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Books
  • Lines of Charm: Brilliant And Irreverent Quotes, Notes, And Anecdotes from Golf's Golden Age Architects
    Lines of Charm: Brilliant And Irreverent Quotes, Notes, And Anecdotes from Golf's Golden Age Architects
  • The Future of Golf: How Golf Lost Its Way and How to Get It Back
    The Future of Golf: How Golf Lost Its Way and How to Get It Back
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • Grounds for Golf: The History and Fundamentals of Golf Course Design
    Grounds for Golf: The History and Fundamentals of Golf Course Design
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • The Art of Golf Design
    The Art of Golf Design
    by Michael Miller, Geoff Shackelford
  • Alister MacKenzie's Cypress Point Club
    Alister MacKenzie's Cypress Point Club
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • The Golden Age of Golf Design
    The Golden Age of Golf Design
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • The Good Doctor Returns: A Novel
    The Good Doctor Returns: A Novel
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • Masters of the Links: Essays on the Art of Golf and Course Design
    Masters of the Links: Essays on the Art of Golf and Course Design
  • The Captain: George C. Thomas Jr. and His Golf Architecture
    The Captain: George C. Thomas Jr. and His Golf Architecture
    by Geoff Shackelford
Current Reading
  • The Golf Book: Twenty Years of the Players, Shots, and Moments That Changed the Game
    The Golf Book: Twenty Years of the Players, Shots, and Moments That Changed the Game
    by Chris Millard
  • The Forbidden Game: Golf and the Chinese Dream
    The Forbidden Game: Golf and the Chinese Dream
    by Dan Washburn
  • The Early Days of Pinehurst
    The Early Days of Pinehurst
    by Chris Buie
  • Arnie, Seve, and a Fleck of Golf History: Heroes, Underdogs, Courses, and Championships
    Arnie, Seve, and a Fleck of Golf History: Heroes, Underdogs, Courses, and Championships
    by Bill Fields
  • The Magnificent Masters: Jack Nicklaus, Johnny Miller, Tom Weiskopf, and the 1975 Cliffhanger at Augusta
    The Magnificent Masters: Jack Nicklaus, Johnny Miller, Tom Weiskopf, and the 1975 Cliffhanger at Augusta
    by Gil Capps
  • His Ownself: A Semi-Memoir
    His Ownself: A Semi-Memoir
    by Dan Jenkins
Classics
  • Golf Architecture in America: Its Strategy and Construction
    Golf Architecture in America: Its Strategy and Construction
    by Geo. C. Thomas
  • The Course Beautiful : A Collection of Original Articles and Photographs on Golf Course Design
    The Course Beautiful : A Collection of Original Articles and Photographs on Golf Course Design
    Treewolf Prod
  • Reminiscences Of The Links
    Reminiscences Of The Links
    by Albert Warren Tillinghast, Richard C. Wolffe, Robert S. Trebus, Stuart F. Wolffe
  • Gleanings from the Wayside
    Gleanings from the Wayside
    by Albert Warren Tillinghast
  • Planet Golf USA: The Definitive Reference to Great Golf Courses in America
    Planet Golf USA: The Definitive Reference to Great Golf Courses in America
    by Darius Oliver
  • Planet Golf: The Definitive Reference to Great Golf Courses Outside the United States of America
    Planet Golf: The Definitive Reference to Great Golf Courses Outside the United States of America
    by Darius Oliver
Writing And Videos

Imagine, for instance, a repetition of eighteen holes, all of the supreme excellence of the most exceptional hole we can think of at the moment - the Seventeenth at St. Andrews. The strain of it all! Eighteen tee shots of the same intensity or eighteen approaches which courted disaster in the same dire form. It would to a certainty break our hearts and leave us nervous wrecks or golf lunatics in real earnest.  TOM SIMPSON

 

    

Tuesday
Oct282014

Chairman Payne: They're Just Better Athletes

Sounds like someone has been spending too much time around Chief Inspector Dawson!

In an interview to Brett Ogle while Down Under for the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship, Augusta National Chairman suggested that we've had it all wrong in thinking equipment has driven spikes in distance that has forced the home of the Masters to add 500 yards, mow fairways grown longer than they'd like toward tees to create ball-roll slowing grain, buy neighboring property for new tees, and plant absurd looking pine trees at the course where Bobby Jones made it evident trees were not to be used as a hazard.

Nope, apparently it's all in the genes and workout programs of today's golfers, who unlike schlubby types from the past like Jack Nicklaus or Gary Player, are much stronger today.

Thanks to the Aussie Golfer for transcribing a Fox Sports interview:

“You know the kids keep getting longer. I really think for a four or five-year period we blamed it on the equipment,” Payne said. “I really think it’s the conditioning of these young kids.”

“You know they come to the game now much more athletic than they were in the past.”

Apparently the Chairman hasn't seen PGA Tour rookie of 2014 Chesson Hadley and his skin and bones averaging 291.8 off the tee! Or...oh why bother. It doesn't matter.

What matters is that Augusta National has to resort to measures it should not have to all to allow manufacturers to claim they are selling you something longer and straighter than ever. Is it really working for anyone at this point?

Tuesday
Oct282014

Window Into PGA Of America's Thinking: "Teachable Moment"

Given that no major women's organizations ever denounced the "lil girl" Tweet and even more lame Facebook posting of Ted Bishop, or saw fit to praise the PGA of America for removing the organization's volunteer president with one month to go in a lameduck presidency, the below "Governance Statement" making the email rounds could be seen as a brilliant piece of foresight by the author and sent to all of the PGA of America's board of directors and officers.

Or, a case could be made that the PGA of America jumped the gun in a ploy to make the organization relevant and seemingly progressive, when the organization seems even less so to very many after besmirching a reputation by handing out the death penalty for shoplifting.

I'll let you decide.

GOVERNANCE STATEMENT ON REMOVAL OF PGA PRESIDENT TED BISHOP

On October 24th, 2014, the PGA of America Board of Directors followed Constitutional requirements for an emergency situation that it was faced with due to the gender-based insensitive comments and policy breach published by former President Ted Bishop on social media on October 23rd. The Board acted quickly and decisively because these intensely public comments were directly opposed to our mission to grow the game through inclusion, diversity and accessibility. Based on this situation, the Board moved swiftly to mitigate the damage caused to the reputation of the Association.

In this case, there was ongoing communication among Board members and PGA executive staff throughout the day on October 24th. The PGA’s stated mission for diversity and inclusion for all individuals is a paramount principle of the Association, and any statements made by the PGA President are deemed to reflect the will of the Association and all of its members

Ultimately, Mr. Bishop was offered the opportunity to resign his position, but he declined. During a conference call held shortly thereafter, in which Mr. Bishop participated, the Board unanimously voted to remove Mr. Bishop from office. Shortly thereafter, the PGA informed all of its national and Section leadership, membership and media of this decision, through a formal release.

Due to Mr. Bishop’s removal from office, the PGA Bylaws prohibit him from

serving on the Board of Directors in the role of Honorary President, nor will he be granted the rights and privileges of a PGA Past President. Mr. Bishop will always be recognized as the 38th President of the PGA of America, and his record of service during this time period will remain intact.

Mr. Bishop also retains his status as a member of the PGA of America, therefore enabling him to enjoy the same rights and privileges of all PGA members, including the ability to attend events put on by the PGA.

It is important to note that the Board of Directors took a clear and decisive action. It was the right thing to do, and it demonstrates the critical leadership role that the PGA must play in the game at all levels.

The role of the office of President of the PGA of America is to represent the membership and further the mission of the organization.  The statements made by Ted Bishop were not a sentiment that represented the viewpoint of the Association and it was in direct conflict with our very mission of growing the game across all communities.

In fact, those remarks made on social media completely contradict the strong actions our organization has recently taken to create more opportunities for girls and women in the game. We have made significant strides in many ways to be more welcoming, inclusive and diverse including the creation of the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship scheduled for next summer, the rapid growth of PGA Junior League Golf, and the early success of the Drive, Chip & Putt Championship.

Just last week, the PGA hosted the 3rd annual Sports Diversity & Inclusion Summit, with eight other major sports organizations in attendance. To have led such an important gathering and, within 24 hours, not have acted the way we did through the removal of our President, would have made the PGA look hypocritical and completely out of touch.

On a Friday in the fall when people are going to high school football games, carnivals, Octoberfests and college weekends, here's guessing most of the world's population was not going to couple the Diversity & Inclusion Summit with a Ted Bishop Tweet. I know, big limb there.

We likely would be facing intense scrutiny far beyond the world of golf had we not moved at a rapid pace.

Well, that is correct in the sense no one increased scrutiny of your financial statements of board make up or membership make-up. I'll even predict that the PGA of America and PGA Tour will continue to be confused my most major media outlets outside of the sport. Another limb!

Instead, our swift action has been roundly applauded by the LPGA and KPMG, our partners in the upcoming KPMG Women’s PGA Championship.  In their public statement, the LPGA noted, “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.”

In addition, Christine Brennan, a highly regarded sports columnist for USA Today, tweeted the following: “A top male sports official is ousted over sexist remarks. First time I've ever written that sentence.”

She also told Golf Channel: “I would now say that golf is now a leader in the fight for women and sports.  And we couldn’t have said that 48 hours ago.  That’s how big of a watershed moment this is.”

Watershed moment? "I have to go now, Duane, because I, I'm due back on the planet Earth."

These highly influential external forces, both in our game and outside it, see the PGA doing the right thing. Being a forceful leader in an area where our game has had a very checkered past.

It is important that I remind you that members of both the national board and section boards are entrusted with the unique position of responsibility to represent their constituencies with every statement they make.

So, Board members, officers and senior staff of all levels of the PGA must exercise prudent judgment when making any public statement because those statements, whether we like it or not, are directly attributed to the organization and to the membership of the PGA as a whole. That responsibility is taken very seriously.

Simply put, there is a heightened sensitivity and responsibility to statements made by the members of leadership groups because of the far-reaching ramifications of the statements. That is abundantly clear from the events of October 23rd and 24th.

The events of October 23rd and 24th? You mean the things that happened in the world that actually mattered and actually changed lives, like a school shooting and Ebola news? Those events?

We have all heard of the term “teachable moment,” and this certainly qualifies as such. But it’s not just a teachable moment for PGA leadership – it is for everyone associated with the PGA of America. The words we say and write, especially with the enormous power of social media, can shape opinions and, in some cases, can define careers. And often in very negative ways.  As we learned in this instance, it can cost you your position.

Does anyone really think this was a teachable moment, other than to teach the PGA's volunteer officers to stay off of social media?

As leaders of the game, whether from a national stage or as you drive the game at your facility, PGA Professionals must remember that you are held to the highest levels of professionalism and integrity, and you must always act to uphold those levels.

A separate PR document sent to the various directors, officers and "others" was labeled "Ted Bishop Removed Pushbuttons."

Pushbuttons!

That folks, is your new piece of jargon for today! And who says this site is not educational?

Some of the key "pushbuttons":

Q.    Why did the Board of Directors take this action?

A.    The board felt that the comments made through social media violated the PGA of America Code of Ethics Bylaws.

Any PGA members out there the by-law "Code of Ethics" that address Bishop's Tweet? Please post.

Q.    What gives the Board of Directors the authority to take such an action?

A.    The Constitution of the PGA of America is very clear with regard to the Board of Director’s authority to take action due to an emergency situation in the best interest of the Association.

Emergency? Were lives in danger?

Q:    How is Ted Bishop’s comment different than other similar comments about women that often go unnoticed and unpunished?

A.    Context and responsibility of the role is critical to consider. We cannot comment on the statements that any other organization or individual makes. The role of the office of President of the PGA of America is to represent the membership and further the mission of the organization. The statements made by Ted Bishop were not a sentiment that represented the viewpoint of the Association and it was in direct conflict with the very mission of the PGA of America of growing the game across all communities.      

I feel so much better now that the game will grow. Though it would have been fun to blame Ted Bishop for golf's continued lack of diversity and gender imbalance for the next 20 years.

Q:     Was this the last straw? Is this one of many moves Ted made that angered the Board?

A:    Ted always been an outspoken President, that has not changed.  The Board’s decision was based solely on the insensitive gender based comments Ted made on social media last week.

Well at least we got that part of this cleared up. No double secret probation for Ted. That in itself is shocking.

Tuesday
Oct282014

Ex-Captain Gallacher: America In A Ryder Cup “Panic”

Derek Lawrenson talks to former European Ryder Cup Captain Bernard Gallacher about the 65-year-olds' health (he’s recovered from a massive heart attack) and about the post-Ryder Cup fall-out.

Gallagher sees an American side not as far off from competing for the cup as it thinks but one that needs to drop the task forces and just bring in golf’s Zenmaster in 2016.

‘It will swing back America’s way if they don’t panic but that’s exactly what they seem to be doing,’ he said. ‘The task force just looks a publicity stunt to me. They lost the Ryder Cup because they lost the foursomes matches 7-1. How’s a task force going to help on that?’

Tuesday
Oct282014

GCSAA: Dan Jenkins To Receive The Old Tom Morris Award

Naturally, the Ancient Twitterer had a witty line ready to go for the press release acceptance:

"I'm honored to win this award, especially named for a guy who I'm almost as old as," Jenkins quipped in reference to Old Tom Morris. "It's terrific. I didn't know a lot about grass, but I knew a lot of superintendents all around town. The profession has made a lot of progress. Courses nowadays are so consistently wonderful with all the things they can do with them."

Tuesday
Oct282014

Video: Bishop Says PGA Legacy Now "Flushed down the toilet"

GolfChannel.com's Will Gray sums up the timeline presented by Ted Bishop regarding his downfall from the PGA of America and it matches up with the events as presented in Jaime Diaz's Golf World story yesterday.

The most dramatic moments came in the final few minutes of the interview with Gary Williams, where Bishop bluntly sums up what his comments mean for his legacy (text version here) and friendships. (Video of parts one and two of the interview below.)

"The remorse I feel is because it potentially wipes out a lot of really good work that I've done over my career with women," he said. "It's painful because it's taken a lot of things that I've done and put them down the drain."

Bishop explained that he was given three reasons for his removal by PGA vice president Derek Sprague, now the organization's interim president: negative media feedback, potential damage to relationships with sponsors and an "outpouring" of negative responses from PGA members following Bishop's comments.

That's the first time I've seen a suggestion that the PGA's corporate partner relationships might be damaged. Many of you have sent me debatable sexist hypocrisy by PGA partners and I've resisted posting them since sponsors and partners have not been cited previously. Let's see if that defense is wheeled out before we start going down that road!

Back to Bishop.

"I could have done some PSAs for the PGA that would have helped educate people on the correct usage of social media and been an outspoken advocate for women's rights in the game," he said.

Golf needs as many new PSA’s as it needs task forces Task Forces.

More sad knowing how well they got along is the assertion of Bishop that he'll probably never speak with incoming PGA President Derek Sprague or CEO Pete Bevacqua as a result of the PGA Board of Directors' actions.

Instead, he was removed by the board of directors - impeached, according to Bishop - and stripped of the privileges typically bestowed upon past presidents when they leave office. After speaking on a daily basis during his tenure with Sprague and PGA CEO Pete Bevacqua, Bishop believes those relationships are also casualties of the situation.

"I'll probably never talk to those guys again the rest of my life," he said. "I'll probably never see them again the rest of my life."

And his closing comments made and showing obvious emotion...

"When I wake up at 2:30-3 a.m. and I can't sleep, it's because I look at the things I feel like I've done in my career, for my girls, for women from Day 1, and I think these things, they're flushed down the toilet," he said. "And that's going to be my legacy. That's it. That's the situation I created for myself."

The part one video:

Part two:

Monday
Oct272014

State Of The Game Podcast 47: Dan Washburn & China

After an exclusive three week tour of Europe, Scandinavia and the sub continent, State of the Game is back!

We're going to try and record a news-driven episode later in the week but with big men's events heading to China the next few weeks and his stellar new book to talk about, we welcomed Dan Washburn. Dan is a recovering journalist now working for the Asia Society out of Brooklyn. However his embedded account of life in China focusing on three men whose lives are tied to the golf industry is not only a fascinating look into the strange golf explosion, but a breezy, enlightening way to learn about life in China.

I recently got to hear Dan speak at USC when he was in town promoting the book and was thrilled to get him on State of the Game. You can check out Dan's book and website here, and buy it here at Amazon,

As for the show, you can listen to the MP3 here, listen here, subscribe to the show via iTunes here and listen to episode 47 here on iTunes.

Monday
Oct272014

Video: Juggling Finnish Juniors And Their Amazing Wedge Work

Hat tip to GolfChannel.com's Jason Crook for not waiting until #TrickShotThursday to share this video of the Jaakko Lahtela and Perre Papaunen strutting their stuff to R.L. Burnside's edgy "It's Bad You Know."

The first minute or so these Finnish dudes show off some nice moves that a master juggler like Tiger might admire, but like any great showmen, it's minute two where they show their act is ready for primetime.

Monday
Oct272014

Rio Judge: 5 Days To Decide To Move 3 Olympic Course Holes

The farce that is Rio de Janeiro, where the 2016 Olympic Golf Course was fully permitted until someone decided it wasn't, continues as Judge Eduardo Antonio Klausner has ruled that the city and developer have five days upon publication of his decision to decide if they plan to relocate three holes or else face a project shutdown.

AP's Tales Azzoni reports on the judge's unpublished decision that would require the moving of holes 12, 14 and 15 for a nature corridor.

The judge wants to know if they agree to "immediately" move three holes and redesign part of the course to make way for a wildlife corridor that will help preserve a local nature reserve, a demand made by local prosecutors.

The public prosecutor's office is taking on the city government and the golf course developer in a lawsuit that contends environmental rules were breached in building the course, which had been billed as one of the highlights of the Rio Games.

In the decision announced Monday, judge Eduardo Antonio Klausner denied a request to give more time for the two sides to negotiate and said the city and the developer have five days to confirm whether or not they'll re-design the disputed sections of the course.

Monday
Oct272014

Another Bishop Roundup: Diaz Details Timeline, NY Times Finally Chimes In, Silence Of Women's Organizations Questioned

Golf World's Jaime Diaz does a super job in tracking down the various parties involved in Ted Bishop's removal as PGA President, including Bishop.

Most interesting was the revelation that incoming PGA President Derek Sprague gave Bishop the chance "to save your career, save your reputation" by resigning before forcible removal. However, the outcome of either resignation or removal would have been the same: Bishop would be on permanent persona non grata status at the PGA of America. So it was a bit like getting the choice between the electric chair or lethal injection. Bishop chose to make his case before the Board of Directors, who Diaz says voted unanimously to oust the president with 29 days remaining in his term.

From Diaz's Golf World story:

Rather than resign, he decided to make a statement to the 21-person board in a 4 p.m. teleconference. "I apologized to the board, reiterated that I had very much wanted to make a public apology. And I said I don't think the punishment fits the crime. And that doesn't mean I don't have remorse for what I did. Trust me, I abused my platform. I know I made a huge mistake. I'm the first to say that. I let my personal feelings for two guys get in my way, and used a bad choice of words in trying to convey my frustration."

The statement was over in five minutes. Bishop says he received no feedback or comments, recused himself from further proceedings and hung up. About an hour later, after sources say the vote came in with no votes in favor of Bishop retaining office, Sprague called Bishop, urging him to resign. "If I do that, I make it easy for the PGA of America," Bishop said he answered.

In a New York Times story headlined "Playing Like a Girl? It’s About Time" and featuring the subheader "Ted Bishop's Comments Demonstrate Golf's Persistent Sexism," golf writer Karen Crouse says the golf establishment's slow reaction to Bishop's comments proved "telling." This was the Times' first original story on the matter even though Bishop's fatal missives went out last Thursday.

It took the paper of record four days to write about this episode, well after some of the slowpokes chimed in. So what does that make the New York Times then?

Crouse opines:

When Bishop chose to disparage one man, the English golfer Ian Poulter, on Twitter by calling him a “little girl,” he effectively demeaned all women, including his own two daughters and granddaughter.

Bishop's daughters spoke to Golf World's Tim Rosaforte Saturday and stood by their father.

Over at ESPN.com their golf correspondents chimed in, with Michael Collins points out the baffling silence from major women's organizations in either denouncing Bishop or in issuing endorsements of the decision by the PGA Board of Directors. He also notes how few golfers were willing to go on the record denouncing Bishop.

Bishop is appearing live on Morning Drive Tuesday. For Immediate Release:

FORMER PGA OF AMERICA PRESIDENT TED BISHOP LIVE ON MORNING DRIVE TUESDAY IN FIRST

TELEVISION INTERVIEW SINCE REMOVAL FROM OFFICE

 ORLANDO, Fla., Oct. 27, 2014 –Ted Bishop will join Morning Drive (7-9 a.m. ET) live and in-studio on Tuesday morning for his first television interview since being removed as president of the PGA of America.  The PGA of America board of directors on Friday voted to remove Bishop from office for insensitive gender-based statements he posted Thursday on social media. 

Morning Drive co-host Gary Williams will conduct the interview with Bishop, who is scheduled to appear on the show during the 8 a.m. ET hour.

 

Monday
Oct272014

Crazy Elie Putterer Claims He Made It On The First Try

In case you didn't see last week's posting at The Loop about "Greg" making the longest four-footer in golf history, I don't want to spoil the ending, so watch here.

Nicola Love
follows up with 21-year-old Greg Walker who explains that the crazy putt, at nearly 2.5 million views, was a dare from his dad who did the filming (believable since only a dad would frame it vertically).

"I really didn't think it would go in," he laughed. "It was a pure fluke."

Greg says he has been astonished at how quickly the video has gone viral.

He added: "I thought the video would get a few views... but I never expected so many people to watch it."

Greg studied professional golfing at college before becoming director of Golfing Links, a business he runs with his father.

Sunday
Oct262014

Shocker: Task Force Likely To Meet Around Tiger's Schedule!

Rex Hoggard talks to Davis Love about the upcoming PGA of America Ryder Cup task force Task Force meetings and while I thought one already happened, it seems the first will be in early December (when Tiger resurfaces for his Hero World Challenge) and in February at Torrey Pines (when Tiger resurfaces in California for the Farmers Insurance Open).

Hoggard writes:

While some have dismissed the task force as an overreaction to the U.S. team’s five-point loss in Scotland, Love considers it a step in the right direction.

“What does (PGA Tour commissioner) Tim Finchem do when the U.S. wins the Presidents Cup? The players say they want Freddie (Couples) back and they get Freddie again,” Love said. “What we need is continuity year after year after year.”

When the task force was created earlier this month, officials said the panel’s job was to address every aspect of the Ryder Cup, from how the teams and future captains are picked to the logistics and schedule during the matches.

Sunday
Oct262014

Clarifying The Terms Of Ted Bishop's PGA Death Sentence

(Expedited) outgoing PGA President Ted Bishop's term ends a month or so early and with the PGA of America's decision to remove the president over social media playground talk gone awry, Bishop suggested that he will be essentially expunged from the record books.

Clarification requested by yours truly from the PGA of America spokesman Julius Mason:

Ted will enjoy the same rights and privileges of all PGA members, including the ability to attend PGA of America events. He will continue to be recognized as the 38th President of the PGA, and his record of service during the time period which he served will remain intact. Due to his removal from office, he will not serve on the Board of Directors in the role of Honorary President, nor will he be granted the rights and privileges of a Past President in our governance structure.

Life without the possibility of parole.

Technically Ted is not expunged from the record books.

And Ted can use his PGA card for free admittance to the PGA Championship, though discounts at Dick's Sporting Goods likely aren't on the radar. But he will not be the immediate past president and board member, nor will he be invited as part of those PGA of America entourages so beloved by Phil Mickelson that the former PGA champ flies separately to overseas Ryder Cups.

Bishop will have his name on the various listings in PGA programs or at headquarters, but he is persona non-grata going forward.

I'm sticking with overkill.

Meanwhile a few of you have asked who the PGA Board of Directors were that made this decision.

The group (click to enlarge):

Sunday
Oct262014

Chairman Billy Payne Loves Royal Melbourne!

With the successful conclusion of the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship and another Masters invite secured, this time for 19-year-old Antonio Murdaca, Chairman Billy Payne took to the press room podium with extras from an episode of Inspector Morse...oh wait, with R&A Chief Inspector Peter Dawson and someone else to express what a great time they had Down Under.

Rod Morri reports on the good time had by all in the green jacket entourage.

“I know I speak for every gentleman here in a green jacket,” he said, “we have found a place that we would like to call a second home.

“And I would, therefore, predict that you will definitely see this championship return to Australia in the not too distant future."

Martin Blake on the winner and his hopes for April.

The clip:

Saturday
Oct252014

Ted Bishop Removalgate Roundup 2: "By any reasonable measure, the punishment didn’t fit the crime."

As far as brouhahas go, the PGA of America board's ouster of outgoing president Ted Bishop over a social media screw-up feels like it should transition from the absurd phase (banishment for life!) to the farcical (say, fast-forwarding Suzy Whaley to president...tomorrow!).

Except, there is one complication.

It seems few are willing to cooperate, as Jay Coffin highlights in a column pointing out the number of women who are refusing to affirm the decision to not only remove Bishop for his final month from the volunteer position as PGA president, but to expunge the past and future of Bishop even though he steered the PGA of America into a direction acknowledging half of the population relentlessly ignored by the organization. Could it be that these women recognize the excess of the decision? That on the list of sexist moments in golf, this comes no-where close to Fred Funk dawning a skirt or Wilson putting out blatantly sexist ads to sell golf balls? Or the R&A taking until 2014 to vote to accept women, kicking and screaming?

Golf Channel made attempts to reach several of the most respected women in the game and nearly all did not feel comfortable enough to comment.

Everyone else? Radio silence.

Mostly though, what I really wanted were strong women’s voices for my daughter to hear. I wanted her to have a chance to find a new role model because someone stood up to a powerful organization to say enough is enough. It’s an important issue to me as a father and it makes me wonder if it’s a big deal to women. Right now, I’m not certain. Perhaps my moral compass needs to be recalibrated, but I expected more from women’s leadership.

Actually, the silence could be seen as a reaffirmation of leadership, regardless of gender. Could it be they are quietly saying this isn't the right incident and right target to eradicate blatant sexism?

On that point, Tim Rosaforte reached out to Bishop's daughters, who spoke to GolfDigest.com exclusively. Both work in the golf business and put a brave face on what must be a bizarro circumstance to be dealing with in such a short time. Because regardless of how you feel about the man or is inability to come up with a non-sexist metaphor (twice!) on social media, he is a proud dad and husband whose daughters work in the golf business.

“I’m 32 years old, and never once in 32 years has he ever hinted or made a derogatory comment or a suggestion about women,” said Ambry Bishop. “This is a tough day. He’s done nothing but empower me and promote me to be the most successful person, type of person I’m trying to be.”
 
It was a tough day for Ambry Bishop more as a PGA member than golf coach. She learned of her father’s email through members of her team, all of whom, she said, were supportive. She talked about her father’s support of girls’ junior golf, her high school team and the college team she coaches.
 
“This is a tough pill to swallow,” she said. “Yeah, looking back on it, he could have chosen better words. It’s important for people to know that’s not the type of person he is.”
 
Davidson concurred. I spoke to her Friday afternoon, just after Bishop was impeached by a vote of the PGA’s Board of Directors. “He’s not a sexist person," Davidson said. "He doesn’t make those kind of remarks." Davidson had a good handle on the type of personality that led to his demise.
 
“I love my dad, and I know he is an honest man that sometimes says things that later he’s sorry for -- and I’m sure he feels that way now,” she said. “But he does care what people think. This kind of stuff tears him down.”

Rosaforte put the GolfDigest.com item into more context during a Morning Drive chat with Gary Williams and Damon Hack.

I also spoke to the Morning Drive team and shared my view that this punishment is not reflective of the crime, and that my views were shaped in part by the comments here or Twitter feedback. While you can disagree all you want with Bishop, and he and I had our share of big differences, he was a change agent for a stale organization. I tried to point out that it will be hard to attract unique personalities to these volunteer positions if this punishment remains the outcome.

Alex Miceli also questions the PGA of America's decision and puts on his law degree-infused cap to question whether "this swift judgment truly was a fair judgment."

Bishop’s past accomplishments or failures should not be part of the decision-making process. The single incident regarding Poulter was all that should have been judged. By any reasonable measure, the punishment didn’t fit the crime.

Foolish – even stupid – statements need to be addressed. And there is no question that the reference to Poulter as a little girl was both, but to strip a person of his office and his legacy was too harsh.

If Bishop had been suspended for the monthlong remainder of his term, the message still would have been the same and he could have left the office with dignity.

Miceli also talked to new president Derek Sprague, who called it a “dark day” for the PGA of America. No disagreement there!

I can’t disagree with Brad Klein’s Golfweek.com assessment condemning Bishop, but as his colleague Miceli points out, were the actions take by the PGA of America board productive for combating sexism in golf? So far I'd say the opposite, that they've emboldened those who weren't even opposition to oppose any teaching moments that might come out of this.

Bishop took pride in stirring the pot, but too often the pot was a side dish that had nothing to do with what actual PGA pros do for a living every day. When you grandstand and indulge selfies in the face of a stressed rank and file, they begin to see through the boldness and construe it instead as narcissism.

The Telegraph's James Corrigan, who a day ago lampooned Bishop, sounds almost sympathetic to the man's plight after hearing of Bishop's permanent removal from PGA activities and the LPGA's statement celebrating the news.

This was as quick and as complete a fall from grace as any official in the game’s long history. In a couple of clicks on to Twitter and Facebook - in which he lambasted Poulter for daring to criticise the Ryder Cup captaincies of Sir Nick Faldo and Tom Watson - Bishop signed his own P45, as well his own excommunication order from the game’s corridors of power.

However, far from feeling any empathy with Bishop, a controversial, outspoken character who always polarised opinion, the LPGA Tour on Saturday welcomed his ousting.

Rex Hoggard says it was "strangely apropos that Poulter would play a bit part in Bishop’s downfall considering the Englishman’s checkered history on Twitter" and takes the opportunity to spread some blame here to social media.

While it seems unlikely Bishop’s insensitive remarks would have been dulled had he said it, for example, during a radio or television interview, that doesn’t change the reality that there are no emoticons that are able to flawlessly convey context.

“If it was a bit of banter, that goes on in the locker room all the time. This is the problem with Twitter. When things are not said face to face they get blown up,” Padraig Harrington said.

“I’m quite sure Ian Poulter has been called a little girl plenty of times in his life and he has retorted. But clearly Ted Bishop is in an important position and you have to be careful what you tweet when you are in that position.”

Hoggard is on site at the McGladrey Classic and talked to PGA Tour players who weren’t wild about the PGA Board of Directors' decision.

The PGA board of directors probably forget how much capital Bishop built up with players thanks to his support of the PGA Tour's opposition to the anchored putting ban and for forging better relations between the PGAs. Hoggard also talked to many club pros/PGA members, and reports that while they weren't always thrilled with Bishop, they questioned pushing the president out with only a month to go and for life. Me too.

Saturday
Oct252014

Video: Will MacKenzie's Slam Dunk Ace That He Didn't See

Billy Hurley dunked one at Silverado two weeks ago and now Will MacKenzie has done it at Sea Island's 174-yard 6th.

And he didn't even know it.

Saturday
Oct252014

Masters On Line: Murdaca Takes 8-Stroke Lead Into AAC Finale

Martin Blake is on the scene at Royal Melbourne where Antonio Murdaca of Australia leads the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship by eight heading into the final day.

A spot in the Masters is on the line for the Adelaide native.


Friday
Oct242014

Round-Up: Bishop Removed As PGA Of America President

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.

Friday
Oct242014

Instant Poll: Do comments like Ted Bishop's "lil girl" remark reflect poorly on golf?

Golf Channel has extensively covered the social media blunder of outgoing PGA of America president Ted Bishop on their various platforms.

Brandel Chamblee took on both Bishop and Ian Poulter, calling the English golf star a “cyber bully.” Chamblee said he was surprised Bishop had not resigned by this morning, and at the very least, issue a more extensive apology.

Jason Sobel, while noting Bishop's strong views on the R&A finally admitting women, was even less kind.

Instead, it will unceremoniously mark the end of a narcissistic reign during which the PGA president curiously infused himself as part of the regular news cycle. It will remain as a lasting memory of a presidency that featured too much face time, too much self-absorption and too many ill-fated decisions.

The Telegraph's James Corrigan gets to what is the golf issue in this, Bishop’s continued anger over criticism of Tom Watson as Ryder Cup captain.

Therein those pathetic jibes lie the reason why he chose Watson. Bishop believed that Watson would be a great captain simply because he was a great player. Fortunately in 2008, Faldo had rid Europe of this absurd notion.

So the US had an out-of-touch veteran at the helm, who thought he could inspire his players just by being the legend he is, and Europe had Paul McGinley in charge, never a great player, but a man who had put so much work into being a great captain. McGinley showed up Bishop's folly and the president is evidently still bristling.

Golfweek.com's Andy Zunz sums up the reaction of a few golfers and a caddy on Twitter and most took a more subtle mocking tone.

The poll:

Do comments like Ted Bishop's "lil girl" remark reflect poorly on golf?
 
pollcode.com free polls

Thursday
Oct232014

“Immigrants on the fence, expulsions and a game of golf."

Reuters picked up a powerful image by activist José Palazón of the rights group Pro.De.In Melilla showing a golfer hitting a tee shot as African migrants crawl over a border fence during an attempted move into Spanish territories between Morocco and Spain's Melilla.

It's a powerful image explained by Palazon in this Guardian piece:

“It seemed like a good moment to take a photo that was a bit more symbolic. The photo reflects the situation really well – the differences that exist here and all the ugliness that is happening here,” he told El País newspaper.

Each year thousands of Africans – many of whom have spent years travelling across north and sub-Saharan Africa – try to reach Europe by making it past the fortified fence that separates Morocco from the Spanish enclaves of Melilla and Ceuta. Many of them spend months living in makeshift camps on the Moroccan side, waiting for the opportunity to rush the fence.

Thursday
Oct232014

15th Minute: PGA Prez Bishop Calls Poulter "Lil girl"

PGA of America Ted Bishop may have stayed around a few minutes too long even though a case could be made that he's had a very successful presidency in re-establishing the PGA's relevance.

Reminding the governing bodies of the everyday man's desire to anchor putters, introducing more women-friendly initiatives, making the bold choice to select Tom Watson as Ryder Cup captain and leaving the PGA of America in a better place than he found it certainly made his presidency interesting and in my view, a largely positive one.

That said, Tweeting and then Facebooking a jab at majorless autobiographer Ian Poulter about his lack of respect for his major-winning elders was within reason. But delving into petty sexism? That was beneath the president.

John Strege reports Bishop's since-deleted missives. The Facebook post was the most elaborate (pictured here) and suggested Poulter sounded like "a little school girl squealing during recess." That will not win metaphor of the year.

Will Gray also recounts the entire Thursday afternoon saga with both deleted posts and features an exclusive response from Poulter.

"Is being called a "lil girl" meant to be derogatory or a put down?" Poulter told Golf Channel. "That's pretty shocking and disappointing, especially coming from the leader of the PGA of America. No further comment."

Poulter also Tweeted this:

In an unbylined AP story, Bishop attempted a clarification of sorts via email:

Bishop said in an email Thursday night to The Associated Press, "Obviously I could have selected some different ways to express my thoughts on Poulter's remarks. Golf had always been a sport where respect was shown to its icons. That seems to have gone by the wayside."

Or maybe in the 21st century the icons need to continue to behave like gentlemen even after they've earned icon status by getting their ball into a hole fewer times than others at one of four events designated a "major"? Just thinking out loud here...

According to Gray, PGA of America spokesman Julius Mason issued a short statement: “Ted realized that his post was inappropriate and promptly removed it.”

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