No golfer inspires more commentary than Tiger Woods. And few commentators hold forth more frequently, more shrewdly or more frankly on Woods than Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee. With Woods set to return to competition this week, here’s the definitive ranking of Chamblee’s 11 sauciest Tiger takes.
The context: Just this week, in a rare burst of optimism about Woods’s prospects, Chamblee examined Tiger’s latest swing video and dispatched his diagnosis in an upbeat tweet.
All things considered(age,injuries, surgeries etc)this is one helluva transformation for Tiger.Compared to best-posture is spot on-takeaway/top of the swing understandably not as much out&up-but the transition blew me away—
His rt elbow now traces a path to front of rt hip as b4 pic.twitter.com/AWnhMjudNu
— Brandel Chamblee (@chambleebrandel) November 27, 2017
The context: The question to Chamblee, in a 2010 GOLF Magazine interview: Will the old Tiger be back in 2011?
The quote: “I don’t think Tiger will ever play the way we’ve seen him. He used to be surrounded by awe. Now he plays in a completely different environment. At [PGA Championship site] Whistling Straits, I heard people heckle him all day long. Loud, rude comments. “Hey, where’s Rachel?” He looks oblivious to it, but he hears it. It’s unsettling. It will follow him around for the rest of his career like a bad odor. Tiger feeds off of fan energy, and the fans haven’t forgiven him. The curtain has been pulled back in Oz. He’s not the Wizard anymore.”
The context: In that same GOLF interview, Chamblee was asked if Woods was “too muscled up.”
The quote: “Tiger’s body was perfect for golf. He was lean, sinewy, quick. He’s turned himself into an NFL linebacker — but why? In golf, you don’t have to lift a car over your head. You swing an 11-ounce club.”
The context: A rough showing for Woods in his first two events in early 2017 elicited this rumination on the relativity of time.
The quote: “I look at Tiger, and I can’t help but think he looks like an old man,” Chamblee said on Golf Channel. “He looks like the oldest 40-, 41-year-old man in the history of the game.”
The context: Woods’s swing has gone through many iterations, and Chamblee has been studying it all along. In a recent tweet, he posted side-by-side images of Tiger’s action in 2001 and 2013.
Two of Tiger’s four swing philosophies. Wide shift and upright on the left (2001) and Trackman-drunk on the right (2013). He took both to #1 in the world rankings. I’d argue the one on the left is worth studying; the one on the right is what injured him. pic.twitter.com/UaDs1JP9Ny
— Brandel Chamblee (@chambleebrandel) November 16, 2017
The context: As an assistant captain in the 2017 Presidents Cup, Chamblee said, Woods could put his mental strength to use in a different way.
The quote: “He used to psychologically destroy people, and now he is there to psychologically boost people. And it’s possible that he’s going to be just as good at boosting the morale of people as he was at destroying it.”
The context: The summer of 2017. Another British Open fast-approaching. Another candid assessment of Tiger’s game, this time in an interview with the Sporting News.
The quote: “Tiger’s swing has gotten so short and flat and quick. There’s just no way he can compete with that golf swing. No way. When you get that short and flat and quick you’re just going to consistently re-injure yourself.”
The context: When Woods announced his plans to play in this week’s Hero World Challenge, inquiring minds wanted to know: Could Tiger hold his own against the game’s young stars?
The quote: “No is the short answer,” Chamblee told GOLF.com’s Ryan Asselta. “If you do an internet search of the greatest sports comebacks from injury, you’ll get a litany of injuries. The one thing you will not get is a bad back followed by great athletic achievement.”
The context: After Woods’s woeful performance at the 2015 Memorial, Chamblee opined on Golf Channel that Tiger had no one to blame but Tiger himself.
The quote: “Time hasn’t robbed Tiger Woods of his game. He’s done this to himself. He’s traded his genius for the ideas of others. He’s changed his body in the gym for bulk. Everything that we see here is the result of what he’s done over the last four, five, six, seven, eight years.”
The context: “I feel good,” Woods said in the run-up to the 2015 British Open at St. Andrews. And why not, given that he’d won the claret jug the last two times it was contested on the Old Course? Well, here’s why.
The quote: “Watching Tiger Woods from 2000 to now I’m reminded that there are progressively powerful forms of cost and expense,” Chamblee said on Golf Channel from St. Andrews. “It’s called a human budget. And it’s just as true mentally as it is physically. Watching Tiger Woods go from belief to doubt, watching him build his body up and then watching it break down, and then watching him having to reconcile all those difficulties and try to manufacture a game and to see how much he struggles with that mentally, he is a shell of the man that he was when he came here in 2000 and 2005.”
The context: At the end of a 2013 season in which Woods won five times but was also at the center of several rules kerfuffles, Chamblee issued a report card on 14 players, including Woods, who received an “F.” He deserved the failing grade, Chamblee wrote on GOLF.com, because “ethics matter more than athletics.” Chamblee later tweeted an apology of sorts:
Golf is a gentleman’s game and I’m not proud of this debate. I want to apologize to Tiger for this incited discourse.
— Brandel Chamblee (@chambleebrandel) October 23, 2013
The quote: “I remember when we only talked about Tiger’s golf. I miss those days. He won five times and contended in majors and won the Vardon Trophy and … how shall we say this … was a little cavalier with the rules.”