At 9:25 a.m. Eastern Time Wednesday morning, golf fans will be following and enjoying probably the most exciting wire-to-wire golf event that the professional tours have to offer. The top 64 golfers in the world will be competing head-to-head in a singles match play format where anything can happen. The parallels between this event and NCAA March Madness are obvious, but where the NCAA pulls teams into their national tournament that for the most part have no chance of advancing past the first round, the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship gives us the gift of the top-64 golfers in the world, matched up by four brackets seeded 1 through 16, where the 16-seeds have a very real chance of knocking off a No. 1, and have before.
Last year, we witnessed a fair amount of upsets early with a 16-seed Ernie Els taking down the overall No. 1 in Luke Donald, as well as 15-seed Matteo Manassero taking down 2-seed Webb Simpson, 3 and 2. It also gave us some intriguing late matchups with a Rory McIlroy vs. Lee Westwood semifinal, both 1-seeds in the tournament, and produced an amazing final match between McIlroy vs. Hunter Mahan final, which Mahan emerged victorious.
This year has the look of producing the same amount of excitement. Tiger Woods will be back in the field competing as the second-ranked player in the world, which adds another possibly great storyline to this year’s event that 2012 did not have.
Since the rankings of this even are based off of the Official World Golf Rankings (OWGR), let’s highlight the top-10 in the OWGR and look at some of their possible match-ups and make some projections.
1. Rory McIlroy (Jones Bracket)
Rory enters the WGC as 2012’s runner-up and this year’s top-seed. Rory hasn’t played much this year yet, his only worldwide start being in Abu Dhabi where he failed to make the cut. Hopefully Rory has figured out his new Nike equipment and is able to make a similar run that he made in this tournament last year. He plays his first match against another Irishman and a friend in Shane Lowry, who he should take care of fairly easily. If McIlroy is able to play decent golf, there’s no reason why he shouldn’t be able to at least make it to the round of 16.
2. Tiger Woods (Player Bracket)
Everyone is ready for Tiger to get started this week. He takes on Charles Howell III in his first match of the tournament, who has been playing great golf so far this season. The Player Bracket sets up for Tiger to possibly be the hardest bracket to come out of in the tournament. It features a bottom part of the bracket that is loaded with talent, including last year’s champion, Hunter Mahan, and a great young match play player Matteo Manassero, who has the capability of taking anyone down in this tournament. A lot of matches need to go Tiger’s way to have a generally easy road to the final four, but he looks good to get there no matter what.
3. Luke Donald (Snead Bracket)
It seems like the Snead Bracket could be one of the harder brackets to come out of in this tournament with the kind of talent that sits in certain spots. Donald shouldn’t have a terribly hard time winning his first two matches, but when he has players like Nick Watney, Steve Stricker, Adam Scott and Ian Poulter in his bracket, and could see two of them in back-to-back matches, it could be difficult for Donald to get out of his bracket. Don’t think he can’t take it all though – he won this tournament in 2011, and carries one of the best tee-to-green games in the world.
*Note: Number 4 in the OWGR Brandt Snedeker is not in the field for this tournament.
4. Louis Oosthuizen (Hogan Bracket)
Heralded as one of the sweetest swinging players in the world, Oosthuizen has been playing great golf so far this year, and has a win at the Volvo Golf Championships on the European Tour. For a No. 1 seed, it looks like Oosthuizen might have the easiest path to the final in a bracket that looks ripe for upsets early. Oosthuizen’s biggest test could come in the bracket championship versus Justin Rose, but the way the top part of the bracket matches up with the bottom part of the bracket, who knows what that final match-up could be, but there’s a good chance that Oosthuizen will be in it.
5. Justin Rose (Hogan Bracket)
Justin Rose has the look this year so far that he could win a major very soon. He has been striking the ball wonderfully, and has put together some phenomenal rounds of golf so far this year. The bottom of this bracket is vastly different from the top, and it looks like Rose could be upset before the bracket championship considering his matches going to the final four could be K.J. Choi, Bill Haas, Sergio Garcia, Matt Kuchar, Louis Oosthuizen. That could be one of the hardest roads for a top-seeded player to the final four in the entire tournament.
6. Adam Scott (Snead Bracket)
We haven’t seen much of Adam Scott yet this year, except for his only start on the PGA Tour at the Northern Trust Open, where he finished tied-10. Adam Scott should make quick work of Tim Clark in his first round match, but in his second round match where I project he will be playing Thorbjorn Olesen, he will start having a hard time, and I believe has a good chance to lose in his second match. Scott has shown that he he can go on long runs of playing great golf, but I’m not so sure this is where he starts to show it.
7. Lee Westwood (Player Bracket)
Westwood hasn’t had the greatest of starts to his season this year, and has most recently finished tied-46 at Pebble Beach just a couple weeks ago. He doesn’t carry a great match play record, and the match-ups he could face could give him a lot of trouble. I wouldn’t be surprised if he is a first round knockout, but he should be able to get past his first match. He would meet either Martin Kaymer or George Coetzee in the second round, which will be a very tough match for Westwood no matter who he plays in the second round. Seeing him and Tiger in the bracket championship would be a great treat for the viewer though.
*Note: Number 8 in the OWGR Phil Mickelson is not in the field.
8. Bubba Watson (Jones Bracket)
There could not be more of a wild card in this top-10 than Bubba Watson. His unpredictability could throw his opponents off tremendously, or it could throw him off as well. His road doesn’t look too bad with a first round match against Chris Wood, and then facing the winner of Jim Furyk and Ryan Moore. I think his hiccup will come when he faces the 3-seed Charl Schwartzel in the third round of the tournament. We never know what Bubba is going to give us, and this week should be no different.
9. Charl Schwartzel (Jones Bracket)
Schwartzel could be the possible winner of the Jones Bracket. He has been swinging the club as good as he ever has so far this season, and hits a lot of fairways and greens. His bracket championship could end up being against Rory McIlroy, that he could have a very good chance of beating, or maybe no even have to beat at all, depending on how things work out for him. The way that Schwartzel has been striking the ball and the way he is capable of playing in this match play event by being able to put the ball in the hole from everywhere around the green could be a recipe for success.
10. Jason Dufner (Player Bracket)
Jason Dufner has played pretty well this season so far with two top-10s in Europe and a missed cut at the Phoenix Open. The calm and cool Dufner sits at the bottom part of the bracket which could possibly be labeled the “Bracket of Death”. He will not be able to look past Richard Sterne in his first round match, and if he gets past that, he will have a very rough match to deal with against the Hunter Mahan vs. Matteo Manassero winner. As a good ball striker and a proven winner, Dufner could make some noise in this tournament in a bracket that could see some great golfers leave early.
What is “feel” in putting… and how do you get it?
You’re playing a course for the first time, so you arrive an hour early to warm-up. You make your way toward the practice green and you see a sign at the first tee that reads, “GREEN SPEED TODAY 11.” That brings up two issues:
- How did they arrive at that number?
- How is that information valuable to me?
How did they arrive at that number?
They used what’s known as a stimpmeter — a device that’s used to measure the speed of a green. With a stimpmeter, the green’s surface is tested by rolling a ball down the 30-inch ramp that is tilted downward at a 20-degree angle. The number of feet the ball rolls after leaving the ramp is an indication of the green’s speed. The green-speed test is conducted on a flat surface. A total of three balls are rolled in three different directions. The three balls must then finish within eight inches of each other for the test to be valid.
For example, if the ball is rolled down the ramp and were to stop at 8 feet, the green would be running at an “8.” Were the ball to roll down the ramp and stop at 12 feet, the green would be running at a “12.”
The stimpmeter was invented by Edward S. Stimpson, Sr., a Massachusetts State Amateur Champion and former Harvard Golf Team Captain. After attending the 1935 U.S. Open at Oakmont, he saw the need for a universal testing device after watching Gene Sarazen, who was at the top of his game, putt a ball off the green. He was of the opinion that the greens were unreasonably fast, but he had no way to prove it — thus the motivation for creating the invention.
The device is now used by superintendents to make sure all of their greens are rolling close to the same speed. This ensures that golfers are not guessing from one putt to another if a green is fast or slow based on the way it is maintained. The device is also used by tournament officials who want to make sure that green speed is not too severe.
Do Stimp readings matter for my game?
Not very much. That piece of abstract knowledge is of little value until you can translate it into your own personal feel for the speed of the putt. There is a method that will allow you to turn green speed into a legitimate feel, however, and you don’t even need a stimpmeter or a stimp reading to do it. I call it “Setting Your Own Stimpmeter.”
Before we get to how to do it, the first step is to determine if the putting green is the same speed as the greens on the course. The best source of information in this regard are the professionals working in the golf shop. They will be happy to share this information with you. You only need to ask. Assuming that the speed of the putting green is close to the speed of the greens on the course, you are ready to begin setting your own stimpmeter. This is done by inputting data into your neuromuscular system by rolling putts and visually observing the outcome.
Contrary to what most golfers believe, a golfer’s feel for distance is based in the eyes — not in the hands, which only records tactile information. It’s just like basketball. On the court, you look at the distance to the hoop and respond accordingly. While you would feel the ball in your hands, it doesn’t play a role in determining the proper distance to the hoop. Based on what you saw with your eyes, you would access the data that had been previously inputted through shooting practice.
Setting your own Stimpmeter
- Start by finding a location on the putting green that is flat and roughly 15 feet away from the fringe.
- Using five balls, start rolling putts one at a time toward the fringe. The objective is to roll them just hard enough for them to finish against the edge.
- You may be short of the fringe or long, but it is important that you do not judge the outcome— just observe, because the feel for distance is visually based.
- You should not try and judge the feel of the putt with your hands or any other part of your body. You can only process information in one sensory system at a time — that should be the eyes.
- You should continue to roll balls until you’ve reach the point that most of them are consistently finishing against the fringe. Once you can do that, you have successfully set you stimpmeter.
The key to the entire process is allowing yourself to make a subconscious connection between what your eyes have observed and the associated outcome. You must then trust what you have learned at a sub-conscious level. A conscious attempt to produce a given outcome will short-circuit the system. When it comes to judging speed, you must be prepared to surrender your conscious mind to your sub-conscious mind, which is infinitely wiser and more capable of calculating speed. Want proof? Work through the steps I’ve outlined below. .
- After having loaded the data as described in the exercise above, pace off a 25-foot putt.
- Using the same five balls, putt to the hole as you would normally using your conscious mind to control the outcome.
- Mark the location of the five balls with a tee pushing them down until they are level with the surface of the green.
- Allow your eyes to work slowly from the ball to the hole while clearing your conscious mind of any thought.
- Using the same five balls, putt to the hole allowing your subconscious mind to control the outcome.
- Compare the proximity of the five putts that you just hit to those marked with a tee. What do you observe?
Did you have trouble clearing your mind of any conscious thought? Assuming that your conscious mind intruded at any point, the outcome would be negatively affected. You should then repeat the exercise but this time, emptying your mind of any thought. You will have mastered the technique when you are able to quiet your conscious mind and allow your subconscious to take over.
This technique will improve your proximity to the hole on longer putts. And you know what that means? Fewer three-putts!
Editor’s Note: Rod Lindenberg has authored a book entitled “The Three-Putt Solution” that is now available through Amazon.
TG2: What is this new Callaway iron? A deep investigation…
Photos of a new Callaway iron popped up in the GolfWRX Forums, and equipment expert Brian Knudson and Editor Andrew Tursky discuss what exactly the new iron could be; new Apex pros, new Legacy irons, or maybe even a new X Forged? Also, the guys discuss Phil’s U.S. Open antics and apology, DJ’s driver shaft change, new Srixon drivers and utility irons, and a new Raw iron offering from Wilson. Enjoy the golf equipment packed show!
Check out the full podcast on SoundCloud below, or click here to listen on iTunes!
Ted Bishop on the U.S. Open setup, Phil Mickelson’s antics, his infamous Tweet and more (full interview, transcribed)
Ted Bishop has seen highs and he has seen lows. As the 38th President of the PGA of America, he was the one of the leaders of the game and the industry of golf. He was at the pinnacle of the game, but one ill-advised tweet brought that crashing down. After calling Ian Poulter a “lil’ girl” on social media, Bishop was impeached from his office and stripped of all of his titles and honors. But he retained his dignity and his love for the game of golf. In this exclusive interview, Bishop opens up about his feelings on the PGA of America, the USGA, this year’s U.S. Open and the double standard that seems to exist in the upper echelons of the game
Michael Williams: So, you’re out in Indiana. What are you doing these days?
Ted Bishop: You know, I’m the General Manager of the Legends Golf Club, which is a 45-hole facility about 25 minutes out from downtown Indianapolis. And it’s a golf course that I’ve built. And that’s pretty much what I do seven days a week and loving every minute of it. It was great when the PGA thing was over with to really dive back into my operation. And the day to day aspect of public golf… I’ve never gotten tired of it in my 47 years of working on a golf course.
Michael Williams: So let’s get to it with the U.S. Open. You saw it just like I did. Great winner, Brooks Koepka. I think you had a lot of great players fighting for the championship as we came down to the wire, which is exactly what you want to see. And you have a repeat champion for the first time since Curtis Strange. Talk to me about how you felt about the players and the level of play and then we’ll switch to how you felt about the golf course and it’s set up.
Ted Bishop: Well I thought Koepka played great and he putted the ball so well on that back nine Michael. And I thought Paul Azinger had one of the classic quotes late in the round yesterday, where he said, “You can’t ride ball striking to the winner’s circle.” And that was certainly the case with Koepka. When you look at the biggest hole that he played, it was probably the bogey he had on number 11.
Michael Williams: Absolutely.
Ted Bishop: And a couple of par saves after that. So for him to have been injured and to have been out as long as he has been here in 2018, this is a great, great victory for him. We knew that DJ was going to be there. I mean, I think he’s clearly earned his right to be the number one player in the world. And he’s playing better, week in, week out than anybody else does. Obviously with the setup, there was a lot of controversy as to how good golf was and how entertaining the open was. But at least when I’m here at a public golf course, they kind of enjoy watching the greatest players in the world be challenged. And that was the case at certain times last week.
Michael Williams: They say that Shinnecock is a second shot golf course but it’s not really a second shot golf course, it’s a third shot golf course because you’re going to hit some shots that hit that green and you’re going to hit a lot that don’t. So, it’s all about your ability to persevere and be creative on the greens and around them, making sure that that three goes from four to five and not to six, seven or eight.
But the controversy really started on Saturday. In your opinion, did they lose the course?
Ted Bishop: You know Michael, I thought the most telling interview that I saw the entire weekend on the course set up was the one that FOX did yesterday with Patrick Reed when his round was finished. And they asked him about the Saturday setup and he said, “You know, I really didn’t have a problem with it.” He said, “There were two pins on 13 and 15 that were maybe two yards out of place and it made a completely different situation on the putting greens.” But he said, “Other than that, I didn’t have any issues with it.” And that’s his personality. He’s the guy that rolls with the flow and doesn’t make any excuses. Now obviously, there were a lot of players that were very critical. I was just reading an article before this phone call. Some quotes from Steve Stricker, for example. And Strick’s usually a guy that doesn’t say anything bad about anything and he was very critical of about the set up. But I think the biggest controversy would be the fact that the players in the morning on Saturday were probably a different golf course than the players in the afternoon were. And that’s just sometimes in golf, the way that it goes.
But I for one, like I said before, I like to see these guys challenged and the US Open always kind of borders somewhat on the unfair side. I remember very vividly the 1974 US Open at Winged Foot and watching Hale Irwin slugging out there. I think he was … Correct me if I’m wrong or if you know, maybe he was seven over par at Winged Foot. So it’s just … That’s just what the US Open is. And it’s different than the other majors. And I personally found it entertaining.
Michael Williams: I did too. If you had been in charge of that championship, would you have done anything different throughout the four days? In terms of course set up.
Ted Bishop: Well, you know that’s a difficult question. My youngest daughter is a PGA member and she’s at St Andrews Golf Club, which is not far from Shinnecock. It’s the oldest club in the United States. And I was talking to her Saturday night, just about the weather that they had to experience in that part of the country and she was saying to me that their greens at St Andrews were as hard and fast as she can ever remember them in the 15 years that she’s been there. So hard that you could actually … You could hear the ball land on the green from the fairway. And so obviously, Shinnecock was harder and faster than some place like that would’ve been in that area.
Michael Williams: Right.
Ted Bishop: And you know, I guess maybe you would have watered … In retrospect, you might have watered more on Friday night if you would have known that conditions were going to get that out of hand. You know, that part of this is so complicated and sophisticated. I say complicated, really in a lot of ways it’s easier Michael, because you got these moisture meters. And you can go out and you can actually test your soils at any point during the morning hours. You can anticipate what your evaporation rate’s going to be based on the wind. And you can do some things differently.
I think Mike Davis said he kind of got off guard on Saturday and I’m sure that if he had some things to do over again, he would’ve done it. But then he made the corrections, I felt like on Sunday. And pins were far more reasonable, the golf course was softer and there were no issues.
Michael Williams: Yeah and you got Tommy Fleetwood shooting a 63. Does that mean there’s an overcorrection?
Ted Bishop: Oh I don’t know about that. I just think the weather got out of hand. And that’s the one element that you can’t ever control. And I know Mike has taken a lot of criticism and he continues to take it. I did an interview with a radio station in Charlotte on Saturday, and they were asking me the difference between Kerry Haigh, who sets up the PGA Championships and Mike Davis who obviously does the USGA. And Kerry is not a risk taker; you can almost go to the bank every year no matter where the PGA’s played, that the winner score is going to be 8 to 12 under par. His philosophy is he wants to see good shots rewarded and there’s a little bit of risk and reward, but he never gets over the top. Mike on the other hand, I would call a risk taker. And that starts really with some of the sites that he selects. And you can point to Chambers Bay and Erin Hills as two that would be that case. Certainly, he made it that way with Shinnecock. But you know, they are different personalities and their philosophies are different. And I’m going to stand up for Mike Davis and I’m going to say that one’s not necessarily right and one’s not necessarily wrong.
I always felt part of golf was being able to adapt to the conditions, no matter what they are. And Tom Watson had a great quote that he said that golf was not meant to be a fair game. And that’s just kind of the way it is… I think that’s always interesting Michael, about the U.S. Open, the tour players are so conditioned to play with the same type of playing conditions week in and week out.
Michael Williams: Yep.
Ted Bishop: I mean, the PGA Championship is not much different than a tour event. Obviously, the Open Championship is going to be different. The U.S. Open is going to be different. The rest of them … Even the Masters, is a, what I would call a PGA Tour set up. So these guys are so conditioned to play the same way week in and week out, when they get a curve ball thrown their way sometimes they don’t react well.
Michael Williams: You’ve already addressed the fact that what happens at the U.S. Open never happens at the PGA Championship. Who is the constituency of Mike Davis? Who is he trying to please? If so many people are displeased, why isn’t he held accountable? Why doesn’t somebody else get a crack at doing that?
Ted Bishop: Well, I think his constituency would be the USGA Executive Committee, possibly.
Michael Williams: So as long as they’re pleased, he’s good to go?
Ted Bishop: Yeah.
Michael Williams: Okay.
Ted Bishop: Exactly. And, they own that championship. I know it’s the United States Open, but you and I don’t own it. The USGA does. So, it’s really their prerogative, and Mike’s the guy that they’ve entrusted that core setup year in and year out to, so it’s their baby to do with what they want to.
Michael Williams: Again, I’m with you. I love what Mike Davis does. I love the fact that you get one tournament a year that’s half Masters and half NASCAR. You’ve got speed and performance, and you’ve also got crashes in Turn 2.
Besides the winner and the course, the story was, Phil Mickelson. I’m going to ask you this as a three-parter. What do you think of what he did, what do you think of his explanation for why he did it, and if it was your sole decision to make, would he have been disqualified?
Ted Bishop: Well, I think that had Phil kept his mouth shut after the round and really not exposed what had happened he would have been OK. Under rule 14-5, I mean, he clearly struck a ball in motion, so that’s a two shot penalty.
Michael Williams: Right. That’s physics, so you can’t argue with physics. He hit a ball that’s moving. Done.
Ted Bishop: Yeah. Can’t argue with that. Honestly, the great thing about the rules of golf, you always have the opportunity to use the rules to your advantage. That’s not cheating. That’s just knowing the rules book and using them to your advantage.
Michael Williams: Right.
Ted Bishop: At that point, when he did that, I would say that he succeeded in using the rules to his advantage. When he went to the media scrum afterwards, and basically admitted what his intent was, now all of the sudden, that really kind of falls under a different rule, Rule 1-2, which is another situation that could have very easily have resulted in a disqualification.
Michael Williams: Now, what is it he said specifically that takes it from a 14-5 consideration to 1-2?
Ted Bishop: Well, he indicated what his intentions were, to stop the ball before it went off the putting green and rolled down into a place that he very conceivably might not have had a shot. It was his intent, if he wouldn’t have divulged what his intent was, if he would have just said, “Hey, I clearly struck a ball in motion. I did what I did, and that was it”, and not taken it any further than that, then it would have been pretty clear-cut that it was a two shot penalty. But when he expressed his intent to breach the rules, then that’s where the disqualification would have come into play.
I talked with a guy that’s on the PGA of America Rules Committee, and watched a couple of people talk about it this morning in preparation for this story, and I think that’s about as clear and concise as you can make it. The question then goes to the USGA, well, then why did you not go ahead and disqualify him because he clearly indicated what his intentions were? That stuff happens. I remember being at the Masters when Roy McIlroy took that practice swing (2009). I was on the Rules Committee in the bunker that year, and there was a lot of talk that he should be disqualified. I know Kerry Haigh privately said, hey, if this would have been the PGA Championship we would have DQ’d him, but they elected not to at Augusta, and the USGA elected not to DQ Phil. Again, that’s what the committee does. They make those types of decisions, and the rest of us debate them.
Michael Williams: Okay. A lot of this discussion going forward is going to be about one of my favorite subjects, which is hypocrisy. I think hypocrisy ruins the world, among other things. Let’s go there a little bit. So, it’s not Phil Mickelson that does this, it’s Pat Perez. Is he DQ’d?
Ted Bishop: That’s a great subjective question. I would say that he might have been DQ’d. I would also say this, I know Phil well, as well as I guess I could have in the position that I was in. I like him, but I also think that sometimes there’s nothing that he doesn’t do without an agenda. I think that clearly what he did on Saturday was basically his way of really trying to show up the USGA for what he felt like was not a good course setup.
Michael Williams: You know the other thing that he did, it hasn’t been talked about at all, but I thought really served as a frame of reference for what he did on 13, was the putt he made on 14. Because he hits the green on 14, and instead of going right at the hole, he went, what, six feet to the right of it and up the bank, and tried to bring it in from above the hole back down to it and into the backdoor. He hits that putt, and then like turns to Beef Johnson, and is sort of like laughing and giving that Phil Mickelson smirk. To me, that’s like, okay, this is how you feel. You are saying and giving a clear statement that this course is unplayable, and I’m going to show you just how unplayable it is by hitting into the windmill on number 14 and trying to get it into the hole. Did you see that too?
Ted Bishop: Yeah. I can’t argue with any of that. Then, of course, you had the Twitter tirade that my friend Ian Poulter went through on Saturday night where he said some very derogatory things about Mike Davis and the USGA. I guess the difference between those two styles is that maybe Phil’s was a little bit more discrete than what Poulter’s was. But, I think there were a lot of negative reactions by players to what went on on Saturday, and how they displayed that certainly was different.
Michael Williams: So, it’s been my contention that what Phil Mickelson did will probably not dent his reputation among his fans. But within the people who are the guardians of the game golf, those people who wear green jackets, and pins, and crests, and things like that, I think it has taken an irreversible hit. What do you think?
Ted Bishop: Well, you know Michael, here’s what I would say. Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson are, in a lot of ways, are bullet proof for any of their actions. I mean, their fan base is loyal, and supportive, and that’s really kind of the interesting thing about this sport, is the fact that people just have a tendency to turn their head or overlook some things that happen that maybe aren’t really in the best interest of the game, and really doesn’t seem to tarnish them much going forward. I mean, Phil’s had other things that have come up in his career. I mean, the insider trading situation is one. If that was Pat Perez, would that have been handled differently? So, you know, I’ve always laughed about golf; for a sport that hangs its hat on ethics, and etiquette, and ideals, I do think that there is a lot of hypocrisy from time to time in the sport.
Michael Williams: Let’s go a little deeper into your tenure as President. I think most people know the situation where there was a series of tweets between you and Ian Poulter. In one of them, you made a comment that ultimately was determined to be sexist and damaging to the reputation of the PGA, and the golf industry in general. In a very short period of time between one tweet and a consideration of this action, it led to your removal as the President of the PGA. What’s your recollection of the timeline of that event? How do you look at it now?
Ted Bishop: Well, I mean, just the factual part of it was this. It took place on October 23, 2014. It was less than a month after the Ryder Cup, and I was working the Faldo Junior Series at the Greenbrier with Nick Faldo.
Michael Williams: And we were there at the Greenbrier at the same time.
Ted Bishop: Oh, no kidding?
Michael Williams: Yeah, we were there. I was doing a fundraiser for St. Jude’s and Faldo was the guest of honor. I was there that night.
Ted Bishop: Wow. You should have saved me. But at any rate, it was the last night that I was there. We were going to go out to Nick’s for a quick reception. He has a house there at the Greenbrier, and then we were going to go back and have dinner with the kids that night. I was looking at Geoff Shackelford’s blog, actually, and I had seen where Ian Poulter had released his new book called No Limits, and he had been very critical of Nick Faldo and Tom Watson both, actually. Watson is a Ryder Cup Captain, and it struck a nerve. It’s no excuse on my part, but it was really kind of the last straw in the aftermath of that 2014 Ryder Cup, so as you said, I called Poulter out on Twitter and Facebook, and referred to him as a little girl. The PGA and other people took offense to that remark. And actually, within 18 hours after my stupid remarks on social media, I was removed from office with 29 days left to go in my tenure.
Michael Williams: Stunning. With 29 days left to go, amazing. Amazing.
Ted Bishop: Yeah. I mean, I will say this, and I’ve said this 100 times, it was a very poor choice of words on my part, very stupid for the media training that I had had. I’m not going to apologize for standing up for two guys that I felt like were being unduly criticized, particularly in Tom’s case, as a Ryder Cup Captain being criticized by an opposing player. I really, I don’t make apologies for that, I just wish I would have chosen my words better. What I did was, it was stupid. I mean, I make no excuses. There’s a lot of ways I could have said it, but to use the term little girl, I just never even began to think of it from a sexist viewpoint, but it is what it is, and I was done.
Michael Williams: It was funny because you had been on my show not long before and we talked about the fact that your tenure was almost over, and I asked you about the practice of the U.S. presidents leaving a note in the office of the incoming President, for their eyes only.
Ted Bishop: I remember that. That was a great question.
Michael Williams: As you look back on it now, although it wasn’t a timely exit, what would you have put on your note in your desk for the incoming president?
Ted Bishop: I mean well, my mindset has totally changed since then. Another thing that was kind of interesting, obviously, in preparation for my outgoing speech at the annual meeting in Indianapolis, we were at the Grand … I’ll back up. A week before this all happened I was at the Grand Slam in Bermuda and we were having what really would be our final executive committee meeting with Kerry Haigh, Darrell Crall, Pete Bevacqua, Derek Sprague and Paul Levy and myself. I asked the PGA to kind of summarize my two years; I said, “Could you give me a timeline of just the things that happened in my two years which what kind of really put into play my remarks at the annual meeting?”
And, they came back about a week later and they gave me a five-page, single spaced document of all the things that happened in ’13 and ’14. And, there were a lot of really positive things that we did as an association, that we did for the game. I think we elevated the stature of the PGA of America and the golf community. And unfortunately, even to this day I feel like my stupidity on social media wiped out a lot of that work. They always say to any kind of a leader, “How will your legacy be defined?” And, I think had it not been for that minute and a half of really dumb, irresponsible action on social media, my legacy in golf probably would be a hell of a lot different than what it is today.
Michael Williams: I applaud you for being a man and stand up and taking responsibility for your actions. But again, the rails that we’re riding this train on for this part of the conversation is hypocrisy. You didn’t use any of The Forbidden Seven. You didn’t say anything that you could have been fined for by the FCC. You called the guy a little girl. But, when you looked around the room at the people who were judging you, do you think that there was any one person around there who hadn’t at some time said to a playing partner when they hit a putt short, “You gotta hit it Nancy.” Or, “Hit it again, Shirley.”
Ted Bishop: No, there’s no question about it, and we had situations in my two years as the president where we actually had past presidents and we had board members that we kind of had to sanction. And when I say sanction, I mean, I felt like we did it in a very responsible and gentle way. We brought the people in, we said, “Look, you can’t be saying this. You can’t be doing this. You represent the largest working sports organization in the world.” And, I think that was a bitter pill for me, the way that my whole thing went down. Some of that didn’t happen. That being said, again, I’ll make no excuses. I’m the guy at the top of the ladder and I’ve got to set an example for everyone within the association. And, I should have done that, but I would say that certainly there were other disciplinary cases and there have been since that weren’t quite handled the same as mine.
Michael Williams: When you look now and you see the things that are said by athletes, by entertainers, and I’m going to go there, even by the President of the United States about women, seemingly without consequence, it’s hard not to be bitter, Isn’t it?
Ted Bishop: Yeah, but I just never wanted to be that guy. That’s why I just try to come back and really throw myself into my family and my business and just try to move on and not get caught up with that. That was one of the reasons that I wrote the book. I wanted to try to educate people on your responsibilities with social media and I’ve spoken on this topic. And, I guess that was really to this day, that’s my biggest disappointment, Michael, with the PGA of America.
I could have been a poster child for all those things. I think I could have helped with a golf professionals, but I could have helped people in general doing a lot of the things that I’m doing now. So, when it was all said and done I thought, “You know what? That is what I’m going to do. I’ll just take matters into my own hands and try to do that.” And, that’s kind of been my message and what I kind of stand for now. “Hey! Learn from my mistakes.”
Michael Williams: There’s a recent incident, again, most of our readers and listeners know about it and I know you know about it too, where Paul Levy, the current president of the PGA, was arrested last week on a DUI, driving under the influence. A statement of apology and contrition was made, but I have heard no word on any disciplinary action. And I say this noting that Paul Levy is a friend of mine. I really, really like that guy. But, isn’t it a double standard?
Ted Bishop: I think that’s for other people to judge and I’m not going to comment on Levy’s arrest. I think the PGA of America’s been pretty clear at this point that they stand behind him and they’re going to continue to do that. The way they’ve not messaged Paul’s situation to the membership compared again to the way my whole thing was handled, is kind of curious. But, I don’t know. Maybe they feel that my remarks were so insensitive and so violating to the diversity and inclusion principles that they have really made their platform over since 2014. Maybe that’s a bigger issue to them than the DUI. I don’t know, you’d have to ask somebody from the PGA of America.
Michael Williams: Yeah, I fully intend to. Thanks, and I’ll keep you posted on that. What’s your relationship with the PGA, professionally and personally right now?
Ted Bishop: I’ve tried to get as involved as I possibly can in my own section, the Indiana PGA. I’ve actually hosted and MC’ed our last few section awards ceremonies in the Spring, which I’ve enjoyed. I’ve had the opportunity to speak at some section meetings. I’ve led something that I think is critical to the future of the game right now and that was a junior pace of play pilot program that we had called Project 215 where we’re trying to get juniors to play nine holes in two hours and 15 minutes because I think the slow pace of play at the junior golf level is one of the things that’s killing the sport right now. That’s where I’ve really chosen to get involved with. One of the things that happened to me when I was impeached was that they took away my right to vote, they took away basically my right to be involved in any governance at the PGA of America level. So, I’m a guy that kind of has to rely on the local aspect of the PGA in my life right now. And again, that’s okay because selfishly, Michael, that’s kind of what influences my own little world each and every day and I’m done with the rest of it. However, I’ve really enjoyed the opportunity to work for MorningRead.com, which is a daily digital golf newsletter that Alex Miceli started and that’s kept me in touch with the game and I love to write and I felt that it kind of kept me relevant to a degree.
Michael Williams: As always Ted, thanks so much for your time and most of all for your honesty. In today’s world that’s pretty tough to come by.
Ted Bishop: I always love talking to you and I remember very well that first meeting we had down at the PGA show and I’m glad to call you a friend.
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