Apparently Ted Bishop’s departure as the PGA of America president couldn’t wait just one more month.
Following a dramatic series of events, exchanges and regrets worthy of daytime television, Ted Bishop was officially axed from his position with the PGA of America following a series of social media posts that put the 60-year-old president in the crosshairs of offended fans, players, and PGA board members.
The ousting of Ted – an act set in motion by controversial Twitter and Facebook messages dispatched by Bishop himself – occurred less than 24 hours from the regrettable insults that were directed toward professional golfer and formerly Cobra and Puma sponsored, Ian Poulter. The athlete, who was surprisingly reticent about Bishop’s comments, had criticized Nick Faldo in his recently published autobiography. Faldo, Team Europe’s 2008 Ryder Cup captain, and Bishop happen to be close friends. Once Bishop caught wind of the swings that Poulter had taken toward Faldo, the cyber gloves came off. Bishop took to Twitter and Facebook to post messages calling Poulter a “lil girl,” a move that he would later come to regret.
As quickly as this latest act in the world of professional golf has played itself out, many people are left wondering if Bishop’s ousting was really as simple as a matter of a few poorly chosen words that were released into cyberspace before being deleted by Bishop himself about an hour later. Some describe it as simply being “the last straw,” or even an excuse to mask much more complicated motives.
Was Ted Bishop’s behavior the final excuse that the PGA of America needed to finally put the president’s tenure behind the organization once and for all?
Walking A Fine Line
Ted Bishop’s stint as the president of the PGA of America can only be described as a rocky one. During his (nearly) two terms as the head of the association, Bishop made his stance clear on several issues – issues that had a tendency to go against the grain of the professional golfing establishment. Take the anchored putting debate, for example. Bishop’s opinion regarding the acceptability of anchored putters in professional golf was well known during a time where the PGA was feeling pressure from across the pond to go along with the new rules barring this particular practice.
Although the USGA is golf’s governing body here in the U.S., the PGA of America was still expected to express support for the new rule that goes into affect January 1st, 2016. Ted Bishop – while officially acknowledging the PGA’s support – was not happy with the decision to add the putting rule, especially in regards to the way it was applied to amateur golfers: The new rule does not allow for a grace period to ease the new standard into play.
Things got even worse for Bishop after Team USA’s loss during the 2014 Ryder Cup matches. Tom Watson – the American team captain that was handpicked by Bishop to take the reigns in Scotland – caught flack for several of the coaching decisions that he had made before the matches were even over, and it wasn’t long before all eyes were on Bishop, too.
Watson’s captaincy ended up being the kind of embarrassment that the PGA of America didn’t want, and when fingers start getting pointed, they usually end up pointing to the top.
Then came the final straw for the PGA of America board members. On Thursday, October 23rd, just a mere month away from the end of his two-year term, Ted Bishop was taking jabs via his social media accounts at Ian Poulter. By Friday night, Bishop was out of a job.
If anyone thinks that Bishop’s punishment seems a little harsh on the surface, the ex-president couldn’t agree more. In an interview with the Golf Channel’s “Morning Drive,” Bishop stated that, “I don’t think the punishment fits the crime,” while going on to say that a more appropriate punishment would have been a suspension from social media usage throughout the remainder of his term.
Apparently a few more weeks of President Ted Bishop was simply too long for the PGA of America board to wait.