Former PGA President Bishop Says Firing ‘Doesn’t Fit the Crime’

Ted Bishop said being forced out as president of the PGA of America for making “insensitive” comments on social media doesn’t fit the crime.

Bishop, 60, was critical of European Tour player Ian Poulter for comments the Englishman made about former Ryder Cup captains Tom Watson and Nick Faldo in a book. Bishop called Poulter a “lil girl” on Twitter, then wrote on Facebook that Poulter sounded “like a little school girl squealing during recess.”

Bishop was removed from office on Oct. 24 with less than a month left in his two-year term as president.

“I created this mess,” Bishop told the Golf Channel yesterday in his first television interview since being ousted. “It’s my fault. People have said, ‘How do you think you should have been punished?’ And I have to be honest with you. I don’t think the punishment fits the crime.”

Instead, Bishop said he would have been in favor of banning him from social media while allowing him to serve out his presidency. Bishop, the director of golf at The Legends Golf Club in Franklin, Indiana, said he accepted the PGA’s vote “to impeach me” after declining its request to resign.

“I wanted to at least be able to apologize to the board in person,” Bishop said yesterday. “I felt it was important for me to do that. It wasn’t a matter of going down swinging or me being obstinate or me being resistant. I just felt if we were going to go through the due process, we needed to.”

‘Highly Disrespectful’

Poulter, 38, described Watson’s captaincy of this year’s U.S. Ryder Cup team as “baffling.” Poulter was part of the European team that won the event for a third straight time.

Poulter’s book also criticized comments Faldo made last month on TV about Spain’s Sergio Garcia. Faldo, who was European captain in 2008, said Garcia “was useless” during that year’s Ryder Cup, the last time the U.S. won. Poulter said Faldo’s comments were “highly disrespectful.”

Bishop responded to Poulter while attending an event in West Virginia with Faldo.

“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 that night. “Really? Faldo’s record stands by itself. Six majors and all-time RC points. Yours vs. His? Lil Girl.”

As a grandfather and father of two girls who work in the golf industry, Bishop said he has long been an advocate for inclusion and regrets that his comments led many to label him as being sexist.

“I look at the things that I feel like I’ve done in my career, for my girls, for women from day one, and I think these things, they’re flushed down the toilet,” he said. “That’s going to be my legacy.”

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