The use of social media in sports is a breeding ground for controversy. Once you hit “send” in social media, someone will screenshot it and record it, for there is no telling how big of an issue it may become. Social media is also dangerous because there are different ways in which potentially controversial statements are worded. In the last two days, Ted Bishop, former President of the Professional Golfers Association (PGA) of America has been ousted because of social media. His comments were both controversial, and were taken in a negative light though he may have not meant it that way.
The issue at hand with Ted Bishop was a tweet that he sent out regarding Ian Poulter, an eccentric golfer from England. The tweet was in response to Poulter’s criticism of Ryder Cup Captains Tom Watson and Nick Faldo. The context of Poulter’s comments were that his Ryder Cup and major performances were superior of Faldo’s. Bishop responded through Twitter with “Yours v. His? Lil girl.” Basically, Bishop was belittling his comments and saying that his accusations were completely wrong. BBC Sport also pointed out there was a Facebook post written by Bishop saying: “Really? Sounds like a little school girl squealing during recess. C’MON MAN!” Bishop is American, and Poulter has been known to show his emotions, especially in Ryder and Presidents Cups. This may have been a result of mounting tensions after the American Ryder Cup loss just a month ago. Ultimately, tensions spilled over for Bishop, and is something that cost him his job.
The Golf Channel had a similar take on the situation as BBC Sport, however they emphasized that Twitter was a large factor in the situation escalating. Bishop was not the first prominent golf executive to misuse social media and cause significant damage to their career. A prominent Australian golfer, Steve Elkington, also had issues with social media. Regarding a helicopter crash in Australia, he joked that “there was no beer spilled on board.” His comments were extremely insensitive. He is now synonymous with this tweet, and there will always be a black eye on his reputation. Finally, they also emphasized the views of Poulter and other prominent golfers. 2010 Cup Captain Corey Pavin told his players to be careful with twitter, as he did not want any additional distractions for the team. There are so many forces that may be tempting to tweet or post something on Facebook, but these instances have made it a nightmare for both the PGA and Ted Bishop.