ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – Player reaction to PGA of America president Ted Bishop’s insensitive remarks on social media ranged from shock to initial surprise on Friday at the McGladrey Classic.
Early Friday at Sea Island, one player, who requested that he not be identified, said he was “stunned” by Bishop’s comments, which stemmed from Ian Poulter’s criticism of Nick Faldo, the 2008 European Ryder Cup captain, in his recently released autobiography “No Limits.”
“@IanJamesPoulter Faldo’s record stands by itself. Six majors and all-time (Ryder Cup) points. Yours vs. His? Lil Girl,” Bishop tweeted late Thursday afternoon.
Most players at the McGladrey Classic were just learning of Bishop’s remarks and declined to comment. “I’m glad I don’t Twitter,” said Matt Kuchar, a member of this year’s U.S. Ryder Cup team.
Davis Love III, the 2008 U.S. captain and a member of the PGA’s 11-man Ryder Cup task force, said he just learned of the comments after his round at Sea Island, where he is serving as this week’s host.
“What’s so great about the Ryder Cup is all the passion. What’s not so great is all the passion,” Love said. “The back and forth since we lost, there have been a lot of things guys have wished they hadn’t have said in the press room, like (Phil) Mickelson.”
Mickelson seemed to air the U.S. team’s dirty laundry on Sunday at last month’s Ryder Cup when he said, “Unfortunately, we have strayed from a winning formula in 2008 for the last three Ryder Cups, and we need to consider maybe getting back to that formula that helped us play our best.”
Love said Bishop’s comments are exactly why 2010 U.S. Ryder Cup captain Corey Pavin advised his players to avoid social media.
“I’m sure he didn’t mean it derogatory to anyone except for Ian,” Love said. “(Bishop has) done a lot for the PGA of America. I can show you an e-mail from our head professional that was one of the nicest e-mails complimenting Ted’s presidency. I’ve seen him do a lot of great things for a lot of people.”
Many have said that Bishop’s comments are particularly shortsighted considering the PGA’s push in recent years to get more women involved in the game, but Love said he’s seen firsthand Bishop’s efforts to make golf more inclusive.
“He is trying to grow the game. I have sat in board meetings with him trying to get more women involved. He won’t be judged by this,” Love said.