The Local Knowlege

News & Tours

In wake of Poulter comments, PGA of America makes radical decision to remove Ted Bishop from office

Ted Bishop's tumultuous tenure as PGA of America president will not go the full two years. In the aftermath of Bishop's head-scratching comments about Ian Poulter, the PGA announced Friday that its Board of Directors had voted to remove Bishop from office with a little less than a month remaining in his term. Vice President Derek Sprague will take over as interim president until Nov. 22, when a previously scheduled election for Bishop's successor will take place and Sprague is expected to be elected to his own term as president.

Bishop, outspoken and more visible than any of his predecessors, was involved in a series of controversies during his time in office, from taking a hard stance against the USGA's anchoring ban, to making the bold -- and ultimately ill-fated -- decision to name Tom Watson the 2014 U.S. Ryder Cup captain. On Thursday, Bishop injected himself into a quarrel between Nick Faldo and Ian Poulter by calling Poulter a "lil girl". 


He later apologized, but the PGA of America, citing the "insensitive gender-based statement" apparently had enough.

In a statement released by Bishop on Friday evening, where he again apologized for his comments, he said that the PGA asked him to resign from his post but that he declined, instead wanting to apologize to the Board and "let due process take place in the matter." The Board then voted to remove him from office.

“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,” PGA of America CEO Pete Bevacqua said.

Bishop said that in addition to being removed from office, the PGA of America has told him he would not be allowed to become the Honorary President or be recognized as a Past President. "Today, all I have left is my PGA membership and that will always mean the world to me," Bishop said

The full statement from the PGA is below.

PGA Vice President Derek Sprague Named Interim PGA President
PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. (October 24, 2014) - 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.”

... Read
News & Tours

From the looks of it, Ted Bishop's apology tour could get a little bumpy

Ted Bishop has shown during his tenure as PGA of America president he knows how to stoke the flames of controversy. With less than a month left in his two-year term, he now must demonstrate he's also capable of putting out a self-ignited fire if he wants to keep his reputation and legacy from getting torched.

loop-bishop-pga-trophy-fumble-518.jpgWho knew that Bishop's Wanamaker Trophy fumble in August might be one of his better moments from the last few months of his presidency. (Getty Images)

The 60-year-old director of golf at The Legends Golf Club in Franklin, Ind., tried to begin to undo the damage caused by calling out Ian Poulter with a pair of ill-advised social-media posts by offering an apology of sorts on Thursday.

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

Bishop originally called Poulter a "lil' girl" on Twitter after hearing that Poulter had lashed out at Nick Faldo in his just released autobiography No Limits. Similarly, via a Facebook post, Bishop claimed that Poulter, "Sounds like a little school girl squealing during recess." Both posts have subsequently been taken down.

Golf World/Jaime Diaz: Ted Bishop's Last Days as PGA president

After hearing of Bishop's comments, Poulter offered a brief, but pointed response.

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

The reverberations over the incident were slowly being felt Friday. A story on SBNation took the extreme stance of suggesting Bishop should resign from his post, noting that even though his presidency ends in less than a month, he needed to be removed.

A story in The Telegraph was less extreme but no less cutting, referring to Bishop as "a camera-obsessed buffoon" whose petty insults "invite ridicule."

Certainly there will be more where this came from as those who already held the opinion of Bishop as having overstepped his bounds as PGA president get a chance to pile on. In all likelihood, Bishop's best course of action is to absorb the body blows, as punishing as they might be, and wait out the clock on his lame-duck term. Any more talking, or writing, is liable to only make things worse.

Editor's Note: Later Friday afternoon, the PGA of America Board of Directors voted to remove Bishop as the association's president.

... Read
News & Tours

Why it's worth watching the Asia-Pacific Amateur this weekend

When the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship was created in 2009 -- dangling the carrot of an invitation into the Masters for the winner -- the belief was that Australian golfers would be the biggest beneficiaries. The presumption came based on the fact that the country had the most developed amateur program among the 30-some nations eligible for participation in the event. Yet in the first five years of the event, golfers from South Korea (Chang-won Han and Chang-woo Lee), Japan (Hideki Matsuyama, twice) and China (Tianlang Guan) have claimed the title or its coveted perk while the men Down Under have been shut out.

loop-antonio-murdaca-518.jpgThat, however, could change this weekend as Australians Antonio Murdaca and Todd Sinnott sit atop the AAC leader board after 36 holes at Royal Melbourne. A 69-68 start from the 19-year-old Murdaca leaves him a stroke ahead of Sinnott, 22, who claimed the first-round lead with an opening 67. Four other Australians -- Ryan Ruffels, Cory Crawford, Jarryd Felton and Geoff Drakeford -- are also within six strokes of the lead.

Betting on an Aussie to pull out the title makes sense given the home-course edge they have playing at Royal Melbourne, the first time the course or country has hosted the championship. That's particularly the case for Sinnott, who is from the Melbourne suburb of Williamstown and has played Royal Melbourne at least 30 times, including the last four years in competition at the Master of the Amateurs event that the course hosts.

The Australian locale makes it convenient for American golf fans to follow the action, with the third and fourth rounds being shown live on ESPNNews from 9 p.m. to 12 a.m. EDT Friday and Saturday nights, respectively.

And why should you put in the time for the late-night viewing? The winner is likely somebody you'll see playing over the weekend this coming April at Augusta National. Three of the last five winners of the AAC have made the cut in the Masters the following year. By comparison in that same time frame, no winner of the U.S. Amateur, U.S. Public Links or U.S. Mid-Amateur has made the cut in the same time period.

... Read
News & Tours

PGA president Ted Bishop defends Faldo, calls Poulter ‘lil girl’

PGA of America president Ted Bishop, no stranger to controversy, entered another one via Twitter on Thursday, lashing out at Ian Poulter and calling him “lil girl” for comments he made about Nick Faldo in his new autobiography, “No Limits.”

The Tweet has since been deleted, but here's a screenshot: Bishop.jpg

In the midst of the Ryder Cup last month, Faldo, the last losing European Ryder Cup captain, in 2008, called Garcia “useless” in the ’08 matches and said that he had “a bad attitude.”

Poulter wrote, among other things:

"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.Bishop

"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.”

Poulter has yet to respond to Bishop, but he has responded to other critics of his Faldo comments.

"I guess we can only have opinions if you won a major or 6," he Tweeted.

Bishop has largely been held responsible for selecting Tom Watson as U.S. Ryder Cup captain.

... Read
News & Tours

Tom Watson resurfaces from Ryder Cup exile at the World Series

Longtime Kansas City Royals fan Tom Watson has kept a low profile since his less-than-stellar Ryder Cup captaincy and the ensuing brouhaha over his communication skills. But the Kansas native resurfaced at Game 2 of the World Series Wednesday proudly wearing a classic Royals jacket and the team's alternate white cap, rooting on the team he's supported through thick and thin.

Multiple Tweeters noted the golfing legend's presence but it was a photo with Major League Baseball's Joe Torre that got the most social media traction. It didn't hurt that Anchorman star Paul Rudd and Kansas City Chiefs punter Dustin Colquitt joined the shot. Watson undoubtedly left a happy man as the Royals evened the World Series at 1-1 with the San Fransisco Giants after a resounding 7-2 victory.

... Read
News & Tours

Rickie Fowler takes over our Twitter feed, weighs in on mullets, swing tips and Bubba Watson

We spent some time with Rickie Fowler on Tuesday afternoon, and he used that opportunity to take over the @GolfDigest Twitter account. (All the cool kids are doing it.) The 10th-ranked player in the world answered 24 questions that covered a wide range of topics. We now know, for example, that the biggest difference in his swing under Butch Harmon is his takeaway, he has "definitely" considered growing a mullet, and that he thinks the 18th hole at TPC Sawgrass is the hardest hole on the PGA Tour. Enjoy.
... Read
News & Tours

Missing Links: 'McIlroy's court case could put Masters bid in rough'

Stories of interest you might have missed…

The headline to this Kevin Garside column in the Independent is ominous: “Rory McIlroy’s court case could put Masters bid in rough.” McIlroy and his former agency, Horizon, are embroiled in a dispute that will go to court in February, “two months before the tournament he has made it his priority to win,” Garside writes of McIlroy’s bid to complete the career grand slam. “He…has showed that he is vulnerable when matters spiral beyond his control, as this case might with devastating consequences for his reputation, should the judge decide in the opposition’s favour.”

Rory Augusta.jpg
(Getty Images photo)

Jason Dufner withdrew from the PGA Championship in August with a neck injury and hasn’t been seen since. Until now. Dufner returns to competition at the Perth International in Australia. “I took three weeks off in the middle of the year because I had a gut full of feeling like I wasn’t getting out of it what I was putting into it,” he said in this story by Chris Robinson in Perth Now. “You just you can’t underestimate how valuable taking a week or two off is. Doing this is such a grind that you’ve got to really, really, really want to be there. If you take a few weeks off you get pretty itchy to go play golf. That can be the difference.”


“No-one needs to persuade me about the merits of Wales’s finest-ever golfer,” Derek Lawrenson writes in the Daily Mail regarding Ian Woosnam’s omission from the World Golf Hall of Fame. Lawrenson was one of 16 members of the selection commission. “I’ve written about Woosnam my whole working life. At a time when Hall of Famers like Seve, Greg Norman, Sandy Lyle, Tom Watson and Sir Nick Faldo were at their peak he was, for a time, quite clearly the best golfer in the world. It’s a horrendous omission.” Woosnam’s response: “After seeing the results of the golf world hall of fame, I think it’s time to say goodbye to golf and retire.”


The odds weren’t good for Carlos Ortiz’ bid to join the PGA Tour. Or for any other Mexican player, either. “Only five Mexican-born players had ever made it to the PGA Tour,” Doug Ferguson of the Associated Press writes in this look at the PGA Tour rookie. “Two of them won tournaments a generation before he was born, the most recent title by Victor Delgado in 1978 at the Ed McMahon-Jaycees Quad City Open.”


“Fatherless black kid. 8th grade drop out. Broken home. Running with the wrong crowd,” Gerald Ensley of the Tallahassee Democrat writes in this profile of an aspiring professional golfer, Kamaiu Johnson. “I was going down a dark road when I found golf,” Johnson said. “There is no doubt, golf saved my life.” He is turning professional this weekend.

... Read
Gear & Equipment

Ian Poulter keeps his word on being quick about picking a new equipment company

loop-ian-poulter-titleist-bag-300.jpgLast week when Ian Poulter took to Twitter to say, "I will let you know my new endorsement partners very soon" after splitting with Cobra-Puma Golf he wasn't kidding. Poulter announced Tuesday via the social-media site, "Seriously pleased to announce I will be a full staff @Titleist @FootJoy staff player for 2015 season. So excited." 

Accompanying the tweet was a photo of Poulter's new staff bag which appeared to house a 915 series driver and 3-wood along with a pair of hybrids. The irons appeared to be a split set with two Titleist CB irons and the rest being the company's MB model. A trio of Vokey wedges also were in the bag. Not visible was the putter, and it will be interesting to see if Poulter -- who tends to be finicky about his flat stick -- switches to a Scotty Cameron model.

As for why Titleist took on Poulter, who at 38 may already have seen the best days of his playing career, one only needs to look at the company's full-line players from Europe. Other than Victor Dubuisson, there aren't many high-profile players under contract. Signing Poulter then may be an effort to bolster the roster abroad as well as secure a recognizable name should Dubuisson bolt for big bucks elsewhere in the future.

... Read
News & Tours

The Grind: Swimming pools, impressive senior citizens, and The Caddy Girls

Welcome to another edition of The Grind, where we hope Ben Martin made it rain in a Vegas casino on Sunday night. You can do a lot of damage with $1 million in chips. On second thought, you can do a lot of damage with $1 million in chips (Somewhere, John Daly nods his head in agreement). Hmm. Maybe it's best to at least avoid the high-stakes tables until you win your first major . . .


Ben Martin: Just when it looked like he was going to let his first PGA Tour title slip away, Martin (Clemson product) made a 45-footer for eagle on No. 16 and then birdied No. 18 for a two-shot win over Kevin Streelman (Duke) in a clash of ACC foes. Congrats, Ben. Pretty good for someone who shot 78-79 in the season opener the week before. Golf!


Mikko Ilonen: Even Europeans who weren't on the Ryder Cup team are unbeatable in match play. The Finnish golfer knocked off Henrik Stenson in the final to pick up the biggest win of his career. After falling to 334th in the world two years ago, Ilonen is up to 37th. Maybe we'll see him in Hazeltine two years from now.

Related: Pictures of PGA Tour wives and girlfriends

Jay Haas: We don't always highlight Champions Tour winners, but when a guy beats a field of young whippersnappers -- some who are a full 10 years younger -- he deserves recognition. Haas won for the first time in 27 months and became just the 18th player 60 and older to win on the senior circuit. Oh, and his son, Bill, was inducted into the Wake Forest Athletic Hall of Fame. Pretty decent weekend to be a Haas.

The Caddy Girls: This group didn't get the deal it wanted on ABC's "Shark Tank," but its presentation impressed the Sharks and investment offers are now rolling in, according to founder Meghan Tarmey. Good for them and it's a great idea because guys are, well, guys.


The Caddy Girls' primetime appearance also can't be hurting calendar sales. . .



Golf club violence: There seems to be a lot of these stories lately, unfortunately, ranging from the weird -- a guy defending a church with a golf club -- to the horrifying -- a guy stabbing a man to death with a putter at a mini-golf course. Can't we all just get along?

Related: 11 PGA Tour sleepers to watch in 2014-15

Task-force denials: Again, we agree with the likes of Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Paul Azinger that having a Ryder Cup Task Force is a bit much. But what's the harm in saying you'd be a part of it and help out? If you don't care about the success of the U.S. team, that's one thing, but if you do, why not say you'd help try to find a solution to the recent problems?

Shriners swimming pools: This past week's PGA Tour stop had several pools for golf fans, but do these look like "golf fans" to you?


We didn't think so.


The PGA Tour heads to Sea Island for the McGladrey Classic, aka that tournament hosted by Davis Love III.

Related: 9 things you need to know about the 2014-15 season

Random tournament fact: Chris Kirk won this event last year, propelling him to a two-win season that landed him a spot on the U.S. Ryder Cup team. Wait. Never mind.


-- There will be a swimming pool for fans at Augusta National: 1 million-to-1 odds

Related: 15 signs you watch too much golf on TV

-- Rory McIlroy will win the calendar Grand Slam in 2015: 50-to-1 odds (actual odds)   

-- Rory McIlroy will be the overwhelming favorite in Masters betting pools: LOCK


Five members of the European Tour shushing Patrick Reed? This might just be the photo of the year.


These guys on the European Tour sure know how to have fun, eh?


"Sixty is some sort of benchmark, not that many guys have done that. It's just a number, I guess. I still like feel I'm capable, especially after this weekend, and it certainly gives me some confidence for the last couple of events and into next year. Hopefully, I won't completely fall off the map when I turn 61 in December." -- Jay Haas. Of course, you won't, Jay! You're going to be the U.S. Presidents Cup captain next year!


Rory McIlroy's left-handed shot wasn't all that impressive. However, we appreciated the effort and him asking his lefty playing partner, Bubba Watson, to watch. Oh, and his chip in for par on the same hole wasn't bad, either.

And then there was the much more impressive recovery shot from PGA Tour rookie Justin Thomas. At the U.S. Open, Phil Mickelson said he was a big fan of the former University of Alabama star. Judging by this insane up-and-down from a grandstand, Thomas has been paying attention to Phil as well.



First time shooting the SAW M249

View on Instagram

"I love it!" Creamer exclaimed.

Paula, we admire you taking the time out of your schedule to pay the troops in Korea a visit, but you're scaring us.



Rory McIlroy will take time off from golf to prepare for his court case against his former management company, Horizon Sports. Wait, did Rory go to law school during the off-season? . . . Tiger Woods is back to hitting full shots and "feeling pretty good." We've heard this one before, so we're not getting too excited yet. . . . Kyu Jung Baek topped Brittany Lincicome and Gee Chun in a playoff to claim the KEB-Hana Bank Championship in her first career start on the LPGA Tour. How's that for a debut? And it came just four days after Baek celebrated her 19th birthday. . . . An 81-year-old man had a hole-in-one on three consecutive days. If he's a real golfer, he's probably still complaining about the first 80 years of his playing career. . . . Apparently, McDonald's popular McRib is only coming to select locations this year. That makes my buddy, Chris, sad. But hopefully, this shirt our friends got him cheers him up.


Which PGA Tour player would make the best lawyer?

Is Ben Martin this year's Jimmy Walker?

What exactly is in a McRib?

-- Alex Myers is an Associate Editor for Feel free to email him and please follow him on Twitter since he has self-esteem issues.

... Read
News & Tours

Tiger Woods reportedly hitting full shots, "feeling pretty good"

After a disappointing season, Tiger Woods looks on track to at least finish the year on the golf course.

USA Today reports the 14-time major winner has started to hit full shots after getting the OK from his doctors. Woods, whose back injury had previously limited him to chipping and putting, is scheduled to play in his tournament at Isleworth in December.

Related: A history of Tiger Woods' injuries

"The doctors said he could hit golf balls again, and he's listening to his doctors and to his body," Woods' agent, Mark Steinberg, told USA Today. "He will keep listening to his doctors and body.

" . . . He's feeling pretty good."


Woods had surgery for a pinched nerve before the Masters. He came back at the AT&T National and missed the cut before making the cut on the number at the British Open. At the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, Woods withdrew in the final round after injuring his back again. He played the following week in the PGA Championship, but missed the cut before announcing he would take time off to heal. His best finish in seven PGA Tour starts in 2014 was a T-25 at Doral, and he has currently fallen to 17th in the Official World Golf Ranking.

Related: An unauthorized history of Tiger Woods' jeans

Of late, news about Woods has revolved around things not involving his play. Construction of a course he designed in Houston, Tex., is progressing nicely and he has plans to open a new restaurant in Jupiter sometime in 2015. He was also recently passed by NBA star LeBron James for the world's most valuable sports brand.

... Read
Subscribe to Golf Digest
Subscribe today