Pros advice

Ted Bishop removed as PGA of America President following comments

The controversial social media posts made by Ted Bishop in regards to Ian Poulter has seen the PGA of America Board of Directors vote to remove him from office this past Friday – less than 24 hours after he made the comments.

Bishop was ousted after he took to his personal twitter account on Thursday to attack Ian Poulter for the Englishman’s criticisms of former Ryder Cup captain Nike Faldo, labelling Poulter a ‘lil girl.’ The posts have since been deleted.

Bishop also expressed his thoughts on Facebook, defending Tom Watson and Nick Faldo while comparing Poulter’s comments to that of a “little school girl squealing during recess.”

In a statement released by the PGA of America Board of Directors, it says the remarks were “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.”

Ted Bishop’s statement in full, following his removal as president:

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

Bishop’s twitter rant was in response to Ian Poulter’s new autobiography, titled No Limits: My Autobiography, in which he speaks angrily about Faldo’s on-air comments during the Ryder Cup, in which Faldo said Sergio Garcia was “useless” during the 2008 Ryder Cup.

"Sergio puts a brave face on it but the rest of the guys are fuming. I'm shocked that he has said it. It's highly disrespectful. It's a cheap shot and it's the worst possible timing,” the book reads. "It makes me laugh. Faldo is talking about someone being useless at the 2008 Ryder Cup. That's the Ryder Cup where he was captain. That's the Ryder Cup where the Europe team suffered a heavy defeat.

"And he was captain. So who's useless? Faldo might need to have a little look in the mirror. I have always got on great with Faldo in the past and I have a great deal of respect for everything he has achieved but this feels like sour grapes. It feels like a guy who is still bitter that he lost in 2008.

"Faldo has lost a lot of respect from players because of what he said. There were plenty of things a lot of the players were unhappy with at Valhalla but none of us criticised him. He may find that begins to change now."

The PGA of America explained that Bishop “realised that his post was inappropriate and promptly removed it,” with Bishop sending an email Thursday night to The Associated Press, saying: "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."

Poulter, who spoke of his disappointment at Bishop’s comments, later released a statement to Golf Channel saying: "Is being called a `lil girl' meant to be derogatory or a put down? That's pretty shocking and disappointing, especially coming from the leader of the PGA of America. No further comment."

For Bishop, whose two-year term as president was due to expire next month at the PGA annual meeting, will now need to keep his thoughts private in the future to avoid further rows from escalating in the same way this one has. Bishop was the man to choose Watson as the Ryder Cup captain this year, with the 65-year-old being the oldest in Ryder Cup history. He also recently announced a task force to help solve America’s recent losing streak in the Ryder Cup, so it will be interesting to see how that takes shape now that he is no longer part of the set-up.