Brandel Chamblee has delivered a blistering attack on Phil Mickelson in the wake of comments made by the six-time major champion about the PGA Tour.
Speaking to Golf Digest in Saudi Arabia earlier this week, Mickelson accused the organisation of “obnoxious greed”, particularly over the redistribution of wealth – or lack thereof – generated by its member players.
That, he insists, has “really opened the door for opportunities elsewhere”, including Greg Norman’s Saudi-funded expansion of the Asian Tour and rumoured Super League.
Mickelson’s comments have, predictably, invited intense social media scrutiny. Even Brooks Koepka has weighed in, saying: “[Don’t know] if I’d be using the word greedy if I’m Phil.”
In an op-ed on the Golf Channel website, former tour pro Brandel Chamblee has delivered an excoriating rebuttal of Mickelson’s comments, branding him “a highly paid ventriloquist puppet involved in a sportswashing operation for a murderous regime guilty of human rights atrocities.”
Accusing Mickelson of “subterfuge” and “inaccuracy and ignorance”, Chamblee took the 51-year-old to task over claims he made about his own “media rights”.
“When it comes to competing in professional events, Mickelson doesn’t and never has owned his media rights, so there is nothing to ‘hand back’,” said Chamblee.
“No sports league – not the NFL, MLB, NBA, the PGA Tour, nor any other league – would allow their athletes to own media rights. The profits derived from aggregating those rights fees provides infrastructure, pays league employees and helps pay the salaries of the athletes themselves (in this case, the ever-increasing purses and bonus pools available to Tour members, including Mickelson), to say nothing of protecting the investments of the networks.”
Chamblee added: “Could you imagine being a network that had paid hundreds of millions – or billions – of dollars for broadcast rights, only to have to compete with a Tom Brady, Mike Trout, LeBron James or a Tiger Woods Channel, where they ran their highlights on a loop?
“The networks would cease paying the exorbitant broadcast rights fees if such content was omnipresent. Which means the leagues themselves, in their current form, would cease to exist.”