Celebrity Golfer: Ted Bishop

Posted in Celebrity Golfer, Golf Writers Column by on February 12th, 2013

As the 38th President of The PGA of America, Ted Bishop, 58, has had a whirlwind first few months since his November induction. One of his first official acts was to name Tom Watson as the captain of the Ryder Cup team, a very popular move.

Bishop next entered the maelstrom created by the USGA’s proposed “anchoring” ban and emphatically said the PGA is opposed to it, again a very popular move, especially among recreational golfers nationwide.

Third, he presided over the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando in January and told his membership that he was in office both to perform their will and to improve their job security and working conditions. His popularity continued unabated.

The GM and Director of Golf at The Legends GC in Franklin, Indiana, since 1991, Bishop has previously been the PGA’s national spokesman for the Get Golf Ready new player development program and is devoting his presidency to growing the game.

Bishop is a graduate of Purdue with a degree in agronomy, a four-time qualifier for the Indiana Open, and the 1998 Indiana PGA Golf Professional of the Year. He lives with his wife Cindy in Franklin and has two married daughters, Ashely and Ambry, both working in the game, just like Dad.

NEGM: May I put in print that Tom Watson and Ted Bishop will return the Ryder Cup to this side of the pond?
TB: No! But you can put in print that Tom will put the U.S. team in a position to win it back. He brings a successful Ryder Cup perspective to the matches at Gleneagles in 2014. As a player, his record was 10-4-1. As a captain, Tom won in 1993 at The Belfry, our last victory on foreign soil. With four [of five] Open and three Senior Open championships in Scotland, Tom is revered there, and he’s got a tremendous understanding of the culture, the country, and its people.

NEGM: How much credence do you give to the saying, “Golf is too difficult, too time consuming, and too expensive”?
TB: I agree with it, and The PGA of America is trying to remove barriers from the game to make it more fun all the way around. With the Get Golf Ready initiative, our teaching professionals introduce newcomers to the game with five 90-minute lessons for only $99, and we provide the equipment, too. We are also promoting both nine-hole rounds to shorten the day and the Tee It Forward concept to lower scores, heighten the pleasure, and keep pace of play moving.

NEGM: Will golf in the 2016 Olympics have a major effect on the game?
TB: I think it’s going to have a greater impact worldwide than in the States, with many more countries getting exposure to the game. But just this exposure, of course, will have a positive effect on the game everywhere.

NEGM: What is most important about the PGA Merchandise Show?
TB: No question, the week is the gateway for the upcoming season. Year in and year out, this is where new technology is introduced and where people will come for the latest and greatest in golf equipment.
For the PGA professional, the educational programs we offer are extremely worthwhile, as is the exchange of ideas among the membership. The Show offers a full menu of activities and options that should interest everybody who’s in golf. The PGA of America also recognizes our 2012 national award winners for their contributions to the Association and to the game of golf.

NEGM: How can you insure that your 27,000 pros stay current with the changes in the game?
TB: Again, we offer several outstanding educational programs. For example, our innovative Golf 2.0 is a long-range strategic plan that addresses various ways to grow the game and generate revenue. Also, each PGA professional has access to up-to-date information on topics like equipment/technology, teaching techniques, marketing, and agronomy, to name a few.

NEGM: Why is the PGA of America opposing the USGA’s proposed “anchoring” ban?
TB: We polled our membership before Thanksgiving, 4,228 responded, and 63% did not support the ban. Our mission is to grow the game. Therefore, we are concerned with any legislation that would have a negative impact upon people’s enjoyment of golf and the overall growth of the game. If I lose just one member from my club as a result of this action, then I lose, too. We are asking the USGA and the R&A to seriously consider the negative impact that this ban will have on recreational golfers.

NEGM: Who are your two favorite touring professionals?
TB: Steve Stricker, a first-class guy who hit rock bottom, worked hard on his return, and restored himself among the game’s elite. Tom Watson, a great role model, always with a positive demeanor. I was so depressed when he lost the Open in 2009.

NEGM: What are your two favorite courses? And one favorite in New England?
TB: Augusta National and The Old Course. Okemo Valley in Ludlow, VT, the beautiful home course of my good friend Jim Remy [36th President of the PGA].

NEGM: Who would be in your Dream Foursome of today? Of any time period?
TB: Barack Obama, Tiger Woods, Tom Watson, and Davis Love III. JFK, Ike, and Bill Clinton.

NEGM: What do you hope your legacy will be?
TB: History will have to judge my two years, but I’m off to a good start, I think. I hope we’ll be successful in the Ryder Cup, and I’m very proud of choosing Tom Watson as our captain. I would like to be viewed as someone not afraid to stand up to the tough issues, such as the anchoring ban, and not afraid to take a stance in line with how the The PGA of America membership felt. I would like these professionals to say, “You know what! There’s a guy who really cared about what my opinion was.” I’d feel good about that.

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