Rory McIlroy backs Tiger Woods in ‘cheat’ row

The Rory McIroy of old on his way to shooting a seven-under-par 67 in Shanghai. Picture: Getty
The Rory McIroy of old on his way to shooting a seven-under-par 67 in Shanghai. Picture: Getty
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Golf Channel television pundit Brandel Chamblee was out of order earlier this month when he implied world No 1 Tiger Woods had cheated, Rory McIlroy said yesterday.

In a column, former US PGA Tour winner Chamblee graded several golfers for their seasons. Of Woods, he wrote: “He won five times and contended in majors and won the Vardon (player of the tear) Trophy and. . . how shall we say this. . . was a little cavalier with the rules”.

Woods has threatened to sue Chamblee over his remarks and world No 6 McIlroy jumped to the defence of the 14-times major champion by urging the Golf Channel to take action against the pundit.

“He was out of line and something should be done about it (by) the Golf Channel, that’s who Brandel is employed by and they are the ones that can deal with it,” the Northern Irishman told reporters after taking the first-round lead at the WGC-HSBC Champions Tournament.

“I’ll let the Golf Channel executives think what the right way is,” added McIlroy, referring to Chamblee’s full-time employer, although the comments were made on which is not affiliated to the TV network.

McIlroy was speaking after opening with a superb 65 in Shanghai, carding eight birdies and one bogey to be seven under par. That gave the Northern Irishman a two-shot lead over Spain’s Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, who won the BMW Masters across the city at Lake Malaren on Sunday, and Welshman Jamie Donaldson. US Open champion Justin Rose, Bubba Watson, Jordan

Spieth and Tommy Fleetwood are a shot further back.

McIlroy is 62nd on the European Tour’s Race to Dubai and needs to get into the top 60 this week to have a chance of qualifying for the DP World Tour Championship in November.

Complete first round scores in Shanghai

(par 72)

65 R McIlroy (Nir) ,

67 J Donaldson (Wal) , G Fdez-Castaño (Esp)

68 J Spieth (USA) , J Rose (Eng) , B Watson (USA) , T Fleetwood (Eng)

69 P Casey (Eng) , K Aphibarnrat (Tha) , G Bhullar (Ind) , S Hend (Aus) , E Els (RSA) , D Johnson (USA) , G McDowell (Nir).

70 R Moore (USA) , D Fichardt (RSA) , J Blixt (Swe) , B Weekley (USA) , L Donald (Eng) , S Garcia (Esp) , L Oosthuizen (RSA) , K Streelman (USA) , M Kaymer (Ger) , P Hanson (Swe) , H Wen-Yi (Chn) , K Duke (USA) , J Jeong (Kor)

71 I Poulter (Eng) , K Bradley (USA) , C Wood (Eng) , D Ernst (USA) , P Mickelson (USA) , P Uihlein (USA) , B Horschel (USA) , L Westwood (Eng) , G Delaet (Can) , B Gay (USA) , H Matsuyama (Jpn)

72 M Ilonen (Fin) , J Van Zyl (RSA) , D Points (USA) , M Brown (Nzl) , J Merrick (USA) , M Hendry (Nzl) , M Manassero (Ita) L Wen-Chong (Chn) , F Molinari (Ita) , D Howell (Eng) , B Haas (USA) , S Piercy (USA) , L Hao-Tong (Chn)

73 S Gallacher (Sco) , J Dufner (USA) , B Snedeker (USA) , J Walker (USA) , M Kawamura (Jpn)

74 H Stenson (Swe) , D Lynn (Eng) , M Thompson (USA) , R Fowler (USA) , T Björn (Den) , R Sterne (RSA) , W Ashun (Chn) ,

75 G Coetzee (RSA) , H Fujita (Jpn) , M Jiménez (Esp) , G Bourdy (Fra) , B Rumford (Aus) , N Watney (USA)

76 H Mu (Chn) , T Jaidee (Tha) ,

77 B Grace (RSA) , B Van Pelt (USA) , D Popovic (Aus)

81 R Jacquelin (Fra) , R Ishikawa (Jpn) , B Seuk-Hyun (Kor) 83 H Ming-Jie (Chn) ,