Bishop's legacy forever altered with tweet, ouster

By Rex HoggardOctober 24, 2014, 11:46 pm

ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – Some have called him a maverick, some a megalomaniac fixated by the sound of his own voice. Whatever Ted Bishop’s legacy as president of the PGA of America was before Thursday evening when he decided to take to social media to defend Nick Faldo in his public row with Ian Poulter, he will now carry a much heavier burden into the sunset of his presidency – Insensitive.

The original activist president tweeted his way into infamy, done in by 118 thoughtless characters:“@IanJamesPoulter Faldo’s record stands by itself. Six majors and all-time (Ryder Cup) points. Yours vs. His? Lil Girl.”

For a man charged with leading an organization that’s singular mission is to grow the game from every corner, Bishop’s misguided tweet and Facebook posts were inexplicable and, ultimately, inexcusable.

In a hasty release, PGA vice president Derek Sprague dropped the final shoe in what has arguably been the association’s most eventful presidency.

“We apologize to any individual or group that felt diminished, in any way, by this unacceptable incident,” wrote Sprague, confirming a story first reported by that Bishop had been ousted.

Bishop had been the PGA’s most active and outspoken president, from last year’s anchored putter debate to his decision, however misguided, to bring Tom Watson forth to captain this year’s Ryder Cup team. But it won’t be those bold moves that will define his two years in office after his monumental blunder on Thursday.

In what became a far too familiar faux pas over the last few months, Bishop took to social media to make a statement, to defend Faldo who, in an ironic twist, started the spat with Poulter and Europe’s Ryder Cup core.

It was Faldo who said during last month’s matches that Sergio Garcia was “useless” during the 2008 Ryder Cup and that he “wasn’t in it” during the European side’s only loss in the last decade.

The Europeans rallied around the embattled Spaniard but did what they always do – keeping the dirty laundry safely tucked behind the team room doors, until Poulter released his autobiography “No Limits” with a surprisingly restrained take on Faldo’s darts.

“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,” Poulter wrote. “And he was captain. So who's useless? Faldo might need to have a little look in the mirror.”

From that missive life should have gone on, the air cleared in a spat neither player nor captain would win. It’s the European way, just ask Padraig Harrington.

“Clearly Nick wasn’t the best captain; I’ve seen him sign off tweets ‘useless captain’,” said Harrington, who played for Faldo in ’08 and was a vice captain this year at Gleneagles. “Thankfully, Nick Faldo’s career doesn’t rely on being a great captain; he was a great player.”

But instead Bishop took to social media to defend Faldo, with whome he was spending a few days at The Greenbrier in West Virginia.

He could have chastised Poulter for his lack of respect. He could have admonished the Englishman for his indifference to Faldo’s legacy, but if two years have taught us anything it is that’s not Bishop’s style to go quietly. So instead he added his insensitive jab, seven letters that will haunt him forever.

Still reeling from the heat he took for his gamble with Watson, Bishop lashed out. It was signature Ted, unapologetic and unedited. The moment exposed Bishop’s central weaknesses, the lack of a pause button and an unwavering belief in his own course.

History will not be kind to Bishop, not his principled stand against the USGA’s move on anchoring, not the olive branch he extended north to the PGA Tour that has brought the two organizations closer than they have been in years, and certainly not his attempt to wrest the U.S. Ryder Cup team out of a slide that has now been extended to eight losses in the last 10 matches.

He was Ted to the very end. Even his mea culpa was a miscue late Thursday when he told the Associated Press, “Obviously I could have selected some different ways to express my thoughts on Poulter's remarks. Golf had always been a sport where respect was shown to its icons. That seems to have gone by the wayside.”

Attempts to contact the deposed president were unsuccessful on Friday, the PGA’s most outspoken chief executive silenced by insensitivity and the instant reality of a modern world.

“If I had the chance to hit the delete button on the things that I sent out yesterday I would without hesitation,” Bishop said in a statement released after his dismissal.

On Friday Bishop was removed from office less than a month before he was scheduled to step down in Indianapolis, not as the association’s original maverick but as a mistaken and misguided figure.

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McCoy earns medalist honors at Q-School

By Will GrayDecember 11, 2017, 12:30 am

One year after his budding career was derailed by a car accident, Lee McCoy got back on track by earning medalist honors at the final stage of Tour Q-School.

McCoy shot a final-round 65 at Whirlwind Golf Club in Chandler, Ariz., to finish the 72-hole event at 28 under. That total left him two shots ahead of Sung-Jae Im and guaranteed him fully-exempt status on the developmental circuit in 2018.

It's an impressive turnaround for the former University of Georgia standout who finished fourth at the 2016 Valspar Championship as an amateur while playing alongside Jordan Spieth in the final round. But he broke his wrist in a car accident the day before second stage of Q-School last year, leaving him without status on any major tour to begin the year.

McCoy was not the only player who left Arizona smiling. Everyone in the top 10 and ties will be exempt through the first 12 events of the new Tour season, a group that includes former amateur standouts Curtis Luck (T-3), Sam Burns (T-10) and Maverick McNealy (T-10).

Players who finished outside the top 10 but inside the top 45 and ties earned exemptions into the first eight events of 2018. That group includes Cameron Champ (T-16), who led the field in driving at this year's U.S. Open as an amateur, and Wyndham Clark (T-23).

Everyone who advanced to the final stage of Q-School will have at least conditional Tour status in 2018. Among those who failed to secure guaranteed starts this week were Robby Shelton, Rico Hoey, Jordan Niebrugge, Joaquin Niemann and Kevin Hall.

Els honored with Heisman Humanitarian Award

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 11:41 pm

The annual Heisman Trophy award ceremony is one of the biggest moments in any football season, but there was a touching non-football moment as well on Saturday night as Ernie Els received the Heisman Humanitarian Award.

The award, which had been announced in August, recognized Els' ongoing efforts on behalf of his Els for Autism foundation. Els received the award at Manhattan's PlayStation Theater, where Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield won the Heisman Trophy.

Els, 47, founded Els for Autism in 2009 with his wife after their son, Ben, was diagnosed with autism. Their efforts have since flourished into a 26-acre campus in Jupiter, Fla., and the creation of the Els Center for Excellence in 2015.

The Heisman Humanitarian Award has been given out since 2006. Past recipients include NBA center David Robinson, NFL running back Warrick Dunn, soccer star Mia Hamm and NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon.

A native of South Africa, Els won the U.S. Open in 1994 and 1997 and The Open in 2002 and 2012. He has won 19 times on the PGA Tour and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2011.

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Monday finish for Joburg Open; Sharma leads by 4

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 8:57 pm

Rain, lightning and hail pushed the Joburg Open to a Monday finish, with India’s Shubhankar Sharma holding a four-stroke lead with 11 holes to play in Johannesburg.

Play is scheduled to resume at 7:30 a.m. local time.

South Africa’s Erik van Rooyen will have a 3-foot putt for birdie to move within three shots of Sharma wen play resumes at the Randpark Golf Club. Sarma is at 22 under par.

Tapio Pulkkanen of Finland and James Morrison of England are tied for third at 14 under. Pulkkanen has 10 holes remaining, Morrison 11.

The top three finishers who are not already exempt, will get spots in next year’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.



Stricker, O'Hair team to win QBE Shootout

By Will GrayDecember 10, 2017, 8:55 pm

It may not count in the official tally, but Steve Stricker is once again in the winner's circle on the PGA Tour.

Stricker teamed with Sean O'Hair to win the two-person QBE Shootout, as the duo combined for a better-ball 64 in the final round to finish two shots clear of Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry. It's the second win in this event for both men; Stricker won with Jerry Kelly back in 2009 while O'Hair lifted the trophy with Kenny Perry in 2012.

Stricker and O'Hair led wire-to-wire in the 54-hole, unofficial event after posting a 15-under 57 during the opening-round scramble.

"We just really gelled well together," Stricker said. "With his length the first day, getting some clubs into the greens, some short irons for me, we just fed off that first day quite a bit. We felt comfortable with one another."

Full-field scores from the QBE Shootout

Stricker won 12 times during his PGA Tour career, most recently at the 2012 Tournament of Champions. More recently the 50-year-old has been splitting his time on the PGA Tour Champions and captained the U.S. to a victory at the Presidents Cup in October. O'Hair has four official Tour wins, most recently at the 2011 RBC Canadian Open.

Pat Perez and Brian Harman finished alone in third, four shots behind Stricker and O'Hair. Lexi Thompson and Tony Finau, the lone co-ed pairing in the 12-team event, finished among a tie for fourth.