Following ill-considered comments about Ian Poulter on social media, the PGA of America has removed Ted Bishop from office.
Poulter’s criticisms of Nick Faldo and Tom Watson in his new book prompted Bishop to call Poulter a “lil’ girl” on Twitter and equate him on Facebook to a “little school girl squealing during recess.”
From the PGA of America:
The PGA of America Board of Directors voted today to remove Ted Bishop, the 38th PGA President, from office for insensitive gender-based statements posted yesterday on social media. The Board deemed the remarks to be inconsistent with the policies of the PGA.
“The PGA of America understands the enormous responsibility it has to lead this great game and to enrich lives in our society through golf,” said PGA Chief Executive Officer Pete Bevacqua. “We must demand of ourselves that we make golf both welcoming and inclusive to all who want to experience it, and everyone at the PGA of America must lead by example.”
Under the Bylaws of the PGA Constitution, Vice President Derek Sprague has been appointed the Association’s Interim President until Nov. 22, when the election of new national officers takes place at the 98th PGA Annual Meeting. PGA Secretary Paul Levy will assume the dual responsibilities of Vice President and Secretary until the election.
“The Members and Apprentices of the PGA of America must uphold the highest standards and values of the profession, as well as the manner in which we conduct ourselves at all times,” said Sprague, the PGA General Manager and Director of Golf at Malone (New York) Golf Club. “We apologize to any individual or group that felt diminished, in any way, by this unacceptable incident.”
It is a sad finish to what I think had started as a rather promising term as PGA President. Bishop had some great ideas about revitalizing the game, defended the common player against the ridiculous belly putter ban and made what seemed at the time an inspired choice in Tom Watson as Ryder Cup Captain. He apparently rubbed many the wrong way, but often leaders find themselves in that position.
In the end, it likely was the Ryder Cup that brought about Bishop’s downfall. I believe that no Captain and no Captain’s picks would have made the difference in this last contest. The Europeans just have better players right now. The team meltdown following the event, however, and the criticism of Watson’s leadership turned a loss into a very ugly scene. I imagine that as the guy who picked Watson, Bishop has been very sensitive lately. That’s no excuse for Bishop’s remarks, but it perhaps is an explanation.