Brandel Chamblee is an articulate and very savvy golf swing analyst on telecasts of PGA Tour tournaments who also played the PGA Tour. There is something that is sort of unfair to Brandel about this which is that most of the other retired PGA Tour players who are also commentators on TV, as Chamblee is, had stellar PGA Tour careers that included many wins and even wins in the four majors. Brandel obviously is there with them because he is such an excellent communicator and really knows the golf swing well. There have been a few other TV commentators comparable to Brandel in the past, so he’s not the only retired PGA Tour commentator who didn’t win many Tour tournaments.
Brandel Chamblee gets occasional comments from viewers who discredit his Tour career because they disagree with something he said on TV. Brandel, a friend of mine, was interviewed about this on GOLF’s Subpar podcast this week. I’m going to quote much of what he said because it relates to me. How so?
When you speak or write to the public, you put yourself out there to be criticized. It is something that a lot of people would never do just because they don’t want to subject themselves to criticism. Nowadays, I do that writing books and having my Kermit Zarley Blog, where I allow comments and interact with them. (Many bloggers don’t allow comments.) I also put my blog posts on my FB page. It is especially on Facebook where I get a lot of disrespectful comments towards both me and other commenters.
(In fact, I have been an investor in Facebook before the company went public with its IPO. But I sold my FB stock last year because I don’t like it that Mark Zuckerberg has been so resistant to exercising some form of restraint on free speech. I just don’t think it’s healthy for human beings how toxic and untruthful social media is becoming. Congress doesn’t either, especially as it affects our electoral system, and Congress has been investigating this as if there may be some new legislation in the future about it.)
In my case, criticism on my FB page happens mostly because I sometimes write posts about our polarized, political situation. I admit that it is understandable since I wade into politics. Social media is providing people the opportunity to be really nasty in their comments whereas this would never have been allowed back when I was young and people were physically together. If it had happened, there could very well be a fist fight.
Lately, I have had some comments disparaging my PGA Tour career, as Chamblee has, as evidence that I am someone undeserving of expressing my opinion and having an audience for it. That’s why I will now quote Brandel. But before I do, I’ll relate his achievements as a golfer. He was a three-time All-American golfer at the University of Texas. (I might add that he got a degree there in communication.) He played in 370 PGA Tour tournaments. He won once and finished runner-up four times. What Brandel says is just common sense known to Tour pros, but it needs to be said for the golfing public and more. Here’s some of what Brandel said about his golf career in this interview, and I commend for him doing it with such an irenic spirit:
“People use it to criticize me in an effort to invalidate my opinion. I find it comical, personally. I don’t care how people want to categorize my career. By almost any standards I would call what I did in golf extraordinary. Not by Tiger Woods’ standards, not by Jack Nicklaus, but just to make it to the PGA Tour you have to be an extraordinary golfer, by a professional golfer standards. There’s 10,000 people trying to play professional golf, so you have to be very, very good to get on the PGA Tour. And then to stay on the PGA Tour for any period of time you have to be disciplined, and you have to be very good. I’m quite happy with my career.
“The only thing I really think, when people try to criticize my career to make less valid my comments, is you just haven’t done your homework. You don’t really understand what you are talking about. I got to 57th in the World, in a world where there’s 10,000 people trying to play professional golf. You choose any profession in the world and find me the 57th best at it in the world–whether it’s the legal world, any profession, I don’t care what it is, surgery–they are extraordinary. Absolutely extraordinary. By any standard they are extraordinary. So I find it somewhat comical when people try to criticize my career. Having said that, was I a great professional golfer? Not by any stretch of the imagination. But I was an extraordinary golfer, and there’s a nuance difference there.”
But Brandel Chamblee has now excelled in two different occupations, his second one being an expert golf swing analyst who plies his trade on national television week after week. Thus, Brandel then compared himself to a few others who are the greatest golf swing instructors in the world who have taught PGA Tour pros. Hardly any of them got on the PGA Tour. For years, Butch Harmon has been the best golf swing instructor in the world. Brandel continues:
“And Harmon had more rounds in the 80s on the PGA Tour than more rounds in the 60s on the PG Tour. My point is not to denigrate Butch Harmon as a player. He was clearly a good player. [I blogged recently that Butch’s dad, Claude Harmon, won the 1948 Masters by five strokes.] But it does not invalidate the fact that he knows what he’s talking about when it comes to the golf swing.”
As for my golf career: 1962 NCAA Golf Championship winner; 30 full-time years on the PGA Tour and its Seniors/Champions Tour; winner five times; runner-up 17 times.