When pundits and coaches collide: Tiger's putting sparks war of words

The Scoop

Golf Channel chatterbox Brandel Chamblee and putting guru Phil Kenyon have had something of a disagreement over Tiger Woods. But it's all a waste of time, writes Harvey Jamison

Ladies and Gentleman, it’s time for another social media showdown. They’re two titans of theory. In the red corner, it’s the ‘Anatomy of Greatness’ himself, Brandel Chamblee, and in the blue corner, he ‘putts’ the vision into putting, Phil Kenyon.

Ding, ding!

Knives sharpening, keyboards rattling and mouses clicking. There was another Twitter tremor in the world of golf on Tuesday.

Flashback to Sunday, and a simple statistics disagreement. Chamblee cemented his view that Tiger Woods’ putting issues were far from over, even considering his putter switch and Francesco Molinari, who has never been considered a world-class putter, deserved his eight-shot lead due to his incredible ball-striking over the former World No. 1.

Fair to say? But it prompted Phil Kenyon, Molinari’s putting coach, to correctly point out that Tiger ranked 14th in Strokes Gained: Putting at the conclusion of Sunday’s round and Brandel was stretching the stats to fit his argument…

 

Chamblee jabbed back. “Or if you look at the facts, they will tell you what you can’t or don’t want to see.”

This is where the hilarity kicks in, one Italian stallion bringing TPC Potomac to its knees, and two men have a macho moment over statistics…

Credit, where credit’s due as Molinari ranks 4th on the PGA Tour for Strokes Gained: Tee-to-green, having hit an astonishing 62 out of 72 fairways the whole week in Maryland, which Chamblee credited for his runaway win.

Molinari is slumped down at 203rd in Strokes Gained: Putting this year, whereas Tiger is just outside the top 50 but ranks 1st for putting inside three feet.

However, a champion last week, he made a huge leap and finished 23rd for his efforts on the greens. Brandel was more focused on his ball-striking, leading Kenyon to keep the fire burning.

Popcorn ready? Brandel goes for the fatal blow.

Ouch.

Now, I love a stat and Chamblee’s are correct. But that list holds four winners on both sides of the Atlantic this season, in case you are after the full picture.

Justin Rose, a winner at the Fort Worth Invitational last month, ranks 1oth for Strokes Gained: Putting in 2018, while Molinari has already won the European Tour’s flagship event, the BMW PGA Championship, before his first win on US soil.

Tommy Fleetwood, fresh off a final-round 63 at Shinnecock, won the Abu Dhabi Championship in January, and another Kenyon client Alex Noren just clinched his 10th European Tour victory in France.

In his only three European Tour events in 2018, Rory McIlroy has finished in the top five in all of them with two runner-up places. Branden Grace has four worldwide top 10s this season along with Louis Oosthuizen as well as the latter pipping the top-15 in the season’s early majors.

Wins and form vs. putting ability levels the playing field somewhere, but the last words belong to two more Kenyon clients: Lee Westwood and Eddie Pepperell.

Punches traded and we’re all the more knowledgeable. But it may have been an argument over nothing.

More from NCG

Previous article
Next article
Top