Bishop's trolling is par for his course

By Jason SobelOctober 24, 2014, 1:08 pm

You might have rolled your eyes when outgoing PGA of America president Ted Bishop sang the praises of something called "footgolf" as part of his unending grow-the-game initiative.

You probably shook your head when Bishop acted in defiance of the USGA and R&A after anchored putting was deemed illegal starting next year.

You were right to have been hoppin' mad when the man with "USA" shaved into the side of his head watched his hand-picked Ryder Cup captain get picked apart by the team's veteran leader after another loss, then slunk away that evening without ever facing the music himself.

For all of Bishop's cockeyed, obtuse and, often, egocentric adjudications, though, none have been so profoundly doltish as his latest social media rantings, which left him sounding less like an industry leader than a frustrated fan reduced to message board trolling.

In case you missed it, Bishop challenged Ian Poulter for his recent criticisms of both Nick Faldo as 2008 European captain and Tom Watson in the role for the U.S. this year. But it wasn't that he chirped at a player that was so perplexing. It was what he said and how he said it.

Perhaps hoping to make one more self-serving headline before his tenure ends next month, or more likely not knowing how to keep from creating another one, Bishop referred to Poulter as a "Lil Girl" on Twitter. For greater effect – and to ensure there would be no cry of an ill-timed hacking – he said Poulter "sounds like a little school girl squealing during recess" on Facebook.


Golf Channel exclusive: Poulter reacts

Timeline: Poulter vs. Bishop


The insinuation isn't just categorically immature, it also reeks of sexism from a man whose mission has been to grow the game amongst the masses.

The posts were deleted after about an hour, with the PR-framed apologies quickly falling in line, but the message remained.

After all, it was also through Twitter where in the aftermath of this latest imbroglio some women took to summarily criticizing the ol' boys' network which has governed the game for so long.

"Not the best strategy to grow the game," one woman tweeted. "People & comments like Bishop's are why women don't play."

Added USA Today columnist Christine Brennan in a tweet, "When will the struggling golf industry realize its sexism is terrible for business?"

This is the same Bishop who, when the R&A recently voted to include female members for the first time, took it upon himself to offer the following statement: "Women have played and will continue to play an integral role in the game of golf. In fact, women represent the biggest growth market in the sport, and every step to make golf more inclusive is good for the game."

That comment sounds especially ostentatious in the wake of his misogynistic tone toward Poulter.

If Bishop wasn't already being relieved of his duties soon, this latest embarrassment would be enough to call for a resignation.

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.

For a man who so often reminds us that he represents the 27,000 men and women who serve as PGA of America members, there’s little doubt that today many of those members will remind us that he doesn’t wholly represent their views, either.

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Spieth, McIlroy to support Major Champions Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:25 pm

Nick Faldo announced Tuesday the creation of the Major Champions Invitational.

The event, scheduled for March 12-14, is an extension of the Faldo Series and will feature both male and female junior players at Bella Collina in Montverde, Fla.

Jordan Spieth, Rory Mcllroy, Annika Sorenstam, Adam Scott, Henrik Stenson, Jerry Pate and John Daly have already committed to supporting the event, which is aimed at mentoring and inspiring the next generation of players.  

“I’m incredibly excited about hosting the Major Champions Invitational, and about the players who have committed to support the event,” Faldo said. “This event will allow major champions to give something back to the game that has given them so much, and hopefully, in time, it will become one of the most elite junior golf events in the world.”

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Rosaforte: Woods plays with Obama, gets rave reviews

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:15 pm

Golf Channel insider Tim Rosaforte reports on Tiger Woods’ recent round at The Floridian in Palm City, Fla., alongside President Barack Obama.

Check out the video, as Rosaforte says Woods received rave reviews from instructor Claude Harmon. 

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Stock Watch: Spieth searching for putting form

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 16, 2018, 1:50 pm

Each week on GolfChannel.com, we’ll examine which players’ stocks and trends are rising and falling in the world of golf.

RISING

Patton Kizzire (+8%): By today’s accelerated standards, he’s a late bloomer, having reached the Tour at age 29. Well, he seems right at home now, with two wins in his last four starts.

Rory (+7%): Coming off the longest break of his career, McIlroy should have no excuses this year. He’s healthy. Focused. Motivated. It’s go time.

Chris Paisley (+5%): The best part about his breakthrough European Tour title that netted him $192,000? With his wife, Keri, on the bag, he doesn’t have to cut 10 percent to his caddie – she gets the whole thing.

Brooke Henderson (+3%): A seventh-place finish at the Diamond Resorts Invitational doesn’t sound like much for a five-time winner, but this came against the men – on a cold, wet, windy, 6,700-yard track. She might be the most fun player to watch on the LPGA. 

New European Ryder Cuppers (+2%): In something of a Ryder Cup dress rehearsal, newcomers Tommy Fleetwood and Tyrrell Hatton each went undefeated in leading Europe to a come-from-behind victory at the EurAsia Cup. The competition come September will be, um, a bit stiffer.



FALLING

Jordan’s putting (-1%): You can sense his frustration in interviews, and why not? In two starts he leads the Tour in greens in regulation … and ranks 201st (!) in putting. Here’s guessing he doesn’t finish the year there.

Brian Harman’s 2018 Sundays (-2%): The diminutive left-hander now has five consecutive top-10s, and he’s rocketing up the Ryder Cup standings, but you can’t help but wonder how much better the start to his year might have been. In the final pairing each of the past two weeks, he’s a combined 1 under in those rounds and wasn’t much of a factor.

Tom Hoge (-3%): Leading by one and on the brink of a life-changing victory – he hadn’t been able to keep his card each of the past three years – Hoge made an absolute mess of the 16th, taking double bogey despite having just 156 yards for his approach. At least now he’s on track to make the playoffs for the first time.

Predicting James Hahn’s form (-4%): OK, we give up: He’d gone 17 events without a top-15 before his win at Riviera; 12 before his win at Quail Hollow; and seven before he lost on the sixth playoff hole at Waialae. The margins between mediocre play and winning apparently are THAT small.

Barnrat (-5%): Coming in hot with four consecutive top-10s, and one of only two team members ranked inside the top 50 in the world, Kiradech Aphibarnrat didn’t show up at the EurAsia Cup, going 0-3 for the week. In hindsight, the Asian team had no chance without his contributions. 

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Langer not playing to pass Irwin, but he just might

By Tim RosaforteJanuary 16, 2018, 1:40 pm

Bernhard Langer goes back out on tour this week to chase down more than Hale Irwin’s PGA Tour Champions record of 45 career victories. His chase is against himself.

“I’m not playing to beat Hale Irwin’s record,” Langer told me before heading to Hawaii to defend his title at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai. “I play golf to play the best I can, to be a good role model, and to enjoy a few more years that are left.”

Langer turned 60 on Aug. 27 and was presented a massage chair by his family as a birthday gift. Instead of reclining (which he does to watch golf and football), he won three more times to close out a seven-win campaign that included three major championships. A year prior, coming off a four-victory season, Langer told me after winning his fourth Charles Schwab Cup that surpassing Irwin’s record was possible but not probable. With 36 career victories and 11 in his last two years, he has changed his tone to making up the nine-tournament difference as “probable.”

“If I could continue a few more years on that ratio, I could get close or pass him,” Langer told me from his home in Boca Raton, Fla. “It will get harder. I’m 60 now. It’s a big challenge but I don’t shy away from challenges.”


Bernhard Langer, Hale Irwin at the 1991 Ryder Cup (Getty Images)


Langer spent his off-season playing the PNC Father/Son, taking his family on a ski vacation at Big Sky in Yellowstone, Montana, and to New York for New Year’s. He ranks himself as a scratch skier, having skied since he was four years old in Germany. The risk of injury is worth it, considering how much he loves “the scenery, the gravity and the speed.”

Since returning from New York, Langer has immersed himself into preparing for the 2018 season. Swing coach Willy Hoffman, who he has worked with since his boyhood days as an as assistant pro in Germany, flew to Florida for their 43rd year of training.

“He’s a straight shooter,” Hoffman told me. “He says, 'Willy, every hour is an hour off my life and we have 24 hours every day.'"

As for Irwin, they have maintained a respectful relationship that goes back to their deciding singles match in the 1991 Ryder Cup. Last year they were brought back to Kiawah Island for a corporate appearance where they reminisced and shared the thought that nobody should ever have to bear what Langer went through, missing a 6-footer on the 18th green. That was 27 years ago. Both are in the Hall of Fame.

"I enjoy hanging out with Hale," Langer says.

Langer’s chase of Irwin’s record is not going to change their legacies. As Hoffman pointed out, “Yes, (Bernhard) is a rich man compared to his younger days. He had no money, no nothing. But today you don’t feel a difference when you talk to him. He’s always on the ground.”