PGA of America president Ted Bishop isn’t one to mince words, but he took it too far on Thursday when he launched an attack at Ian Poulter via two of his social media channels. Bishop called Poulter a “Lil Girl” in response to his comments on Nick Faldo and Tom Watson as Ryder Cup captains.
Bishop, who had spent the day with Faldo at The Greenbrier, tweeted to Poulter, “Faldo’s record stands by itself. Six majors and all-time RC points. Yours vs. His? Lil Girl.”
Here’s a screen grab of the tweet, which was deleted by Bishop once it caught the public’s attention and outrage ensued (via Ryan Ballengee):
It didn’t end there — Bishop also took to his Facebook page and posted a similar rant.
“Used to be athletes who had lesser records or accomplishments in a sport never criticized the icons,” Bishop wrote. “Tom Watson (8 majors and 10-3-1 Ryder Cup record) and Nick Faldo (6 majors and all-time Ryder Cup points leader) get bashed by Ian James Poulter. Really? Sounds like a little school girl squealing during recess. C’MON MAN!”
The PGA of America told the Associated Press that Bishop “realized that his post was inappropriate and promptly removed it.”
In an email to the AP on Thursday night, Bishop wrote, “Obviously I could have selected some different ways to express my thoughts on Poulter’s remarks. Golf had always been a sport where respect was shown to its icons. That seems to have gone by the wayside.”
Bishop was upset over the criticism that Poulter lays out in his recently released book, “No Limits,” against Faldo and Watson.
During the Ryder Cup last month at Gleneagles, Faldo launched an attack against Sergio Garcia, calling him “useless.” In Poulter book, he strongly defended Garcia and slammed Faldo.
“And he was captain. So who’s useless? Faldo might need to have a little look in the mirror. I have always got on great with Faldo in the past and I have a great deal of respect for everything he has achieved but this feels like sour grapes. It feels like a guy who is still bitter that he lost in 2008.
“Faldo has lost a lot of respect from players because of what he said. There were plenty of things a lot of the players were unhappy with at Valhalla but none of us criticised him. He may find that begins to change now.”
Poulter also wrote in his book that Watson’s decision-making “completely baffles me.” He was referring to the American captain’s decision to sit Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley for both matches on Saturday.
Poulter, who had boarded a flight to China before the controversy over Bishop’s comments imploded, was surprised and overwhelmed by his responses when he landed. In a statement to Golf Channel, he called Bishop’s remarks, “shocking and disappointing.”
“Is being called a “lil girl” meant to be derogatory or a put down?” Poulter told Golf Channel. “That’s pretty shocking and disappointing, especially coming from the leader of the PGA of America. No further comment.”
Yes, being called a “lil girl” is meant to be derogatory and a putdown, but most of all, it’s a completely sexist remark. I expected more from Bishop, who has always positioned himself as women-friendly during his presidency.
Some may have found the comment harmless and felt it was just a bunch of sensitive politically-correct narcs trying to start a controversy. Well, that point of view is completely out of touch and simply wrong. (And, by the way, if you didn’t find it sexist, it was at best unprofessional.)
Golf already has a reputation (and not a good one) of being an old boy’s club that is rampant with sexism (and as a female who works in the industry, I can attest to its veracity). Regardless of intent, a remark from a man with Bishop’s position and stature in golf only strengthens the case that golf is backwards and prejudicial. It’s just embarrassing, but sadly, it’s an accurate glimpse into the industry.