Former PGA of America President Ted Bishop has written a fascinating book about the seemingly innocuous comments that chased him from office and ruined his legacy. “Unfriended: Power Brokers, Political Correctness and Hypocrisy in Golf” goes into detail about how the PC police used a Tweet and Facebook post from Bishop to impeach him and purge his record from the books.
Bishop fastidiously details how the incident took place and gives a timeline on the 48 hours that led to his demise as the organization’s 38th president. He names names and isn’t afraid to point fingers at those the said backstabbed him or otherwise stood by and led it happen. It is obvious that the wounds are still fresh.
Bishop also writes glowingly about the support he had from people like Tom Watson, who he championed to be Ryder Cup captain in 2014. Watson was so disgusted by the way the PGA of America treated Bishop that he refused their invitation to be inducted into the PGA of America’s Hall of Fame.
Bishop also details how Larry Nelson was considered to be Ryder Cup captain, an act that would have rectified a long injustice. No other American player with three major championships to their credit — along with Nelson’s Ryder Cup record — had ever been overlooked for the job. And Nelson has never shied away from letting anyone know that he’s wanted the position.
Corey Pavin, the 2010 captain, told Bishop, “The PGA needs to make things right with Larry Nelson. In my opinion, he needs to be the next captain you name.”
Bishop writes: “There is no question Larry should have been a Ryder Cup captain, but in the mid-1990s. The PGA could have waited in 1993 to choose Watson, who was only 44 years old at the time, but didn’t. Nelson was passed over for other players in that era including Lanny Wadkins (1995) and Tom Kite (1997). Larry’s omission as a Ryder Cup captain is still a great mystery.”
Others who made a case for Nelson included NBC’s Jimmy Roberts, as well as former Ryder Cup captain Curtis Strange.
Strange said, “The PGA needs to correct the mistake it make years ago and name Larry Nelson as the next Ryder Cup captain. We need a guy who can command respect from the players. A guy like a Nicklaus or a Palmer or a Watson. Larry is that kind of guy.”
Bishop does a little political sidestep when he said Nelson never officially notified the PGA that he wanted to be considered and he was obviously ticked off that Nelson took his case to the media.
Tom Watson, who was Bishop’s choice, became the captain. The U.S. team faced long odds to begin with and it got worse when Phil Mickelson got his feelings hurt and lashed out at Watson’s captaincy in a very public and unseemly manner. Watson’s failure likely means the PGA will never give Nelson a chance. That’s why they went with a retread this year by selecting Davis Love III, who was the losing captain in 2014.