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The Continuing Ryder Fallout

Last Thursday, with the deft stroke of his hand-held keyboard, the PGA of America’s 38th President managed to obliterate his historical existence.

Ted Bishop had enjoyed a tumultuous tenure in the 23 months that he served at the President of the world’s largest sporting body and in a little under one month he would have relinquished his role to his Vice-President.  But that was before he very publicly (on Twitter) called England’s Ian Poulter, a “lil girl”.

The full context of what Bishop had to say came in two social media outbursts that Bishop posted on Thursday.  They were responses to what Poulter had written in his recently published autobiography in which the outspoken Englishman had criticized both Tom Watson (who captained this year’s U.S. Ryder Cup team) and Nick Faldo who is the only European Captain to have been on the losing end of the Cup in the last 15 years.  Both posts have since been long deleted; but here is what Bishop said:

Although Bishop would release multiple attacks against Poulter the two most damning were what he said on Twitter: “Faldo’s record stands by itself. Six majors and all-time RC (Ryder Cup) points. Yours vs. His? Lil Girl.”

And followed up with on his personal Facebook page with: “Tom Watson (8 majors and a 10-3-1 Ryder Cup record) and Nick Faldo (6 majors and all-time Ryder Cup points leader) get bashed by Ian James Poulter,” Bishop wrote. “Really? Sounds like a little school girl squealing during recess. C’MON MAN!”.

The reaction was both swift and furious.  The 21-member Board of Directors voted unanimously to remove Bishop as the President and within 24 hours Bishop had essentially been purged.

There is no defense for what Bishop said.  His words are damaging and derogatory and in his capacity (or in any other capacity) as the President of the PGA of America, irrevocably unforgivable.

But when was the last time that you said something publicly or privately that you wanted to immediately take back?   To “un-say”?  Something that you felt passionately about that stirred each of your primary emotions.  And then when you uttered the words, you wanted to immediately renounce them.  I don’t know Ted Bishop, but I think that is where he is at right now.

The media is making such a big deal about Bishop being “fired” which in a sense, he was, but the position of President of the PGA holds no salary, it stems from purely a passion to serve, without remuneration.  Granted it has a great many perks that go with it like the involvement in the Presidents and Ryder Cups, but it is voluntary.  In Bishop’s case it was the culmination of his life’s work.  And now none of that work exists.

The PGA of America issued a statement on Friday to the effect that Bishop was being eradicated from all of their records with the announcement that Bishop:  “will not serve on the Board of Directors in the role of Honorary President, nor will he be granted the rights and privileges of a past president in our governance structure.”

Bishop will not be allowed to hold the honorarium of past President nor will he be an honored guest at PGA Championships, Ryder or Presidents Cups.

On Monday, the PGA followed up with another Press Release that was a little less devastating by allowing Bishop to be recognized as the 38th President saying: “Bishop will continue to be recognized as the 38th President of the PGA, and his record of service during the time period which he served will remain intact. Due to his removal from office, Bishop will not serve on the Board of Directors in the role of Honorary President, nor will he be granted the rights and privileges of a Past President in our governance structure”.

It is a pretty safe bet that Ted Bishop wishes he had the power to make his comments go away in the same fashion.