Bishop: 'I don't think the punishment fits the crime'


In an hour-long interview with Golf World, Ted Bishop, the ousted president of the PGA of America, explained the surreal details of his removal from office last Friday.

Just over 24 hours after he’d taken to social media to blast Ian Poulter for his criticism of Nick Faldo with an insensitive term, calling the Englishman a “Lil Girl,” Bishop was removed from office.

In the interview with Golf World’s Jaime Diaz, Bishop admitted that the treatment Tom Watson received after last month’s Ryder Cup loss clouded his judgment when he learned of Poulter’s remarks regarding Faldo in his recently released autobiography “No Limits.”

“I thought the PGA of America kind of abandoned Tom after we lost, and I've told him that," Bishop said. "Tom had poured his heart and soul into the job, done everything we'd asked, and I don't feel we gave him the show of support that we needed to when he could have used it."

Bishop sent the insensitive tweet and Facebook post at about 5:30 p.m. on Thursday and by 7:30 p.m. he realized his mistake and removed the offending posts.

According to Bishop, he was told by the PGA’s senior director of communications Julius Mason that the association would send out a statement on his behalf, but he still responded to a request from the Associated Press with what has been dubbed in some circles a non-apology.

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“Obviously, bad move on my part," Bishop said, "but I was trying to stay consistent. … My biggest regret in all this is not getting my own apology out. I've gotten killed from some people saying that I never apologized, or I waited too long to apologize, but that was totally out of my control.”

The PGA convened a conference call on Friday with Bishop and vice president Derek Sprague, who was next in line to become the association’s president when Bishop was scheduled to step down in November.

Afterward, in a private phone call, Sprague informed Bishop that whether he resigned or was removed by the board he would be unable to serve as an honorary president or past president. He would, however, be allowed to maintain his PGA membership.

In a teleconference at 4 p.m. on Friday Bishop apologized to the entire board of directors for his poor choice of words but said, “I don’t think the punishment fits the crime.”

According to Golf World, not a single member of the 21-person board voted to keep Bishop in office and about an hour later Sprague called Bishop and urged him to resign.

Bishop declined and Sprague told him, “You’re going to regret that.” At 6:05 p.m., the PGA released a statement announcing that Bishop had been removed from office.

“This has just been an unbelievable ending to what had been the best two years of my life,” Bishop said. “It's also difficult because this situation wasn't dealt with in the more open way our staff has consistently done in the past. Instead, they went underground on me.”

On Sunday, the PGA clarified Bishop’s status with the association moving forward, “Ted is welcomed at PGA events and the Ryder Cup. He just won't be serving in the official role of Honorary President or Past President. Ted is a PGA of America member, and, as such, will always be a welcomed part of our championships, as are all of our 27,000 PGA members,” Mason said.