Patrick Reed is suing the Golf Channel and commentator Brandel Chamblee over coverage of cheating allegations and his subsequent defection to LIV Golf.
In the latest in a string of cases launched by rebels involved in the Saudi-backed breakaway, the former Masters champion filed a lawsuit claiming he has been defamed over a period of nine years.
Chamblee’s most recent remarks that Reed "would have no problem playing golf for Stalin, Hitler, Mao Zedong, Pol Pot, and Vladimir Putin" were raised in the legal complaint.
"This statement is false because Mr Reed never aligned himself with a ‘tyrannical, murderous leader'," the lawsuit says. "He is playing golf for LIV, which simply happens to be financed by the PIF [Public Investment Fund], which has invested in and financed some of the nation’s and the world’s largest and respected corporations."
A civil suit filed in US district court for the southern district of Texas in Houston alleges Chamblee and the channel conspired with the PGA Tour and commissioner Jay Monahan to defame Reed "since he was 23 years old".
The claim says the broadcaster displayed a "reckless disregard of the truth" in "actively targeting [Reed] to destroy his reputation, create hate, and a hostile work environment for him".
Reed by fans and 'abused and endured more than any other golfer'
"It is well-known on tour that Mr Reed has been abused and endured more than any other golfer from fans or spectators who have been allowed to scream obscenities only to be glorified by NBC’s Golf Channel for doing so," the lawsuit says. “[Chamblee] has become Golf Channel’s primary mouthpiece and agent to push this defamatory agenda and inflict severe damage to Mr Reed, LIV, and other golfers signed with LIV."
Reed’s legal team had sent Chamblee a cease-and-desist letter in 2020 demanding he not repeat accusations that he cheated during a tournament.
He had been penalised two strokes at the Hero World Challenge in 2019 for improving his lie in a bunker. However, Reed subsequently claimed he had not intend to do so.
Chamblee, however, is alleged to have repeatedly raised those cheating allegations and also been critical of the player over his decision to defect from the PGA Tour to LIV Golf earlier this year.
Reed, 32, claims Chamblee’s opinions have led to fans heckling him, with abuse said to include: "Now on the tee the excavator!," "You suck!," "You f------" suck!," "You jackass!," "You coward!".
The lawsuit, which is seeking in excess of £620 million in damages, was filed by Larry Klayman just a week after other a Californian court heard cases from LIV rebels appealing against their PGA suspensions.
The Tour's policy in throwing out players was put to the test in court a week ago, with Talor Gooch, Matt Jones and Hudson Swafford losing their case for a temporary restraining order.
Chamblee and the Golf Channel have yet to respond to Reed's claims.