On Thursday, Ocotber 23, Ted Bishop, then president of the PGA of America, used social media to call professional golfer Ian Poulter a “lil girl” and compared him to a “little girl squealing at recess.”  Bishop’s remarks were in response to Poulter’s criticism in his new book of six-time major winner Nick Faldo, who had become a good friend of Bishop’s. On Friday, October 24, the PGA of America’s board of directors voted to dismiss Bishop from his position as president due to these remarks.  Although his tenure as PGA president will be recognized, he will not be accorded the position of an honorary past president as is customary. Since the USGTF was founded in 1989, we have had a record of inclusion and opportunity for all, including women.  The USGTF does not approve or condone in any way Bishop’s remarks. Having said that, the PGA of America’s punishment does not fit the crime.  Bishop has had a long history of promoting women’s and girls’ golf, in addition to promoting the game for all.  The actions of Bishop in this arena have been nothing short of exemplary, including the formation of the inaugural Women’s PGA Championship and calling on the R&A to admit women members. Interestingly, the PGA of America has itself had a long history of discrimination, including African-Americans, women, and today older people.  The current structure of the PGA of America’s apprentice program makes it virtually impossible for an older person to become a PGA of America member.  In contrast, the USGTF has always welcomed people of all ages and backgrounds. The USGTF is also on record as saying the PGA Tour should sharply reduce its entry fee for qualifying for the PGA Tour, in order for more qualified minorities to be able to afford the process.  Unlike the USGTF, the PGA of America has remained silent on this matter, and therefore is complicit in the lack of minorities on the PGA Tour. Bishop has apologized for his remarks, which we are convinced do not reflect his personal beliefs regarding female golfers, given his long track record in this regard.  When you take into account his entire body of work, it is obvious to us that the PGA of America’s action towards Bishop was unwarranted and has unnecessarily tarnished him and his legacy.  We believe a public reprimand and allowing Bishop to gracefully apologize, which the PGA of America did not permit him to do, was the correct course of action.
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