Jim Gray, working for Golf Channel as a free-lance reporter at the PGA’s Northern Trust Open this weekend at Riviera Country Club, was removed from the coverage today by the network after a confrontation Thursday involving Dustin Johnson’s caddy Bobby Brown, who was held responsible for Johnson arriving late for a tee time.
The Wall Street Journal reported (linked here) that Gray was “defying protocol” when he asked Brown during live play in Thursday’s first round the circumstances behind Johnson receiving a penalty for appearing late. Later, Gray and Brown apparently got into a “heated exchange.”
The Associated Press reported that Brown and Steve Stricker, who was in Johnson’s group, were confronted by Gray, who was waiting on Johnson during the long walk from the 13th green to the 14th tee. Gray later reported Johnson said he was misinformed on the tee time.
After the round, Brown took the blame for the mistake and then turned his frustration toward Gray while Johnson was signing his card for a 2-over 73. Gray walked up on the conversation and Brown said to him, “Dude, you can’t come up like that in the middle of the round. It had taken us 13 holes to get over that, and then you bring it up again.”
Johnson did not mention Gray during a brief interview with The Associated Press in the parking lot Thursday afternoon, but Stricker was visibly angry when discussing it after his round, and several other caddies were outraged when they heard about it.
Golf Channel’s website (linked here) quoted a network spokesman: “Our aim is to provide the best possible golf coverage for our viewers. Anything else is a disservice. In order not to provide further distraction, we’ve decided to remove Jim from this particular assignment.”
Last August at the PGA Championship, Gray was involved in a verbal confrontation with Corey Pavin, arguing that the U.S. Ryder Cup captain gave him misinformation about whether Tiger Woods would be a wild-card selection.