Brandel Chamblee rips Phil Mickelson claim, worries about star joining LIV

Brandel Chamblee, Paul McGinley

Brandel Chamblee, left, and Paul McGinley at an event in August.

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Brandel Chamblee is disputing a Phil Mickelson claim that more PGA Tour players will join Mickelson’s LIV Golf, saying that’s what he “hopes” will happen.  

As part of a series of posts on the site formerly known as Twitter this week, the longtime Golf Channel analyst believed pros would join LIV, though — and that world No. 3 Jon Rahm “worries me a bit.”

The thoughts were the latest in the back-and-forth between Chamblee and Mickelson, the six-time major winner who has been the face of Saudi-backed LIV for the past year and a half. The feud was reignited as Mickelson plays LIV’s season-ending event, where he was asked by a reporter if he thought that more Tour players would jump to LIV. 

In response, Mickelson jumped on a word.

“Do I think that?” Mickelson said. “No. I know that’s going to happen.

“When players look at LIV, they are wanting to be a part of it. Everybody here is happy and enjoying what we are doing and enjoying the team aspect of it and enjoying each other and the camaraderie and enjoying playing golf globally and all the benefits that come with playing this tour.

“So there’s a lot of players that see that and want to be a part of it. The question is, you know, how many spots are available. There’s a lot more players that want to come than there are spots.”

Notably, the idea of Tour players joining LIV is a subplot in the larger story of the proposed agreement that would bring together the Tour and the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund, which backs LIV. It still remains unclear whether that deal will pass — and if it did, whether LIV would continue to exist. 

Mickelson’s comments this week were shared by the Twitter account on Wednesday night — and about two hours later, Chamblee responded. 

“He says other stars will join,” he wrote, “but what he means is, he HOPES other stars will, just like all those do who find themselves catastrophically on the wrong side of an issue, hoping that others will come along and help them ameliorate the embarrassment of their actions.”

Over the next hour, Chamblee responded to two comments on the subject. 

One came from longtime pro Jimmy Hanlin, who asked whether more “stars” would join LIV. 

Chamblee responded 16 minutes later. 

“It’s inevitable others will join, as I don’t think the money/temptation will go away,” Chamblee wrote, “but there are very few stars that truly make a difference; such as Tiger and Rory and even Rahm… Rahm worries me a bit as he seems open to the idea, but I sense that his deep knowledge of the history of the game and his obvious future place in it will keep him from selling out. I hope that’s the case.”

Notably, no known player has signed on with upstart LIV since February. Rahm, meanwhile, has remained with the PGA Tour and has been mostly neutral in the battle between the sides, saying in May at the PGA Championship: “I never got into the feud. I’ve never had any negative feelings towards any player that went over to LIV.”  

On Twitter this week, another user also attacked Chamblee. 

“Your obsession with one of the top 5 golfers of all time is creepy,” wrote @botts21. “Your pompous judgment of another business ignorant, but your obsession with the spotlight by virtue signaling is a dead give away you are a fraud. The Mike Ross of golf analysts.”

To that, Chamblee responded 27 minutes later. 

“Let’s take this one at a time,” he wrote. “1) Phil ( I assume that’s who you are referring to) is NOT one of the top 5 golfers of all time. 

“2) LIV is not “another business” like Pepsi is to Coke. Its more like if the CEO of Pepsi decided to give his sugary drink away for free to compete with Coke… which would raise a lot of questions, pompous, or otherwise. 3) Your accusation of virtue signaling implies that I have an ulterior motive… I do, it’s to expose the players who infer that “all” would take the money, when “all” did NOT TAKE THE MONEY… The fact that Tiger and Rory and Rahm and Spieth and Scheffler and so many others, including, to a lesser appreciated way ZALATORIS, turned the money down says that “all” can not be bought…and that many still care more about their legacy than their bank balance. 

“4) I liked Mike Ross… a flawed but interesting character… we are all guilty of the former and all aspire to the latter.”

As of Friday night, Mickelson had yet to respond.

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