• PGA of America president removed from office.
• Apologises for remarks that led to his dismissal.
• Had called Ian Poulter a 'lil girl' on Twitter and Facebook.
• LPGA expresses support for PGA's 'quick and decisive action'.
Ted Bishop has apologised to Ian Poulter for the slur that yesterday cost the PGA of America president his job.
Bishop, who was due to vacate the position next month, was impeached and subsequently relieved of his duties by the PGA after labelling Europe’s Ryder Cup talisman Poulter a ‘lil girl’ on social media.
In separate Facebook and Twitter posts, Bishop criticised the Englishman for less than favourable observations he made about former Ryder Cup captains Sir Nick Faldo and Tom Watson in his new autobiography, ‘No Limits’.
Bishop later removed the comments from both sites but that wasn’t enough to save his job, as PGA board of directors voted to have him removed from office with immediate effect.
"This is a classic example of poor use of social media on my part." - Ted Bishop
In a statement issued after his dismissal, Bishop said: “I want to apologize to Ian Poulter and anyone else that I might have offended with my remarks on social media that appeared on October 23, 2014. Particularly, I have great remorse that my comments contained the words “little girl” because I have always been a great advocate for girls and women in golf.
“My two children, both girls, have made their careers in golf. I have a 4-year old granddaughter who I hope will someday play the game. In my 37-year career in golf, I have worked with many women to grow the sport and I have been a champion for inclusion and equal rights for women in golf.
“However, this is a classic example of poor use of social media on my part and if I had the chance to hit the delete button on the things that I sent out yesterday, I would without hesitation.”
As well as being removed from office, Bishop’s near two-year term as president will be struck from PGA of America records and he will also lose the right to become an honorary president of the organisation.
“These, along with the impeachment are drastic consequences for the offense I have committed, but I must live with them,” added Bishop. “I take great pride in what we were able to accomplish in the last 23 months. Hopefully, we laid the groundwork for a successful future for the PGA of America. Today, all I have left is my PGA membership and that will always mean the world to me.”
Explaining the decision to remove Bishop, the PGA of America said in a statement: “The PGA of America Board of Directors voted today to remove Ted Bishop, the 38th PGA President, from office for insensitive gender-based statements posted yesterday on social media. The Board deemed the remarks to be inconsistent with the policies of the PGA.”
“The PGA of America’s quick and decisive action sent a strong message." LPGA statement
The organisation’s CEO, Pete Bevacqua, added: “The PGA of America understands the enormous responsibility it has to lead this great game and to enrich lives in our society through golf.
“We must demand of ourselves that we make golf both welcoming and inclusive to all who want to experience it, and everyone at the PGA of America must lead by example."
Reaction on social media to Bishop’s removal has been mixed, although the LPGA quickly issued a statement praising the PGA’s decision.
It said: “The PGA of America’s quick and decisive action sent a strong message - reinforcing a consistent belief that with so many positive gains being made among golf’s leading organizations, there is simply no room, nor willingness, to take a step backwards.”
At the time of writing, Ian Poulter – who had initially described Bishop’s attack on him as ‘shocking and disappointing’ – has not commented on the dismissal.
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