‘The media have painted me as this black hat’: Patrick Reed opens up on lawsuit, LIV

Patrick Reed

Patrick Reed hits out of a bunker on Sunday on the 18th hole at Wentworth Golf Club.

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Patrick Reed, in addressing his defamation lawsuit against Golf Channel and analyst Brandel Chamblee, says the narrative against him is “he’s a horrendous person, he’s a cheater, a liar and a thief” and that “you have to fight back, fight for yourself, and fight for what you believe in.”

In the exclusive interview with the Sunday Times, Reed also says comments made by Rory McIlroy over LIV Golf player participation this week in the BMW PGA Championship are “insulting.” And after his final round on Sunday at Wentworth Golf Club, Reed told reporters that should a LIV golfer ever win a non-LIV event, “there would be some kind of media s*** storm.”

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The lawsuit comments were his first known on the subject, and we’ll begin there. Last month, Reed filed a defamation suit in the Southern District of Texas against Chamblee and Golf Channel, alleging they “have conspired as joint tortfeasors for and with the PGA Tour, its executives and its Commissioner Jay Monahan, to engage in a pattern and practice of defaming Mr. Reed.” The lawsuit uses quotes from Chamblee from his time on the air for Golf Channel and Sky Sports as well as on podcasts to allege damages in excess of $750 million. 

In the interview with the Sunday Times — which you can read in full here — Reed said he needed to defend himself. 

“Everyone who knows the true me knows it’s not this narrative that the PGA Tour and the Golf Channel have built,” Reed told the Sunday Times. “It feels like the media have painted me as this black hat, and they’ve just allowed that to keep on driving their clicks as well as the amount of income they can bring in from attacking me. They run with everything they can find or try to spin it in a negative way. It’s hard to even talk about it because of how fictitious it is. The malice and deceit to say something like that about somebody is just ridiculous.”

Continuing his thoughts on the lawsuit, Reed admitted to the Sunday Times that he’s brought on some of the attention himself, noting comments he made on Jordan Spieth and Jim Furyk at the 2018 Ryder Cup, but he also said he’s never cheated. Notably, Reed was penalized for brushing away sand from behind his ball in a waste area during the 2019 Hero World Championship, though he has maintained that he did not mean to skirt the rules. 

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“I have never ever intentionally tried to break any rule of golf to gain an advantage on anyone,” Reed told the Sunday Times. “I take too much pride in the hard work I do each and every day to try and gain an advantage in such a petty and deceitful way.”

On the subject of LIV Golf player participation at the BMW PGA, McIlroy had said after his victory at the PGA Tour’s Tour Championship that it would be “hard to stomach” seeing LIV golfers at Wentworth, then reiterated that thought in his pre-tournament press conference. 

Reed, meanwhile, had played on the DP World Tour and the PGA Tour before joining the threat to both leagues, LIV Golf, and he and 17 other LIV golfers played the BMW PGA on the DP World Tour this week, ahead of a trial that should determine whether he and other LIV players can play more DP World Tour events in the future.

“I feel like [Rory] making those types of comments is insulting,” Reed told the Sunday Times. “Let’s be honest, I’ve [played the DP World Tour] more consistently than some of the Europeans on the PGA Tour, so for them to take shots at other guys, especially Billy [Horschel] and Rory taking shots at the LIV guys saying they shouldn’t be here — I’ve done more for this Tour than Billy has and I’ve played almost as much as Rory has for the past five years.

“I was able to talk to a bunch of DP World Tour players [on Tuesday] and not a single one of them had any issue with me being here because of the support I’ve shown this tour throughout my career, throughout Covid and at smaller events as well as big events.”

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After Reed’s final round at the BMW PGA, where he shot a nine-under 63 to finish tied for fifth, he said again players were supportive throughout the week. Also during the press conference exchange, a reporter later asked: “Is it going to get to a point where people are too entrenched in their positions to change?” 

His answer also spoke to a comment he made in late June during his introductory LIV press conference, where he said the LIV schedule would allow him more family time. 

“I don’t know. To be honest with you, I have no idea,” Reed began. “Really at the end of the day, I feel like everyone has to come to terms with their decision. How I look at it especially a part of this tour, especially me being American and being, hey, guys, I’ve played on two tours my whole life, my whole career. I’ve played on the PGA Tour and European Tour at the same time. I don’t see any difference me playing on PGA Tour and here and playing on LIV and here at all.  

“If anything, with playing on LIV and them only having 14 events, that means I’ll be over here more. That means I play six or seven events. Guys are like, oh, you joined LIV to play a lesser schedule. Well, I’m a guy that’s played 31 to 34 events a year. So if I played 14 and say I play six here, that’s 20, so that’s 11 to 14 events left. That’s 11 to 14 extra weeks I can spend time with my family and that’s huge. 

“But at the end of the day, as a player, I hope they do the right thing and allow us to play, but at the end of the day, that’s not our decision.”

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A reporter then asked: “How do you think the golfing world will react if a LIV player did win one of these?” 

At the BMW PGA, four LIV golfers finished in the top 20 — Reed tied for fifth, Talor Gooch was fourth, Lee Westwood tied for 13th, and Sam Horsfield and Abraham Ancer tied for 18th. 

“I don’t know,” Reed began. “At the end of the day, the guys that are on LIV are really, really good golfers. I’m sure there would be some kind of media s*** storm is the easiest way to put it, but that being said, it would be no difference if it was last year and guys were playing the PGA Tour, would it?

“I mean, at the end of the day, really, if you took everything away, all the hoopla of everything, it would be just another top player coming over and winning a golf tournament, whether it’s PGA Tour, LIV, European Tour. There’s no big media just frenzy when a European comes over and wins on the PGA Tour, and when Billy [Horschel] won here it felt like the same as if a normal player won from over here. I don’t think there should be anything different. It just shows that the guys are still ready to play and guys are hungry to win and really just hungry for competition.”

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Nick Piastowski

Nick Piastowski

Golf.com Editor

Nick Piastowski is a Senior Editor at Golf.com and Golf Magazine. In his role, he is responsible for editing, writing and developing stories across the golf space. And when he’s not writing about ways to hit the golf ball farther and straighter, the Milwaukee native is probably playing the game, hitting the ball left, right and short, and drinking a cold beer to wash away his score. You can reach out to him about any of these topics — his stories, his game or his beers — at nick.piastowski@golf.com.

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