News & ToursOctober 24, 2014

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.

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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". 

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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 OF AMERICA BOARD OF DIRECTORS VOTES TO____REMOVE PGA PRESIDENT TED BISHOP FROM OFFICE__ __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."

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