Is The Third Time The Charm?
By Torleif Sorenson on 10/30/14

First, Ted Bishop issued a non-apology to pro golfer Ian Poulter over his sexist social media posts. Then, after impeaching and removing Bishop from his post as the organization's president, the PGA of America had to release an additional statement correcting Bishop's false statements about the punishment and removal from the PGA's senior leadership.

On Wednesday evening, Bishop finally issued a mea culpa in a letter sent to the 41 PGA of America section leaders. He still took time to trumpet what the PGA of America did while he was president, including venue selections for the PGA Championship at the Ryder Cup, along with the PGA's response to the USGA's Rule 14-1b. But at the end of the ninth paragraph, Bishop still misrepresents his role as a "past president" of the PGA.

In any event, here is the letter Bishop sent on Wednesday:
Greetings:

I wanted to take a moment to reach out to you and say how genuinely sorry I am for my stupidity and irresponsible social media posts that put the PGA of America in an embarrassing position last Friday. I abused my platform and let my personal emotions regarding Tom Watson and Nick Faldo drive ill-conceived comments about Ian Poulter, which some thought contained a sexist overtone.

It is with full remorse that I take complete responsibility for my actions. Serving you as our 38th PGA President was the greatest honor of my life. In the past two years our team was able to accomplish many milestones in our Association’s history. Just a year ago we announced that we were going to distribute nearly $4 million to our 41 sections in additional funding from ADP funding, business development deals and PGA Tour funding.

I had asked our staff to compile success stories on how Sections were able to use this funding to help our members. You will hear these stories at the annual meeting in Indianapolis in a few weeks. Even though I won’t be there to hear the testimonials I am proud that we impacted many through this action.

The PGA became a respected voice with the golf world when we reacted to our member survey and opposed Rule 14-1b. The PGA elevated its relationship with the PGA Tour which resulted in increased playing opportunities for our members and additional Section funding.

Exciting championship site announcements took place. Bethpage Black will serve as the 2019 PGA Championship site as well as the host of the 2024 Ryder Cup. We named a West Coast PGA Championship site at Harding Park in San Francisco for 2020. The PGA has a great new partner in Donald Trump and we will take the Senior PGA and PGA Championships to Trump properties. The announcement of the KPMG PGA/LPGA Championship is a huge statement on the importance of women in golf.

I cannot express the excitement that I was feeling with the Indiana Section as it prepares to host our annual meeting next month in Indianapolis. I can assure you that my section will make this the best PGA annual meeting despite the circumstances that I have created.

There are valuable lessons to be learned here. On Friday when I asked the PGA officers why I was being removed I was told it was because of three factors. There was a negative media reaction, potential sponsorship ramifications and many negative remarks from PGA members.

When the PGA sent out message points on Monday regarding my impeachment, it said I was removed because my comments made on social media violated the PGA of America Code of Ethics. This is powerful and for someone who served six years on the PGA Board of Control it clearly sets an eye-opening precedent. I want to emphasize to all of you the severe importance in the use of your social media platforms. Do not be cavalier with your words and succumb to a Code of Ethics violation.

The outpouring of support that I have received from PGA members in the past few days has been overwhelming. Many have offered encouragement and said the PGA's punishment does not fit the crime. The severe nature of my penalty includes impeachment, not being able to serve as the honorary president and never being classified as a past president of the PGA of America.

While I appreciate that support, please know that I am responsible for my actions. I have to accept the penalties given me by our Board of Directors. I have no one to blame in this situation other than myself. I was stupid and irresponsible. Hopefully, people will learn from my actions.

It has been my pleasure to serve as your 38th president. I am proud to continue to be a PGA member. I encourage you to continue to work hard to grow the game. Get involved with Get Golf Ready and PGA Junior League. Support Drive, Chip and Putt. You can make a difference.

Sincerely, Ted Bishop, PGA

At least Bishop closed his letter to those section leaders with a clear-cut call to action that is completely appropriate and emphasizes three paramount elements of the PGA of America's mission. Let's hope that this is the end of this sorry episode and that people everywhere take Bishops warning about being "cavalier" in using social media.


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[ comments ]
falcon50driver says:
As I am a Cavalier, a supporter of King Charles I and his son Charles II, I am insulted by his disdainful use of the word Cavalier. How dare he take such a high and mighty attitude toward us. To Arms, fellow Cavaliers!
10/30/14
 
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