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Ted Bishop’s Five Leadership Lessons: What I Learned Serving President of the PGA
By Ted Bishop, 38th President of the PGA of America and Author of the Book – Unfriended
These are the five most important lessons I learned from my tenure as the 38th PGA President.
Leaders have tremendous responsibilities to their constituents and the entities they represent. My fall with the PGA of America was all about one single incident. I referred to Ian Poulter as “a lil’ girl” on social media and it cost me my job with the PGA of America and all of the benefits that go with being the President of the largest working sports organization in the world.People at the PGA felt those remarks were so insensitive to women, and sexist in nature, that it was decided I should receive severe punishment. Did the punishment of impeachment as President of the PGA fit the crime? That question has been debated since October 24, 2014.
Leaders have tremendous responsibilities to represent themselves and those they serve in the most responsible manner. If you don’t, be prepared to accept whatever the punishment is that you receive. I put the PGA in a bad position and they did what they thought should be done at the time. I created my own path of destiny and after several years I finally figured that out.
No matter what you have done or accomplished in a leadership position, if you compromise that standing in anyway, do not expect those around you to bail you out or come to your rescue. It becomes every person for themselves. That mentality is driven by the stringent environment of political correctness that exists in America today.
Forgiveness cleanses the soul. Right or wrong, I harbored bitter feelings towards the PGA for several years until a good friend and PGA member sent me the following:“For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you. But, if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”This was a very impactful message for me and it helped get my mind in a good place. I had spent too much time on a daily basis thinking about the PGA. Certain weeks of the year- like the Ryder Cup and PGA Championship- were just brutal because of the memories they brought back and the feelings of deprivation that existed.I am now over that. Most notably, my relationship with Pete Bevacqua who was the PGA CEO at the time of my termination has been resurrected. Pete is now the President of NBC Sports. We had a phenomenal partnership is 2013-14. The things that we accomplished working together to improve golf and the lives of our PGA members will last for a long time. I can honestly say the Pete and I both would have done some things differently back on that fateful day in October 2014. We have shared these thoughts and our friendship is rekindled.
The PGA of America on the other hand has not been so fast to come around. I am still in exile. I can only vote on local matters and cannot serve the Indiana Section in an elected position. All of this despite personally appearing and offering another heartfelt apology to the 2019 PGA Board of Directors.
I guess the final lesson I have learned is this. You do what you can and don’t worry about what you can’t control.My time as PGA President had its highs and its lows. I appreciate the opportunity to contribute to the game of golf as I have my entire career and still do to this day.