I'm going to sleep on the reaction to Ted Bishop's removal as PGA of America president by the PGA Board following offensive comments made on Twitter and Facebook and weigh in with a few comments to Saturday's Morning Drive, which airs later than usual from 11:00 am. to 12:30 am ET.
If you only have a few minutes or were engaged in more important activities Friday (that's everything up and including a marathon session catching up on your DVR'd episodes of Maury), Sam Weinman provides a straight-up, no no preachiness take on Ted Bishop’s “removal” as PGA President.
Here is the official statement from the PGA of America on Bishop's removal with less than a month to go in his two-year Presidency.
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."
Bishop issued a statement to select golf writers and referred to his removal as an impeachment. Interesting is the suggestion that he was hamstrung in issuing a stronger public apology sooner. His approach and style are debatable, but ridiculous is that the PGA of America will effectively remove his tenure from the history books over a social media mistake by someone who is a progressive and not a sexist.
I want to apologize to Ian Poulter and anyone else that I might have offended with my remarks on social media that appeared on October 23, 2014. Particularly, I have great remorse that my comments contained the words “little girl” because I have always been a great advocate for girls and women in golf.
My two children, both girls, have made their careers in golf. I have a 4-year old granddaughter who I hope will someday play the game. In my 37-year career in golf, I have worked with many women to grow the sport and I have been a champion for inclusion and equal rights for women in golf.
However, this is a classic example of poor use of social media on my part and if I had the chance to hit the delete button on the things that I sent out yesterday, I would without hesitation. The PGA of America asked me to avoid any interaction with the media in the past 24 hours and that is why I did not issue a formal and public apology, which I have wanted to do since early this morning.
This afternoon I was asked by my fellow Officers to resign my position as President. I declined because I wanted to speak to our PGA Board of Directors, offer a personal apology and let the due process take place in this matter. The Board heard me out and then voted to impeach me as the 38th President. That is the due process and I respect that, as painful as it might be.
The PGA has also informed me that I will not become the Honorary President nor will I ever be recognized as a Past President in our Association’s history. These, along with the impeachment are drastic consequences for the offense I have committed, but I must live with them. I take great pride in what we were able to accomplish in the last 23 months. Hopefully, we laid the groundwork for a successful future for the PGA of America. Today, all I have left is my PGA membership and that will always mean the world to me.
Ted Bishop, PGA
PGA of America CEO Pete Bevacqua, who just weeks ago was lauding Bishop to Golf World’s Jaime Diaz as “the right person at the right time” while saying “the way he's wired helped us get things done that would otherwise not have gotten done,” appeared with Steve Sands on Golf Channel to express his disappointment. “Saddened” also was used by Bevacqua, who was close to Bishop and who would not reveal discussions with Bishop today.
Because it was a Friday and the PGA's move qualifies as a Supreme Friday News Dump, reaction from the golf world was limited. Alex Miceli included this from former Ryder Cup captain Davis Love:
"Ted Bishop has been a great supporter of golf, the PGA of America members and the PGA Tour during his presidency," Love said. "I have said things in my passion for the Ryder Cup that I wish came out differently. We all make mistakes on social media. I consider Ted a friend and will not remember his presidency for this incident, but for his support and passion for helping me through my captaincy, and for his role in setting the team up for future success."
GolfChannel.com's Rex Hoggard talked to players at the McGladrey Classic and sums up what he heard prior to the removal news. It sounds like most of the PGA Tour’s finest found the backlash excessive though part of the life in social media as a public figure. Though it was interesting to hear that Bishop's stance on anchoring has him finding plenty of friends on the PGA Tour.
golf.com's Michael Bamberger comes to Bishop’s defense and says the PGA of America “did the right thing in forcing him out.” Here's the defense part:
In this totally needless fiasco that led to Ted Bishop's forced removal as President of the PGA of America, he will be derided as a clown, as a man in constant need of attention but unsure what to do with it, and as a sexist, for his ridiculous comment about Ian Poulter, whom he likened to a "lil girl."
In reality, he was none of the above. His two daughters work in the golf industry: Ambry is the women's golf coach at St. John’s University in New York and Ashely works at Legends Golf Club in Franklin, Ind., the public course Bishop co-owns. Legends G.C. has a thriving junior program under Bishop's direction that stresses the importance of being inclusive of women, minorities and kids from modest economic circumstances. He comes at golf as a populist.
Continuing the awkward reaction theme, Golf Channel’s roundtable hosted by Steve Stands and Lisa Cornwell and featuring Paige MacKenzie and Brandel Chamblee who seem to feel bad that Bishop’s tenure will be being “erased from history” yet question his lack of contrition, though as Bishop noted, he was barred from expanding on his initial statements and his apology (above) was extensive. It’s somewhat surreal hearing his legacy of progressive moves for women or golfers at large appreciated but his mistake over a Tweet treated as such a terminal offense.
Prospective PGA of America officer Suzy Whaley talked to Golf Channel by phone and said she was “extremely disturbed” by Bishop’s comments and found them “extremely insulting and sexist.”
“For me to hear comments that are derogatory about young girls, or insulting, just because you are a girl, is offensive,” Whaley said. “Our board of directors took swift action. The PGA of America finds it quite critical to be inclusive and we will continue to do so moving forward.”
Whaley would be best off not reading the comments on Deadspin, where the entire thing was mocked compared to the offenses of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
The A Position's Steve Pike suggests Bishop’s ouster came about because of the way he went about the job and I would not disagree that this sentiment prevails in the upper circles of golf. But is that really a legit reason?
Often in the past two years Bishop appeared to be more interested in furthering his own career than furthering the cause of his organization and its 27,000 members.
But that’s not why the PGA of America’s board of directors gave Bishop the boot less than a month before the latter’s term as president was to expire.
In the movie, “Patton,’’ Karl Malden’s Gen. Omar Bradley tells this to George C. Scott’s Gen. George Patton: “You don’t know when to shut up, George. You’re a pain in the neck.’’
In the end, Ted Bishop didn’t know when to shut up.
Hoggard also penned a column suggesting that this was Ted being Ted to the end.
Still reeling from the heat he took for his gamble with Watson, Bishop lashed out. It was signature Ted, unapologetic and unedited. The moment exposed Bishop’s central weaknesses, the lack of a pause button and an unwavering belief in his own course.
History will not be kind to Bishop, not his principled stand against the USGA’s move on anchoring, not the olive branch he extended north to the PGA Tour that has brought the two organizations closer than they have been in years, and certainly not his attempt to wrest the U.S. Ryder Cup team out of a slide that has now been extended to eight losses in the last 10 matches.
He was Ted to the very end.
In this site’s poll, the Not Sure Many Are Paying Attention voters are at 53% while the Yes, this is another embarrassing fiasco ranks are at 43% with over 300 votes cast so far.
**The LPGA has issued this statement, which implies that had Ted Bishop served out his final month, the game would have taken a step backwards.
LPGA STATEMENT ON PGA OF AMERICA/TED BISHOP
The PGA of America’s quick and decisive action sent a strong message - reinforcing a consistent belief that with so many positive gains being made among golf’s leading organizations, there is simply no room, nor willingness, to take a step backwards.