Embattled in a growing war of words with a TV analyst, Tiger Woods received a big boost of support from fellow golfer Rory McIlroy on Wednesday.
According to Agence France-Presse, McIlroy said Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee for continuing to claim Woods has cheated numerous times in tournaments over the years.
McIlroy, who is preparing for the WGC-HSBC Champions tournament in Shanghai, China, said Chamblee "should be dealt with" and that he believes Chamblee is completely wrong, AFP reported.
"Yeah, I think Brandel was completely wrong. I don't think he has the authority to say anything like that about Tiger Woods," McIlroy, a native of Northern Ireland, said.
"People wouldn't know who Brandel Chamblee was if it wasn't for Tiger Woods, so I am completely against what he said and I think he should be dealt with in the right way."
Woods, currently ranked No. 1 in the world, has tempered his comments on the issue but also said earlier this week that the Golf Channel should deal with Chamblee over his comments, including claiming Woods is "a little cavalier with the rules."
"All I am going to say is that I know I am going forward but then I don't know what the Golf Channel is going to do or not, so then that is up to them," Woods said in Haikou, China where he played against McIlroy in an exhibition match. Woods is not playing in the Shanghai event.
"The whole issue has been very disappointing as he (Chamblee) didn't really apologize and he sort of reignited the whole situation. But so as far as I am concerned I'm going to put it behind me and move forward, so the ball really is in the court of the Golf Channel and what they are prepared to do."
Chamblee attempted to apologize to Woods on Twitter, but then reignited the controversy by claiming he stood by his original accusation in a story for Golf.com.
"What brought me here was the realization that my comments inflamed an audience on two sides of an issue," Chamblee wrote on Twitter last week. "Golf is a gentleman's game and I'm not proud of this debate. I want to apologize to Tiger for this incited discourse."
Woods' agent, Mark Steinberg, has hinted at potential legal action against Chamblee.
"All we want to do is move forward and whether the Golf Channel moves forward as well, then we will have to wait and see," Steinberg said. "We've now said our piece, and those who know me know that I don't put out statements very often, and I said what I said so let's just see if both parties now move forward."
Woods said earlier that he indeed is still considering legal action against Chamblee.
He also did not accept Chamblee's tweeted and so-called apology.
"All I am going to say is that I know I am going forward," Woods said. "But then, I don't know what the Golf Channel is going to do or not. But then that's up to them. The whole issue has been very disappointing, as he didn't really apologize and he sort of reignited the whole situation.
"So the ball really is in the court of the Golf Channel and what they are prepared to do."
Golf Channel has not commented on the controversy. Chamblee is an analyst for the Golf Channel, but he wrote the column for another publication. Chamblee has said he was not asked to formally apologize.
Chamblee had given Woods a letter grade of "F" in the Golf.com story, partly based on a number of penalties Woods has received this season.
Woods was assessed 2-shot penalties at Abu Dhabi, The Masters and the BMW Championship. A drop on the 14th hole of the TPC Sawgrass during the final round of The Players Championship was also in question. But Woods' playing partner, Casey Wittenberg, agreed with the spot.
Chamblee has a reputation for criticizing Woods. But the cheating implications stirred a lot of controversy.