An attorney for Patrick Reed sent a cease-and-desist letter to Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee demanding he stop referring to the golfer as a cheater for his actions at a tournament in the Bahamas last month.
Golfweek obtained the letter in which attorney Peter Ginsberg wrote that the purpose "is to obtain assurance that you will refrain from any further dissemination, publication or republication of false and defamatory statements concerning Mr. Reed, including any allegations that he 'cheated' at the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas."
Chamblee has been a vocal critic of Reed in the aftermath of a rules violation during the third round of the tournament in which the golfer was assessed a two-shot penalty for improving his line of play when he took two practice strokes in a waste area. Among things he said on the air was that "to defend what Patrick Reed did is defending cheating. It's defending breaking the rules."
Chamblee acknowledged to ESPN that he had received the letter, which hints at legal action.
"The letter accuses flippant and reckless comments," Chamblee said. "My comments were weighed heavily before they came out of my mouth, and they were meant to address the larger issue of what I believe to be the decaying traditions of the game. This game has always had at its core the belief that self-governing gives the game its appeal. Inasmuch as we play the game for camaraderie. The self-governing tradition is slowly being replaced by a catch-me-if-you-can attitude.
"I think the whole golf world was watching how the Reed incident was treated. Including the young men and women who will soon be on their respective tours. If the catch-me-if-you-can attitude pervades junior golf, 10 years later it pervades professional golf and that concerns me. And was the origin of my remarks."
Reed has endured plenty of backlash, both at the Presidents Cup last month and again last week at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. The heckling was so bad at the Presidents Cup in Australia that Reed's caddie, Kessler Karain, was involved in an altercation with a spectator and ultimately prohibited from working the final day.
Ginsberg has previously sued the PGA Tour on behalf of Vijay Singh and Hank Haney and represented former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice in his dealings with the NFL over his suspension for domestic violence. Ginsberg confirmed to Golfweek that he represents Reed and sent the letter.
Chamblee told Golfweek that he received the letter during the Presidents Cup, where Reed was 0-3 before winning in his Sunday singles match as part of the United States' victory.
Ginsberg wrote that Reed said at the time there was no intent to violate a rule.
"Indeed, as you should know, and presumably do know but chose to ignore, if the PGA Tour believed that Mr. Reed had intentionally violated any rule, he would have been disqualified from the tournament rather than assessed a two-stroke penalty," Ginsberg wrote. "Everyone involved agrees that Mr. Reed acted unintentionally, and the tape of the incident fully supports that conclusion."
PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said Sunday he considered the matter closed.