither were Chick Hearn and Johnny Most. Jim Murray wasn’t a tour player or an MLB player. So?

  9. Jeff

    May 17, 2017 at 8:01 am

    Poulter was trying to not put himself out of contention by hitting a water ball on 16 and 17, all he’s saying is its very easy to criticise from the comfort of a chair in a TV studio, not in the thick of a sunday playing for a win. You’re a deadset nuffy for thinking shamblee was right you goose

  10. Darryl

    May 17, 2017 at 3:00 am

    You are wrong, Andrew, Poulter can do whatever he likes, he’s not there to add drama to the tournament, he’s there to secure his card after a bad scare and lucky escape this season thus far. Im sure he would have liked Si Woo Kim to have imploded and left him a stroke clear needing 3 pars to finish to win and give him the trophy, the big cheque and the big exemption, but in that moment he saw that the guy was too solid on the day and wasn’t going to throw it away, so Poulter posted the best number he could whilst not taking any unneccesary risks. If Si Woo im came back to him, then fine, but he’s there to make sure his kids’ Dad still has a job at seasons end, 2nd place in the tournament goes further towards that that 10th after a do or die lash at a 238 yard shot out of the rough, which in all fairness, Poulter hasn’t got the guns for.

  11. Michael

    May 16, 2017 at 2:34 pm

    Andrew, the fact that you wrote this article the way you did makes me believe you don’t understand competitive golf. Poulter has played well his entire career by being a great putter. Therefore he models his game to accentuate that, he tries to give himself as many opportunities at making putts as possible. Hes only averaging 268 off the tee this year, a 238 yard shot out of rough is a VERY hard shot for even someone on the PGA tour. Chamblee’s career couldn’t hold a candle to Poulter’s, although I think its childish of him to respond, its his job to ruffle the players feathers.

  12. Rhythmic Disciple

    May 16, 2017 at 8:30 am

    If you watch the coverage more closely, I think the 3rd on 16 after the lay up was a couple of yards from taking the down slope, which means he played the correct shot, but was a fraction out.

    On 17 he was very animated talking to his caddie on the walk to the green about the shot. I believe both shots at 16 and 17 were very slight pulls while attempting the same shot, i.e. left of the flag with cut spin to catch the down slope to the hole. Just didn’t quite execute them.

    Nobody has mentioned his 3rd shot after his shank on 18, that was brave. I think he was trying to post a score that he had in his mind. The winner didn’t slip up…

    • TCJ

      May 16, 2017 at 10:56 am

      That was his 4th shot, wasn’t it? I think he had to take a drop. The fact he made a bogey is unbelievably impressive!

      • Rhythmic Disciple

        May 20, 2017 at 11:37 am

        Yeah, 4th shot, sorry !!! Either way, he took it on…

  13. TJ Barker

    May 15, 2017 at 9:34 pm

    He said nothing about he wasn’t qualified or that he shouldn’t say what he(Brandel) said, he simply said it’s easier when sitting on your arse. Which obviously it is. I think it’s a stretch to assume words or meanings. I’ve played that hole many many times and his chances of holding 16 from the rough was probably less than 20%. Judging him based on results isn’t fair. It was the correct strategy IMO. To say he wasn’t playing to win is just unfair. If Kim hits in water on 17 or 18 and Poilter pars 18 different ballgame.

  14. Tazz2293

    May 15, 2017 at 9:33 pm

    Chamblee is nothing more than a journeyman golfer.

    Chamblee never won a tournament of note on any tour, never lead a Ryder Cup team to victory.

    If it wasn’t for the TGC no one would remember Chamblee’s name.

    Chamblee is a nobody who should remain a nobody.

  15. Reg

    May 15, 2017 at 8:35 pm

    You need another option on your poll: “I don’t give two craps what Ian OR Brandel have to say. About anything. Ever.”

    • Pete Petersson

      May 16, 2017 at 1:36 am

      That option is called not clicking on the article in the first place.

  16. TCJ

    May 15, 2017 at 4:05 pm

    “So Poulter’s argument is basically that Chamblee would be more qualified to analyze The Players Championship if he had won The Players Championship.”

    I don’t think that was his intended message at all, merely your biased take on his tweet. He was simply pointing out how easy it is to be an armchair quarterback/coach/GM, or in this case, armchair pga pro. Sure, Chamblee made the tour, but it’s not like he was any good!

    For a player who was on the brink of losing his card, and on his way back from a rather long hiatus, I’d say Poulter played pretty lights out in such a clutch situation.

    Chamblee is pretty much like most ex-pros turned analysts; a mediocre player in practice, but a complete know it all once he’s out of the game. I’ll give Miller a pass, as he was like, you know, a good golfer. But damn, he is the Captain Obvious of sports announcers. I find hockey is the worst for this ‘failed player/reborn analyst’, as every sieve goalie in the league turns analyst or announcer.

    • Cmoregolf

      May 16, 2017 at 7:35 am

      Exactly, and I think Poulter is right. The last 3 holes are some of the hardest in the world, even for top pros. attempting a 240y shot with a hybrid/5 wood, even on a perfect lie would be quite difficult. Out of an unpredictable flyer lie even more so. As a player in his situation he took in consideration his ability as well as the odds of success, and he did what was best for him. Same for 17, one of the hardest wedge shots in the world, Par could actually be gained strokes on the field.
      As a professional doing his job, he secured his playing rights (and income source) for the rest of the year and a fat paycheck. I think he did OK.
      If he went for everything and ended double-bogey-bogey and finished out of the top 10 Chamblee would criticize him for being an idiot, so there.

      The notion of having to go after every pin is also absurd, and Chamblee should know better being a winning professional himself.

  17. Bobbyeggroll

    May 15, 2017 at 3:44 pm

    If he makes birdie on 16 by stiffing a wedge then pars 17 and 18 he looks the veteran player posting a score and letting the rookie choke as Johnny Miller likes to put it. If he catches a mini flyer from the rough on 16 and gives the ball a rinse the talking heads will say he didn’t use his veteran savvy to post a score and chokes away any chance of winning but would Chamblee have said ” Good try Poulty but what were you thinking?” If he makes birdie on 16 then goes pin hunting on 17 and rinses the ball what would they say then? Too risky? What was he thinking? Poults has to balance the right play for the moment and the real possibility the kid is going to puke a bit while protecting his payday and card. Something the kid didn’t do and Poults did. In the end I’m sure he played a bit conservative on 16 because he HAD to and on 17 because he was playing the percentage. Par if it goes middle of green and maybe a birdie if it fades a hair. I think Chamblee is over the line calling him out and the kid came through when it counted.

  18. golfbum

    May 15, 2017 at 3:07 pm

    Here is how I see it:

    Chamblee can say whatever he wants…if you listened to Noblio, he would not go there ” I want to ask him, etc” is what he said. Oh, watch again, and look at DUVAL’s eye rolls! Like NOBILO he would not go there either!

    POULTER is playing golf for a living: WHO THE HELL IS ANYONE TO TELL A MAN HOW TO MAKE A LIVING!? 2nd place is a lot of $$$$$ and he got out THE PLAYERS exactly what HE wanted. And if he wanted rankings, points and $$$ and personal growth, then “good for IAN POULTER”

    Best line of any movie on sports was the movie *61…..” we all cannot write about the same things”.
    Well, Chamblee is going to say things that either make or do not make sense.

  19. Golfer4

    May 15, 2017 at 3:03 pm

    I do not agree with Chamblee on criticizing Poulter’s strategy on the final holes yesterday. But I do not agree with Poulter firing back at Chamblee either, as he was an ex-PGA player. In watching holes 16-18 there are a lot of variables that can happen….we saw Kyle Stanley birdie #17 4 days in a row, but then we see JB Holmes take a 9 yesterday….no one will know what Poulter had in mind strategy-wise however I know Poulter
    1) isn’t one of the longest hitters so there is no need to go for it if you may have to stretch for it, not to mention taking probably the longest iron in his bag and trying to stop it on a firm, water-surrounded #16 green.
    2) I believe was giving himself the best opportunity to score based on his game and the holes the leaders were up against.
    3) He has not been in that situation in a long time (as he later said himself), look at what happened at #18 on his 2nd shot…….

    All in all maybe this does fall more on Chamblee in stating what he did in the first place, some things maybe are better left un-said.

  20. Plee

    May 15, 2017 at 2:40 pm

    I knew you had a thing for dirty limericks…

  21. Richard Fox

    May 15, 2017 at 2:30 pm

    EVERY ANNOUNCER DONT CARE WHO YOU ARE YOU ALL NEED TO SHUT UP WHEN YOU HAVE AN OPNION AND JUST REPORT ON THE GAME OF GOLF !!!!! I THINK THE ANNOUNCERS THAT CALL OUT ATHLETES AND PUBLICLY BASH THEM NEED TO BE FIRED !!!! AND REPLACED WITH SOMEONE THAT DONT HAVE ANY PERSONAL AGENDA

  22. Detlev

    May 15, 2017 at 2:12 pm

    I agree the argument that Chamblee would be more qualified to analyze The Players Championship if he had won The Players Championship doesn’t make sense.

    However having watched the final day of The Players on TV here in Germany I am also sure, that Chamblee’s judgement is wrong. Making the lay up on the 16 and making the safe tee shot on the 17, knowing that the leader is playing behind and has to face the same course conditions after Ian, made it a clever decision to choose the safe way. What if S.W. Kim had watered his ball on the 17 or had made a mistake on the 16?

    I believe that Ian did anything to win the tournament – but in his own way.

  23. Jokke

    May 15, 2017 at 1:50 pm

    If “Chamblee’s job is to talk about golfers who are trying to win golf tournaments” then why did he talk about Poulter?

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