While PGA of America meets, Bishop ponders legacy

By Rex HoggardNovember 21, 2014, 11:19 pm

FRANKLIN, Ind. – A bitter cold and light blanket of snow have gripped the Legends Golf Club, leaving Ted Bishop with the one thing he probably doesn’t need at this juncture – time.

Time to ponder the cascading turn of events that led to his ouster as the president of the PGA of America. Time to consider his legacy that before Oct. 23 covered nearly six pages of single-spaced bullet points. Time to lament the moment it all slipped away with a single insensitive tweet.

“Faldo’s record stands by itself. Six majors all-time [Ryder Cup] points. Yours vs. His? Lil Girl,” Bishop vented via Twitter in response to Ian Poulter’s criticism of Nick Faldo in his new book “No Limits.”

Bishop settles into a chair while tugging on the zipper of his sweater to ward off the unseasonably cold November chill. It’s a Ryder Cup sweater, which seems strangely apropos considering it was at Gleneagles where things began to unravel for the PGA’s 38th president.

In the Scottish gloom of the U.S. team’s five-point loss Bishop was already starting to feel the tide turn against him, both externally and within the PGA. U.S. Ryder Cup captain Tom Watson, Bishop’s captain, was being blasted for another American loss and, by extension, so was Bishop.

“Tom gave his heart and soul to the Ryder Cup for two years, so when he got attacked by a member of the opposing team in my mind it was standing up for a friend and someone who was serving a similar role as me,” Bishop said.

That bunker mentality had festered for four weeks before spilling out into a social media storm that has left the PGA reeling.

Bishop has been largely referenced this week at the PGA’s annual meeting only in hushed tones or veiled references. “You don’t get good publicity,” Donald Trump announced on Friday to begin his keynote speech.

There is also an undertone at this week’s meeting in Indianapolis that Bishop’s fateful tweet was simply the final haymaker in a collection of self-inflicted blows that culminated in his removal from office.

“One of the things I have been criticized for privately in PGA circles is my propensity to being with the media,” Bishop said. “Since Day 1 with the anchoring situation, because of (CEO) Pete Bevacqua’s former relationship with the U.S. Golf Association I took the lead. Right out of the box now the president of the PGA is the most visible spokesperson and that sort of set the stage for the role that I played.”

For Bishop the credibility of the organization depended on transparency and the president’s ability to communicate the message, “whatever that may be.”

But that same outspoken and sometimes confrontational style was in contrast to the traditional role, leading at least one past president to advise Bishop to dial back his wayward ways long before October’s social media miscue.

In many ways it appears Bishop broke that brazen mold, however unintentionally. The association has largely tracked in the opposite direction in the post-Bishop era, evidenced by the fact that two of the three candidates for secretary this week, a post whose holder will ascend to the president’s role in four years, declined to be interviewed before Saturday’s election.

It will all be a part of what amounts to a checkered legacy for Bishop, who motions to a stack of letters and emails on the floor of his office when asked how he’ll be remembered.

“Many of those are from PGA members and I feel pretty good about that. The people that care about the association and care about golf reached out to me,” he says. “I still think there is going to be a legacy of accomplishment.”

But then Bishop pauses before adding, “There is no question I have the distinction of being the only president in 98 years to be impeached.”

It’s strangely fitting that Bishop wraps up his time as president succinctly, with an economy of words befitting the PGA’s first president to embrace Twitter as well as the first to be burned by it.

It will not be Bishop’s principled stand against last year’s ban on anchoring, or his move to provide increased funding ($4 million in 2014) for the 41 PGA sections without any mandated strings, or even a drastically improved relationship between the PGA and the PGA Tour that will define his 23 months in office. Only his historic ouster will linger.

Although Bishop is not attending this week’s annual meeting, which is only about 25 miles from his Legends club, his absence did not go unnoticed.

“We are 100 percent behind Ted,” Tony Pancake, the Indiana PGA Section secretary, told the crowd during Thursday’s opening ceremony.

For Bishop the support is certainly welcome, but that does little to quiet the internal dialogue that consumed him since Oct. 23 and the polar vortex that put an end to the golf season in Indiana.

Since his ouster Bishop has had plenty of time to revisit the moments that led to his dismissal and consider the cost of a job that consumed six years of his life counting his terms as secretary and vice president.

“My wife made a comment to me, ‘Was it really all worth it?’” he said. “You can answer that question two ways. When you look at the list of the accomplishments and the way the association was transformed. That’s worth it.

“In terms of how I feel about the PGA of America on a national level it’s similar to how I felt back in 1989 when I became involved with leadership with the association. There was always a ‘them against us’ mentality.”

Friday was a particularly surreal day for Bishop. He was scheduled to be honored at a “president’s evening,” complete with a speech by Tour commissioner Tim Finchem and a performance by “Three Dog Night.”

 “It’s really bittersweet. When you’re going through your time of your presidency you know this time is going to happen. I had about 150 friends and family who were going to go to this thing tonight. It’s tough,” Bishop allowed. “In a lot of ways it should have been the greatest night of my life. Obviously, that’s not going to happen.”

Instead, Bishop will spend the evening with his family at a local Italian steakhouse and be back in his office at the Legends club early Saturday.

Whatever Bishop’s national legacy, whether he’s remembered as a maverick or a master manipulator, he’s learned after four cold weeks to define himself in the simplest terms as a father, grandfather and PGA professional.

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Perez skips Torrey, 'upset' with Ryder Cup standings

By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 2:19 am

Pat Perez is unhappy about his standing on the U.S. Ryder Cup points list, and his situation won't improve this week.

Perez won the CIMB Classic during the fall portion of this season, and he followed that with a T-5 finish at the inaugural CJ Cup. But he didn't receive any Ryder Cup points for either result because of a rule enacted by the American task force prior to the 2014 Ryder Cup which only awards points during the calendar year of the biennial matches as well as select events like majors and WGCs during the prior year.

As a result, Perez is currently 17th in the American points race - behind players like Patrick Reed, Zach Johnson, Bill Haas and James Hahn, none of whom have won a tournament since the 2016 Ryder Cup - as he looks to make a U.S. squad for the first time at age 42.

"That kind of upset me a little bit, the fact that I'm (17) on the list, but I should probably be (No.) 3 or 4," Perez told Golf Digest. "So it kind of put a bitter taste in my mouth. The fact that you win on the PGA Tour and you beat some good players, yet you don't get any points because of what our committee has decided to do."

Perez won't be earning any points this week because he has opted to tee it up at the European Tour's Omega Dubai Desert Classic. The decision comes after Perez finished T-21 last week at the Singapore Open, and it means that the veteran is missing the Farmers Insurance Open in his former hometown of San Diego for the first time since 2001.

Perez went to high school a few minutes from Torrey Pines, and he defeated a field that included Tiger Woods to win the junior world title on the South Course in 1993. His father, Tony, has been a longtime starter on the tournament's opening hole, and Perez was a runner-up in 2014 and tied for fourth last year.

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Woods favored to miss Farmers Insurance Open cut

By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 1:54 am

If the Las Vegas bookmakers are to be believed, folks in the San Diego area hoping to see Tiger Woods this week might want to head to Torrey Pines early.

Woods is making his first competitive start of the year this week at the Farmers Insurance Open, and it will be his first official start on the PGA Tour since last year's event. He missed nearly all of 2017 because of a back injury before returning with a T-9 finish last month at the Hero World Challenge.

But the South Course at Torrey Pines is a far different test than Albany, and the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook lists Woods as a -180 favorite to miss the 36-hole cut. It means bettors must wager $180 to win $100, while his +150 odds to make the cut mean a bettor can win $150 with a $100 wager.

Woods is listed at 25/1 to win. He won the tournament for the seventh time in 2013, but in three appearances since he has missed the 36-hole cut, missed the 54-hole cut and withdrawn after 12 holes.

Here's a look at the various Woods-related prop bets available at the Westgate:

Will Woods make the 36-hole cut? Yes +150, No -180

Lowest single-round score (both courses par 72): Over/Under 70

Highest single-round score: Over/Under 74.5

Will Woods finish inside the top 10? Yes +350, No -450

Will Woods finish inside the top 20? Yes +170, No -200

Will Woods withdraw during the tournament? Yes +650, No -1000

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Monahan buoyed by Tour's sponsor agreements

By Rex HoggardJanuary 24, 2018, 12:27 am

SAN DIEGO – Farmers Insurance announced on Tuesday at Torrey Pines a seven-year extension of the company’s sponsorship of the Southern California PGA Tour event. This comes on the heels of Sony extending its sponsorship of the year’s first full-field event in Hawaii through 2022.

Although these might seem to be relatively predictable moves, considering the drastic makeover of the Tour schedule that will begin with the 2018-19 season, it is a telling sign of the confidence corporations have in professional golf.

“It’s a compliment to our players and the value that the sponsors are achieving,” Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.

Monahan said that before 2014 there were no 10-year title sponsorship agreements in place. Now there are seven events sponsored for 10-years, and another five tournaments that have agreements in place of at least seven years.

“What it means is, it gives organizations like the Century Club [which hosts this week’s Farmers Insurance Open], when you have that level of stability on a long-term basis that allows you to invest in your product, to grow interest and to grow the impact of it,” Monahan said. “You experienced what this was like in 2010 or seen other tournaments that you don’t know what the future is.S o to go out and sell and inspire a community and you can’t state that we have a long-term agreement it’s more difficult.”

Events like this year’s Houston Open, Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas, and The National all currently don’t have title sponsors – although officials at Colonial are confident they can piece together a sponsorship package. But even that is encouraging to Monahan considering the uncertainty surrounding next season’s schedule, which will include the PGA Championship moving to May and The Players to March as well as a pre-Labor Day finish to the season.

“When you look back historically to any given year [the number of events needing sponsors] is lower than the typical average,” Monahan said. “As we start looking to a new schedule next year, you get excited about a great schedule with a great group of partners.”

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Day WDs from Farmers pro-am because of sore back

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 24, 2018, 12:07 am

SAN DIEGO – Jason Day has withdrawn from the Wednesday pro-am at the Farmers Insurance Open, citing a sore back.

Day, the 2015 champion, played a practice round with Tiger Woods and Bryson DeChambeau on Tuesday at Torrey Pines, and he is still expected to play in the tournament.

Day was replaced in the pro-am by Whee Kim. 

Making his first start since the Australian Open in November, Day is scheduled to tee off at 1:30 p.m. ET Thursday alongside Jon Rahm and Brandt Snedeker.