Ted Bishop calls Ian Poulter a “Lil Girl”

Ted Bishop (Courtesy: Zimbio.com)

Ted Bishop (Courtesy: Zimbio.com)

UPDATE: Bishop has been removed as PGA of America president and Jason Sobel has the details. Harsh in my opinion.

You’d think that people involved with the American Ryder Cup team would like to take focus away from the event that they’ve won twice in the last two decades, but PGA of America president Ted Bishop has managed to not only keep the fire burning, but also found a way to stick his foot firmly in his mouth.

Thanks to Ryan Ballengee for the below screengrabs, necessary since Bishop has now deleted the messages.

bishop-faldo-tweet (1) bishop-faldo-fb

The PGA of America then released this statement regarding Bishop:

At the heart of this, apparently, is Poulter’s new book in which he went to bat for Sergio Garcia after Faldo called Garcia “useless” on the air at the Ryder Cup for his performance in 2008 at Valhalla while Faldo was captain of Europe.

Here’s the full quote from Poulter’s book:

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.

So, a couple of quick points:

  • Faldo has already apologized for the comment and was definitely ready to move on.
  • Team Europe has always kept quiet about how much they disliked having Faldo as captain of that team in 2008.
  • Poulter must have felt pretty strongly about it to get that in to the book with the publishing date so soon after the Ryder Cup.

There’s a few things here that I don’t quite understand. First off, based on the PGA of America’s response and at least as of this writing, the complete absence of an apology from Bishop, they clearly don’t get how the internet works. Bishop’s “prompt removal” of the messages took over an hour, which is an eternity in 2014 when we’re talking about how things move online, plus as Ballengee notes, the internet doesn’t forget. Within minutes of those messages being posted, people took screengrabs like the ones above for the purpose of posts just like this.

Second, based on the quotes from Poulter’s book, Bishop had no reason whatsoever to take offence personally, so him casually making noise about Poulter is way out of left field. I’m all for having people speak their mind when they have something to say, but the fact is that someone in Bishop’s position, one of power in the game, needs to exercise caution with any public statement. The fact that he’s criticizing one of golf’s most visible players, and one that has helped fill the wallets of everyone at the PGA of America because of his play at the Ryder Cup, makes it even worse.

The last thing is something that Poulter touched on himself while taking the high road in response on Thursday night:

In Bishop’s crusade to slam Poulter, I’m sure that he didn’t mean to put down an entire gender, but things like that tend to happen when you don’t think before you speak, a concept which Bishop is more than familiar with. It’s even more magnified when you consider that part of Bishop’s job is allegedly to help grow the game. Taking shots at the players and doing so by throwing an entire gender under the bus at the same time doesn’t help that goal, and in fact, probably hurts the game more than anything. It also proves that you’re probably not the best person for the job that you have been appointed to.

One of the things that Poulter has always touched on when commenting about the difference between the two Ryder Cup sides is that Europe always feels like a team. The petty sniping that you saw from Team USA after the loss at Gleneagles, regardless of who was right and wrong, wasn’t a good look in any way and this kind of commentary from someone at the helm is another example of what Poulter is talking about. The other leaders of the game, Peter Dawson of the R&A, Tim Finchem at the PGA Tour and the USGA’s Mike Davis have all had their missteps while trying to figure out how to govern over the sport, but can you imagine them doing something like this? The answer is no.

Ted Bishop’s two year term as the head of the PGA of America is coming to an end shortly. It’s for the best.

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