High-profile women mostly silent on Bishop comments

By Jay CoffinOctober 25, 2014, 4:30 pm

Two years ago my son, 6 years old at the time, was loafing in a YMCA-league soccer game. Absolutely loafing. When the game was over, I walked over to him and told him I was disappointed he didn’t try harder and that he was playing like a girl.

With my daughter standing nearby, my wife gave me a ration of you-know-what like she had never done before. You can imagine how the one-sided conversation went down. Forced to view a commonly used phrase from the viewpoint of the people it disparages, I’ve never made such a comparison again.

I flashed back to this incident on Friday as I sat in my office, glued to Twitter, monitoring reaction of Ted Bishop’s antiquated “Lil Girl” comments toward Ian Poulter. Mainly I stewed at how little of the fuss came from those who I suspected would have the loudest voices – high-profile women deeply rooted in the game.

The hours passed and there was no response from the LPGA, the most successful women’s professional sports organization in history that was founded nearly 65 years ago. Finally a statement was released Saturday morning, some 40 hours after Bishop’s damning posts.

Golf Channel made attempts to reach several of the most respected women in the game and nearly all did not feel comfortable enough to comment.

Annika Sorenstam released a one-sentence statement later in the day. Nancy Lopez spoke softly. Golf Channel’s Paige Mackenzie made pointed comments on both Morning Drive and Golf Central. Prominent PGA of America member Suzy Whaley spoke strongly and eloquently and was the least afraid to tackle the issue.

“Obviously, I was extremely disturbed by it,” Whaley said on Golf Central. “There were extremely insulting and sexist.

“For me to hear comments that are derogatory about young girls, or insulting, just because you are a girl, is offensive. Our board of directors took swift action. The PGA of America finds it quite critical to be inclusive and we will continue to do so moving forward.”

Everyone else? Radio silence.

Moving on: Can this be a teachable moment?

I’m not knocking anyone for feeling how they do. That’s not my thing. I would never sit here, as a male journalist, and tell women they’re wrong because they didn’t shout from the mountaintop that Bishop’s comments were demeaning and in extremely poor taste.

As a member of the golf industry for 17 years and as the father of a 9-year-old daughter, however, I wonder why there wasn’t more public discussion. I covered the LPGA extensively for six years (2001-06) and I know how passionate players are about their tour. There wasn’t another woman in a position of power who thought Bishop’s comments were a bigger deal than I did? Why did more public outcry surround Paulina Gretzky gracing the cover of Golf Digest’s May issue than did Bishop’s Facebook post saying Poulter acted like a “school girl squealing during recess”?

Perhaps, as one LPGA player suggested to me, some are so desensitized to these comments, they hear them so often while inside the ropes, that this was nothing to get worked up over.

Maybe there’s a feeling that there’s no way for women to win a battle against such a prominent male figure, that going public only does more harm to women than it does good.

Perhaps some were afraid to speak out against the PGA of America, the very organization that swept in and rescued the floundering LPGA Championship and turned it into the Women’s PGA Championship, a better major at a better venue.

There are theories aplenty.

Mostly though, what I really wanted were strong women’s voices for my daughter to hear. I wanted her to have a chance to find a new role model because someone stood up to a powerful organization to say enough is enough. It’s an important issue to me as a father and it makes me wonder if it’s a big deal to women. Right now, I’m not certain. Perhaps my moral compass needs to be recalibrated, but I expected more from women’s leadership.

I shared most of my concerns with women coworkers who appear both in front of and behind the camera and discovered that many were looking for prominent athletes and journalists to step up, too. It wasn’t just me.

Ultimately, Bishop was booted for his poor choice of words and it’s not a surprise. Someone in such a high-ranking position absolutely cannot demean one half of the human race and walk away unscathed. He was a loose cannon anyway and enough was enough. Bishop’s impeachment also tells us that, although there wasn’t an overabundance of public comments from women’s golf A-listers, there was enough heat going on behind closed doors to seal the deal.

Whether you agree with Bishop’s fate isn’t the point; it’s my sincere hope that women don’t view silence as golden the next time this topic arises, because sadly, at some point, it will resurface. When it does I want my daughter to hear more brave voices like Suzy Whaley.

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Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.

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Rose leads Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose completed the final two holes of his second round early Saturday for a 3-under 69 and a one-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose, who had a first-round 62, was among a quarter of the field forced off the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course after weather delays on Friday.

The Englishman, who bogeyed his last hole, had a two-round total of 13-under 131.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who completed his 64 on Friday, was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters. He has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 1:00 pm

Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.

Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.

None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.

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Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.

An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.

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