Bishop's tenure will be remembered for going rogue

By Rex HoggardOctober 28, 2014, 4:43 pm

Going rogue was the central theme of Ted Bishop’s tenure at the PGA of America. From his principled stand against the anchored-putting debate to his fateful tweet last Thursday, the ousted president lived his term off-script.

“I lived on the edge for two years,” Bishop conceded on Tuesday’s “Morning Drive.”

In the end, it was that body of work that drove the PGA’s board of directors to remove Bishop from office less than a month before he was scheduled to step down. His insensitive tweet in response to Ian Poulter’s criticism of Nick Faldo will be remembered as the proverbial nail in the coffin, but Bishop knows he’d been undermining himself 140 characters at a time.

On Sept. 28, for example, he sent a tweet following the U.S. Ryder Cup team’s five-point loss, “Victory has a thousand fathers and defeat is an orphan.” A day earlier he’d taken to Twitter to announce, “Clubhouse at Gleneagles being evacuated. Real fire. Can this day get worse?”

Things got worse.

Much worse, and the building fallout from the American rout had reached a tipping point when Bishop arrived in West Virginia to spend a few days with Faldo last week at The Greenbrier.

As he waited for his ride to Faldo’s house for dinner on Thursday, Bishop thumbed out his response to Poulter’s criticism, “Faldo’s record stands by itself. Six majors and all-time (Ryder Cup) points. Yours vs. His? Lil Girl.”

He was angry at Poulter for his lack of reverence when it came to Faldo’s legacy, but the underpinnings of that anger reached back to Gleneagles and how quickly public and private opinion turned on Watson following the U.S. loss.

“It was the straw that broke the camel’s back, these were two icons of the game,” he said.

On Tuesday morning Bishop recounted a conversation he had with PGA CEO Pete Bevacqua before play began in Scotland. “If we win why wouldn’t we consider bringing Tom back (to captain)?” Bevacqua asked.

Less than a week later, however, “PGA people started jumping off the ship,” Bishop recalled.

“There were clearly lines drawn in the sand and people were trying distance themselves from me,” he said. “I told Tom, ‘The PGA owes you an apology.’ I felt the PGA could have made a far stronger statement of support for him.”

From those frayed friendships grew Bishop’s discontent and led him to a tweet that will haunt him forever.

Perhaps things could have been handled better. Perhaps Bishop, and the PGA’s senior director of communications Julius Mason, could have been more proactive in assessing the seriousness of the situation and would have issued a stronger apology.

But none of that happened and by 9 a.m. on Friday Bishop could sense the tide turning against him. After two years of “living on the edge,” the maverick was what his record said he was, outspoken and unedited.

In a five-minute conference call with the entire PGA board on Friday, Bishop apologized and explained how things transpired. He even offered to stay off social media and out of the mainstream press until he stepped down on Nov. 21, but the die had been cast.

“I’m off. I’m off. I’m done,” Bishop said of his self-imposed exile from social media on Tuesday.

It was five days too late.

In an emotional interview on Tuesday, Bishop conceded the point and acknowledged that his presidency would now be defined by those 118 characters, not his fight against the USGA’s ban on anchoring, not the inroads he made to strengthen ties between the PGA Tour and the PGA of America. Not even his outspoken support for the inclusion of women in the R&A.

“Great announcement by R&A today allowing women members. 21st century officially arrives in golf,” he tweeted following last month’s historic vote in Scotland.

“It’s painful because it takes a lot of the things we’ve done and puts them down the drain,” said Bishop, who was stripped of his status as an honorary president but not his PGA membership.

As he headed for the airport Tuesday, back to his day job running his club in Indiana, Bishop was asked if he ever planned to attend another PGA Championship or Ryder Cup.

“I doubt it,” he allowed. “I’ve had a great experience the last six years. My fate is sealed with the PGA of America. That’s no bitterness, it’s just not a priority right now.”

It is ironic that Bishop chose last Thursday to stay on script when the PGA issued what has largely been called a non-apology. The apology, he said, “were not my words.”

After living rogue for two years, it may have been his decision to stay on script that ultimately cost him.

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Kelly beats Monty with two-shot swing on final hole

By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 3:21 am

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Jerry Kelly made an 18-foot birdie putt on the final hole, Colin Montgomerie missed a 6-footer for par and Kelly turned a one-shot deficit into a victory Saturday in the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

After Kelly drove it well right into lava rocks on the par-4 16th, leading to bogey and giving Montgomerie the lead, Montgomerie made a mistake with his tee shot on the last, finding a fairway bunker. Montgomerie's approach went over the green and after Kelly converted his birdie, the 54-year-old Scot jammed his par putt well past the hole.

Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship

It was the third win on the over-50 tour for the 51-year-old Kelly, who finished tied for 14th last week at the PGA Tour's Sony Open in Honolulu. That gave him confidence as he hopped over to the Big Island for his tournament debut at Hualalai. The limited-field event includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

Kelly closed with a 6-under 66 for a three-day total of 18-under 198. Montgomerie shot 69. David Toms shot 67 and finished two shots back, and Miguel Angel Jimenez was another stroke behind after a 66.

Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, closed with a 70 to finish at 10 under.

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Rahm manages frustration, two back at CareerBuilder

By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 1:21 am

Jon Rahm managed the winds and his frustrations Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge to give himself a chance to win his fourth worldwide title in the last year.

Rahm’s 2-under-par 70 on the PGA West Stadium Course left him two shots off the lead going into the final round.

“I wasn’t really dealing with the wind that much,” Rahm said of his frustrations. “I was dealing with not being as fluid as I was the last two days.”

Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

The world’s No. 3 ranked player opened with a 62 at La Quinta Country Club on Thursday and followed it up with a 67 on Friday at PGA West. He made six birdies and four bogeys on the Stadium Course on Saturday.

“The first day, everything was outstanding,” Rahm said. “Yesterday, my driver was a little shaky but my irons shots were perfect. Today, my driver was shaky and my irons shots were shaky. On a course like this, it’s punishing, but luckily on the holes where I found the fairway I was able to make birdies.”

Rahm is projected to move to No. 2 in the world rankings with a finish of sixth or better on Sunday.

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Cook leads by one entering final round at CareerBuilder

By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 12:51 am

LA QUINTA, Calif. – Austin Cook hit a hybrid into the fairway bunker on the par-4 18th on a breezy Saturday afternoon at La Quinta Country Club, then chunked a wedge and raced a chip 20 feet past the hole.

Kip Henley, the longtime PGA Tour caddie who guided Cook to a breakthrough victory at Sea Island in November, stepped in to give the 26-year-old former Arkansas star a quick pep talk.

''Kip said, 'Let's finish this like we did on the first day at the Nicklaus Course.' We made a big par putt on 18 there and he said, 'Let's just do the same thing. Let's get this line right and if you get the line right it's going in.'''

It did, giving Cook an 8-under 64 and a one-stroke lead in the CareerBuilder Challenge going into the final round on the Stadium Course at PGA West. Fellow former Razorback Andrew Landry and Martin Piller were tied for second, and Jon Rahm and Scott Piercy were a another stroke back after a tricky day in wind that didn't get close to the predicted gusts of 40 mph.

Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

''I know that I wouldn't have wanted to play the Stadium today,'' Cook said. ''I think we got a great draw with the courses that we got to play on the days that we got to play them.''

Cook played the final six holes on the front nine in 6 under with an eagle and four birdies.

''Starting on my fourth hole, I was able to make a birdie and kind of get the ball rolling and it never really stopped rolling,'' Cook said. ''Kip and I were doing really good at seeing the line on the greens.''

After a bogey on 10, he birdied 11, 12 and 15 and parred the final three to get to 19-under 197.

''I think that tonight the nerves, the butterflies, all that will kind of be a little less,'' Cook said. ''I've been in the situation before and I was able to finish the job on Sunday. I think it would be a little different if I didn't play like I did on Sunday at Sea Island.''

He's making his first start in the event.

''I came in from Hawaii on Monday, so I only had two days to prepare for three courses,'' Cook said.

Landry, the second-round leader, had a 70 at the Stadium. Piller, the husband of LPGA tour player Gerina Piller, shot a 67 at La Quinta. Winless on the PGA Tour, they will join Cook in the final threesome.

''Piller's a good guy and we have played a lot together and same with Cookie,'' said Landry, the only player without a bogey after 54 holes. ''Hope the Hogs are going to come out on top.''

Rahm had a 70 at the Stadium to reach 17 under. The third-ranked Rahm beat up the par 5s again, but had four bogeys – three on par 3s. He has played the 12 par 5s in 13 under with an eagle and 11 birdies.

''A little bit of a survival day,'' Rahm said.

The wind was more of a factor on the more exposed and tighter Stadium Course.

''The course is firming up,'' Rahm said. ''I know if we have similar wind to today, if we shoot something under par, you'll be way up there contesting it over the last few holes.''

Piercy had a 66 at the Stadium.

''I controlled my ball really well today,'' he said.

Adam Hadwin had a 67 at La Quinta a year after shooting a third-round 59 on the course. The Canadian was 16 under along with Grayson Murray and Brandon Harkins. Murray had a 67 on the Nicklaus Course, and Harkins shot 68 at the Stadium.

Phil Mickelson missed the cut in his first tournament of the year for the second time in his career, shooting a 74 on the Stadium to finish at 4 under – four strokes from a Sunday tee time. The 47-year-old Hall of Famer was playing for the first time since late October. He also missed the cut in the Phoenix Open in his 2009 opener.

Charlie Reiter, the Palm Desert High School senior playing on the first sponsor exemption the event has given to an amateur, also missed the cut. He had three early straight double bogeys in a 77 on the Stadium that left him 1 over.

John Daly had an 80 at La Quinta. He opened with a triple bogey and had six bogeys – four in a row to start his second nine - and only one birdie. The 51-year-old Daly opened with a 69 on the Nicklaus layout and had a 71 on Friday at the Stadium.

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Phil misses CareerBuilder cut for first time in 24 years

By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 12:48 am

Phil Mickelson missed the cut Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge. It’s a rare occurrence in his Hall of Fame career.

He has played the event 15 times, going back to when it was known as the Bob Hope Classic. He has won it twice.

How rare is his missing the cut there?

The last time he did so, there was no such thing as a DVD, Wi-Fi, iPods, Xbox, DVR capability or YouTube.

Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

The PGA Tour’s Jon Rahm didn’t exist, either.

The last time Mickelson missed a cut in this event was 1994, nine months before Rahm was born.

Mickelson struggled to a 2-over-par 74 in the heavy winds Saturday on the PGA West Stadium Course, missing the 54-hole cut by four shots. He hit just four of 14 fairways, just nine of 18 greens. He took a double bogey at the 15th after requiring two shots to escape the steep-walled bunker on the left side of the green.

Mickelson won’t have to wait long to try to get back in the hunt. He’s scheduled to play the Farmers Insurance Open next week at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, Calif.