For the full report on the continuing spat between PGA of America President Ted Bishop and R&A Chief Peter Dawson check out Tim Rosaforte’s story in Golf World. But here’s the cliff’s notes. The R&A and USGA have proposed the ban on anchored putting strokes to take effect in 2016. The PGA of America (representing the teaching professionals in the US) has stated its opposition to the proposal. From the Golf World story:
After being told by R&A chief executive Peter Dawson that it was not the PGA of America’s responsibility to grow the game in America, Bishop, in both an interview and email exchange with Golf World, responded by questioning the R&A’s male-only membership.
“I find that to be very curious and perplexing given the fact that the R&A has not been inclusive as evidenced by their unwillingness to accept women as members to the R&A,” Bishop said. “This is a much different approach than we have taken in America.”
Bishop is certainly not taking this lying down. Another wrinkle into the male-only R&A membership policies is that the Open Championship, the R&A’s flagship event will be contested at Muirfield, where there are no female members.
The PGA of America dealt with the backlash of Shoal Creek hosting the 1990 PGA Championship while having an all-white membership policy. Since then, the PGA and PGA Tour (related in name only) have made it a policy to only use venues with inclusive membership policies.
Hell, even Augusta National finally came around last year with the additions of Condoleeza Rice and Darla Moore.
While Bishop might very well be “grandstanding” as Dawson claims, he is merely speaking on behalf of his constituents. The greater point made by Bishop is a good question to ask: How can the R&A claim to represent all of golf when they do not allow women into their membership?