The inherent dangers of Tweeting (a practice with which I remain totally ignorant) became all too obvious recently to none other than Ted Bishop, the President of the PGA of America. Strange as it may seem the hiatus started following publication of Ian Poulter’s recent autobiography in which he took exception to Nick Faldo’s comment on television that, during the 2008 Ryder Cup match, Sergio Garcia was “useless”. Uninhibited by the fact that Faldo is a friend of long standing Poults lit the fuse when we wrote, “It makes me laugh, that’s the Ryder Cup where he was Captain, that’s the Ryder Cup where Europe suffered a heavy defeat. So who’s useless? Faldo might need to have a little look in the mirror.”
There it may well have ended except Ted Bishop, for reasons best known to himself, took the ultimately suicidal decision to enter the fray on Twitter by referring to Ian as, “Lil girl.” He then waded in with “Used to be athletes who had lesser records or accomplishments in a sport never criticized the icons.” With the wind now obviously in his hair he kept going, “Tom Watson (eight Majors and a 10-3-1 Ryder Cup record) and Nick Faldo (six Majors and all-time Ryder Cup points leader) gets bashed by Ian James Poulter. Really? Sounds like a little school girl squealing during recess.”
Countless mice were clicked as people in the twittersphere (no, me neither) rose up in arms at Bishop’s tweet and suddenly his post disappeared followed by a statement from the PR department of the PGA of America saying, “Ted realized that his post was totally inappropriate and promptly removed it.” Poulter countered by issuing a statement to the Golf Channel asking, “Is being called a lil girl meant to be derogatory or a put down? That’s pretty shocking and disappointing, especially coming from the leader of the PGA of America.”
Despite trying to end the war by writing, “Obviously I could have selected different ways to express my thoughts on Poulter’s remarks. Golf has always been a sport where respect was shown to its icons but that seems to have gone by the wayside,” Bishop became a casualty and the upshot of the whole sorry saga was his dismissal from his post by the PGA of America board of directors. In their statement the chief executive Pete Bevacqua said, “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.”
Before resorting to the new fangled fad of tweeting Bishop would have been well advised to note that Poulter has almost two million followers on the site against his measly 4,000 and a bit. In those circumstances it seems to me it was a battle he would have been better off steering well clear of.