The fallout from Ted Bishop’s controversial social media posts was less than 24 hours old when the PGA of America Board of Directors voted to remove him from office Friday.
The ouster came after Bishop took to social media Thursday evening to attack Ian Poulter for his criticisms of former Ryder Cup captain Nick Faldo, calling Poulter a ‘lil girl.’ The posts have since been deleted.
Bishop later expanded his thoughts on Facebook, defending Tom Watson and Nick Faldo while equating Poulter’s comments to a “little school girl squealing during recess.”
The PGA of America Board of Directors said in its release the remarks were “inconsistent with the policies of the PGA.”
“The PGA of America understands the enormous responsibility it has to lead this great game and to enrich lives in our society through golf,” said PGA Chief Executive Officer Pete Bevacqua. “We must demand of ourselves that we make golf both welcoming and inclusive to all who want to experience it, and everyone at the PGA of America must lead by example.”
Bishop released a statement after being removed as president. Here it is in full:
I want to apologize to Ian Poulter and anyone else that I might have offended with my remarks on social media that appeared on October 23, 2014. Particularly, I have great remorse that my comments contained the words “little girl” because I have always been a great advocate for girls and women in golf.
My two children, both girls, have made their careers in golf. I have a 4-year old granddaughter who I hope will someday play the game. In my 37-year career in golf, I have worked with many women to grow the sport and I have been a champion for inclusion and equal rights for women in golf.
However, this is a classic example of poor use of social media on my part and if I had the chance to hit the delete button on the things that I sent out yesterday, I would without hesitation. The PGA of America asked me to avoid any interaction with the media in the past 24 hours and that is why I did not issue a formal and public apology, which I have wanted to do since early this morning.
This afternoon I was asked by my fellow Officers to resign my position as President. I declined because I wanted to speak to our PGA Board of Directors, offer a personal apology and let the due process take place in this matter. The Board heard me out and then voted to impeach me as the 38th President. That is the due process and I respect that, as painful as it might be.
The PGA has also informed me that I will not become the Honorary President nor will I ever be recognized as a Past President in our Association’s history. These, along with the impeachment are drastic consequences for the offense I have committed, but I must live with them. I take great pride in what we were able to accomplish in the last 23 months. Hopefully, we laid the groundwork for a successful future for the PGA of America. Today, all I have left is my PGA membership and that will always mean the world to me.
Ted Bishop, PGA
Bishop’s social-media posts were in response to Poulter’s new book No Limits: My Autobiography. Poulter criticized Faldo’s on-air comments during the Ryder Cup, in which Faldo said Sergio Garcia was “useless” during the 2008 Ryder Cup.
“Sergio puts a brave face on it but the rest of the guys are fuming. I’m shocked that he has said it. It’s highly disrespectful. It’s a cheap shot and it’s the worst possible timing.
“It makes me laugh. Faldo is talking about someone being useless at the 2008 Ryder Cup. That’s the Ryder Cup where he was captain. That’s the Ryder Cup where the Europe team suffered a heavy defeat.
“And he was captain. So who’s useless? Faldo might need to have a little look in the mirror. I have always got on great with Faldo in the past and I have a great deal of respect for everything he has achieved but this feels like sour grapes. It feels like a guy who is still bitter that he lost in 2008.
“Faldo has lost a lot of respect from players because of what he said. There were plenty of things a lot of the players were unhappy with at Valhalla but none of us criticised him. He may find that begins to change now.”
The PGA of America said Bishop “realized that his post was inappropriate and promptly removed it.”
Bishop said in an email Thursday night to The Associated Press, “Obviously I could have selected some different ways to express my thoughts on Poulter’s remarks. Golf had always been a sport where respect was shown to its icons. That seems to have gone by the wayside.”
Poulter said in a brief telephone interview that he was disappointed in Bishop’s tweet. He later released a statement to Golf Channel.
“Is being called a `lil girl’ meant to be derogatory or a put down?” Poulter said in the statement. “That’s pretty shocking and disappointing, especially coming from the leader of the PGA of America. No further comment.”
Bishop’s two-year term as president was to expire next month at the PGA annual meeting. Bishop chose Watson as the Ryder Cup captain – at 65, the oldest in Ryder Cup history. He recently announced a task force to help solve America’s recent losing streak in the Ryder Cup.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.