For a man who now makes his living talking about golf instead of playing it, Brandel Chamblee would be perfectly entitled to reflect favourably on his performance in this year’s Senior Open at St Andrews.
Except he doesn’t. Not even slightly.
The tour-pro-turned-Golf-Channel-analyst carded rounds of 77 and 75 at the Old Course, missing the cut in the fifth and final senior major of the season.
No shame in that. After all, this was the 1998 Greater Vancouver Open winner’s debut in the over-50’s game, and only his second competitive outing since quitting the PGA Tour in 2003.
His last tour start prior to this week? The AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am a decade ago.
So, in the circumstances, 77 and 75 – having qualified with a 69 at Scotscraig earlier in the week – represents a pretty good week’s work, right? Not according to the man himself
“I feel kind of disgusted with myself, to be honest,” said Chamblee. “I do. I really do.
“It was tougher than I thought it would be. A lot tougher. I’ve never had two days of golf like this in my entire life. Never, ever, ever, ever.
“I’ve always been a good putter – but not this week. I didn’t have good speed. I hit a 5-iron into 13 today to four feet and missed it
“You know, I’ve never been one to think that rust or reps was that a big deal but I would probably make the Titanic look shiny and new.”
“I’ve never ever in my life played golf like this. I mean, I’ve played bad golf before, don’t get me wrong. But not like that. I’ve never made so many ridiculous mistakes. As a commentator, I’d look at how I’ve played the past two days and think, 'That makes perfect sense' but to me as a golfer it doesn’t make sense because I know better.”
Which begs a compelling question: how would Chamblee the commentator sum up Chamblee the golfer’s two days in St Andrews?
“I’d probably say he looks like a commentator; a decent player but a long way from making a living out here. It’s frustrating but I enjoyed the experience. I did it to rekindle a little competitive fire and I certainly did that.”
Given the nature of his ‘regular job’, it’s only reasonable to assume there will be some PGA Tour players out there who will eye Chamblee’s scores and allow themselves a wry smile. Something perhaps tantamount to “it’s not quite as easy as it looks”. If so, he's not bothered.
“I care what my friends think about what I do with my life but I’ve always thought you should be able to be complimented or criticised by people and not have it affect you,” he added. “When you’re on TV, one person will say you suck and the next will say you’re the greatest person ever and you can’t afford to believe either of them. You have to be true, do your homework, go on air and say what you think.
“Whatever notoriety I’ve got, it’s not because of my golf. It’s because I talk for a living.
“People confuse who I was as a player with what I do for a living. As a player, I was never controversial. I was always with a group of guys, laughing, having a good time. I wasn’t opinionated.
"So when I get out here, I see these guys, I’ve known them all my life, I have a nice time and people will say, ‘When did you become so opinionated?’ I’ll say, ‘I’m not opinionated. Not at all.’ I just sit in a chair where, every three minutes, somebody says, ‘Why did he do that? What was he thinking?’
“I think that, if you do that job well, you’ll say things that people are going to argue with.”