High-profile women mostly silent on Bishop comments

By Jay CoffinOctober 25, 2014, 4:30 pm

Two years ago my son, 6 years old at the time, was loafing in a YMCA-league soccer game. Absolutely loafing. When the game was over, I walked over to him and told him I was disappointed he didn’t try harder and that he was playing like a girl.

With my daughter standing nearby, my wife gave me a ration of you-know-what like she had never done before. You can imagine how the one-sided conversation went down. Forced to view a commonly used phrase from the viewpoint of the people it disparages, I’ve never made such a comparison again.

I flashed back to this incident on Friday as I sat in my office, glued to Twitter, monitoring reaction of Ted Bishop’s antiquated “Lil Girl” comments toward Ian Poulter. Mainly I stewed at how little of the fuss came from those who I suspected would have the loudest voices – high-profile women deeply rooted in the game.

The hours passed and there was no response from the LPGA, the most successful women’s professional sports organization in history that was founded nearly 65 years ago. Finally a statement was released Saturday morning, some 40 hours after Bishop’s damning posts.

Golf Channel made attempts to reach several of the most respected women in the game and nearly all did not feel comfortable enough to comment.

Annika Sorenstam released a one-sentence statement later in the day. Nancy Lopez spoke softly. Golf Channel’s Paige Mackenzie made pointed comments on both Morning Drive and Golf Central. Prominent PGA of America member Suzy Whaley spoke strongly and eloquently and was the least afraid to tackle the issue.

“Obviously, I was extremely disturbed by it,” Whaley said on Golf Central. “There were extremely insulting and sexist.

“For me to hear comments that are derogatory about young girls, or insulting, just because you are a girl, is offensive. Our board of directors took swift action. The PGA of America finds it quite critical to be inclusive and we will continue to do so moving forward.”

Everyone else? Radio silence.

Moving on: Can this be a teachable moment?

I’m not knocking anyone for feeling how they do. That’s not my thing. I would never sit here, as a male journalist, and tell women they’re wrong because they didn’t shout from the mountaintop that Bishop’s comments were demeaning and in extremely poor taste.

As a member of the golf industry for 17 years and as the father of a 9-year-old daughter, however, I wonder why there wasn’t more public discussion. I covered the LPGA extensively for six years (2001-06) and I know how passionate players are about their tour. There wasn’t another woman in a position of power who thought Bishop’s comments were a bigger deal than I did? Why did more public outcry surround Paulina Gretzky gracing the cover of Golf Digest’s May issue than did Bishop’s Facebook post saying Poulter acted like a “school girl squealing during recess”?

Perhaps, as one LPGA player suggested to me, some are so desensitized to these comments, they hear them so often while inside the ropes, that this was nothing to get worked up over.

Maybe there’s a feeling that there’s no way for women to win a battle against such a prominent male figure, that going public only does more harm to women than it does good.

Perhaps some were afraid to speak out against the PGA of America, the very organization that swept in and rescued the floundering LPGA Championship and turned it into the Women’s PGA Championship, a better major at a better venue.

There are theories aplenty.

Mostly though, what I really wanted were strong women’s voices for my daughter to hear. I wanted her to have a chance to find a new role model because someone stood up to a powerful organization to say enough is enough. It’s an important issue to me as a father and it makes me wonder if it’s a big deal to women. Right now, I’m not certain. Perhaps my moral compass needs to be recalibrated, but I expected more from women’s leadership.

I shared most of my concerns with women coworkers who appear both in front of and behind the camera and discovered that many were looking for prominent athletes and journalists to step up, too. It wasn’t just me.

Ultimately, Bishop was booted for his poor choice of words and it’s not a surprise. Someone in such a high-ranking position absolutely cannot demean one half of the human race and walk away unscathed. He was a loose cannon anyway and enough was enough. Bishop’s impeachment also tells us that, although there wasn’t an overabundance of public comments from women’s golf A-listers, there was enough heat going on behind closed doors to seal the deal.

Whether you agree with Bishop’s fate isn’t the point; it’s my sincere hope that women don’t view silence as golden the next time this topic arises, because sadly, at some point, it will resurface. When it does I want my daughter to hear more brave voices like Suzy Whaley.

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Watch: Moore does impressions of Tiger, Poults, Bubba

By Grill Room TeamJuly 16, 2018, 10:36 pm
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Johnson begins Open week as 12/1 betting favorite

By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 5:15 pm

Dustin Johnson heads into The Open as the top-ranked player in the world, and he's also an understandable betting favorite as he looks to win a second career major.

Johnson has not played since the U.S. Open, where he led by four shots at the halfway point and eventually finished third. He has three top-10 finishes in nine Open appearances, notably a T-2 finish at Royal St. George's in 2011.

Johnson opened as a 12/1 favorite when the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook first published odds for Carnoustie after the U.S. Open, and he remains at that number with the first round just three days away.

Here's a look at the latest odds on some of the other top contenders, according to the Westgate:

12/1: Dustin Johnson

16/1: Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose

20/1: Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Tommy Fleetwood, Brooks Koepka, Jon Rahm

25/1: Jason Day, Henrik Stenson, Tiger Woods

30/1: Sergio Garcia, Francesco Molinari, Paul Casey, Alex Noren, Patrick Reed

40/1: Hideki Matsuyama, Marc Leishman, Branden Grace, Tyrrell Hatton

50/1: Phil Mickelson, Ian Poulter, Matthew Fitzpatrick

60/1: Russell Knox, Louis Oosthuizen, Matt Kuchar, Bryson DeChambeau, Zach Johnson, Tony Finau, Bubba Watson

80/1: Lee Westwood, Adam Scott, Patrick Cantlay, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Thomas Pieters, Xander Schauffele

100/1: Shane Lowry, Webb Simpson, Brandt Snedeker, Ryan Fox, Thorbjorn Olesen

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Woods needs top-10 at Open to qualify for WGC

By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 4:34 pm

If Tiger Woods is going to qualify for the final WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club, he'll need to do something he hasn't done in five years this week at The Open.

Woods has won eight times at Firestone, including his most recent PGA Tour victory in 2013, and has openly stated that he would like to qualify for the no-cut event in Akron before it shifts to Memphis next year. But in order to do so, Woods will need to move into the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking after this week's event at Carnoustie.

Woods is currently ranked No. 71 in the world, down two spots from last week, and based on projections it means that he'll need to finish no worse than a tie for eighth to have a chance of cracking the top 50. Woods' last top-10 finish at a major came at the 2013 Open at Muirfield, where he tied for sixth.

Updated Official World Golf Ranking

There are actually two OWGR cutoffs for the Bridgestone, July 23 and July 30. That means that Woods could theoretically still add a start at next week's RBC Canadian Open to chase a spot in the top 50, but he has said on multiple occasions that this week will be his last start of the month. The WGC-Bridgestone Invitational will be played Aug. 2-5.

There wasn't much movement in the world rankings last week, with the top 10 staying the same heading into the season's third major. Dustin Johnson remains world No. 1, followed by Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm. Defending Open champ Jordan Spieth is ranked sixth, with Rickie Fowler, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Tommy Fleetwood rounding out the top 10.

Despite taking the week off, Sweden's Alex Noren moved up three spots from No. 14 to No. 11, passing Patrick Reed, Bubba Watson and Paul Casey.

John Deere Classic champ Michael Kim went from No. 473 to No. 215 in the latest rankings, while South African Brandon Stone jumped from 371st to 110th with his win at the Scottish Open.

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Spieth takes familiar break ahead of Open defense

By Rex HoggardJuly 16, 2018, 3:50 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – As his title chances seemed to be slipping away during the final round of last year’s Open Championship, Jordan Spieth’s caddie took a moment to remind him who he was.

Following a bogey at No. 13, Michael Greller referenced a recent vacation he’d taken to Mexico where he’d spent time with Michael Phelps and Michael Jordan and why he deserved to be among that group of singular athletes.

Spieth, who won last year’s Open, decided to continue the tradition, spending time in Cabo again before this week’s championship.

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“I kind of went through the same schedule,” Spieth said on Monday at Carnoustie. “It was nice to have a little vacation.”

Spieth hasn’t played since the Travelers Championship; instead he attended the Special Olympics USA Games earlier this month in Seattle with his sister. It was Spieth’s first time back to the Pacific Northwest since he won the 2015 U.S. Open.

“I went out to Chambers Bay with [Greller],” Spieth said. “We kind of walked down the 18th hole. It was cool reliving those memories.”

But most of all Spieth said he needed a break after a particularly tough season.

“I had the itch to get back to it after a couple weeks of not really working,” he said. “It was nice to kind of have that itch to get back.”