In a stunning rejection, legendary golfer Tom Watson announced that he would not accept an invitation to the PGA of America’s Hall of Fame.
Considered one of the greatest who ever played the game, Watson, the winner of 39 PGA tournaments and eight major championships, based his decision on the way the PGA of America fired President Ted Bishop after the 2014 Ryder Cup.
“While I was very flattered by PGA President (Derek) Sprague’s honoring me to be inducted into PGA Hall of Fame, I couldn’t accept in good conscience because of how the PGA mishandled the firing of my friend and immediate past president of the PGA, Ted Bishop,” Golf World reported Watson saying.
Watson was Bishop’s first choice to captain the American 2104 Ryder Cup team.
The PGA dismissed Bishop after he made unflattering remarks about European golfer Ian Poulter after the Ryder Cup competition at Gleneagles in Scotland. Bishop referred to Poulter as a “lil girl” for whining about comments made by Nick Faldo toward Sergio Garcia and about Watson’s controversial Ryder Cup strategy of benching Phil Mickelson during the international match.
Last fall, Fox reported that Bishop defended Faldo and Watson using social media. He tweeted to Poulter, “Faldo’s record stands by itself. Six majors and all-time RC points. Yours vs. His? Lil Girl.” Additionally, on Facebook, the PGA President posted, “Really? Sounds like a little school girl squealing during recess. C’MON MAN!”
Poulter responded, “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. No further comment.”
In the wake of criticism, the PGA of America impeached Bishop despite just a few weeks remaining on his term. The group called for a more “welcoming and inclusive” sport in excluding the unwelcome Bishop.
The PGA of America told Golf World that they greatly respect Watson and that the Hall of Fame door “will always be open to him.”