Pharos-Tribune

Local Sports

November 14, 2012

Bishop recalls route to PGA of America presidency

The only way that I can describe the past few days is WOW.

Sometime around 4:45 p.m. on Saturday I became the 38th President of the PGA of America. This was a very unlikely set of circumstances for someone who grew up as a kid throwing baseballs and bouncing basketballs in my hometown of Logansport.

My first experience with golf was watching the CBS Golf Classic on Saturdays during the winters back in the late 1960s. The show was a taped re-broadcast of two man best ball matches staged at the Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio. Even though my father did not play golf, I was intrigued with the sport and certainly by what the players were wearing. It was a cool game played by a bunch of flashy guys wearing plaid slacks and bright colored shirts.

My dad was a barber and my mom a school teacher. My family had modest means, but I never went without anything I needed as a kid. Still, it was inconceivable that I would own a set of golf clubs at an early age because I had a father who was not a golfer and there wasn’t a bunch of extra money floating around to afford me access even at the local public course.

I mowed yards in my neighborhood and saved up enough money to go to a local hardware store and buy a single golf club — it was a George Fazio model 7-iron. As I recall, this was when I was 13 years old and I even had enough money left over to buy a cheap sleeve of golf balls.

The next thing I had to do was find a golf course. I lived three blocks from Tower Park and a couple of buddies of mine, whose fathers played golf, would meet at the park with our 7-irons and a some golf balls in our pockets. We created a course which was comprised of lamp posts. We would play from lamp post to lamp post, sometimes putting dings on them upon finishing the hole. We never deemed par on the hole, it was all based around how many shots it took to hit the lamp post.

I am the same kid who created a game of baseball with two dice and who would go through an entire 162-game season laying on the floor of my living room. I would do the play-by-play. I would score the games and keep the stats for the entire season. Even though I was a die-hard Yankees fan, I would pick a team like the Washington Senators to play the season out. This way I could overachieve results with a crappy team. I have always been the classic overachiever.

When I was 17 years old I got a summer job working at the Rolling Hills Par 3 Golf Course. We had 18 holes, a lighted driving range and a miniature golf course. It was Caddy Shack before the world was introduced to the famous movie. I worked the entire summer of 1970 and never hit a golf ball. My time off was consumed playing basketball and American Legion baseball.

I started playing golf during the summer of 1971. I would take a handful of clubs with a putter and play the par 3 course. At Rolling Hills you needed nothing more than a 6-iron through the wedge. Lots of guys didn’t even carry a bag. We just kept the balls and tees in our pockets. No dress code was in effect, so I played shirtless on many occasions. My dad soon started playing and golf became an activity that we enjoyed together every Sunday afternoon while I was home from college.

Upon graduation from Purdue in 1976 to be a golf course superintendent, I took a job in Linton as the pro/superintendent. In my infinite wisdom, I was offered the job and initially turned it down because I had to make my money doing the things a golf pro does. I reconsidered and wound up working there for 17 years before coming to Franklin.

While In Linton I met Phil Harris, the great entertainer who was born in that coal mining town in southwestern Indiana. Phil and I worked together to create the largest celebrity golf tournament in the United States. We played 600 players over two days. There were four 150 player shotgun starts (25 teams with six players) during the weekend. Thanks to Phil we had some of the biggest names in entertainment, golf and the sporting world. It was pretty amazing when you consider the town had one motel and was over two hours from the nearest major airport.

I got my PGA membership in August 1985. It took me five attempts to pass my Playing Ability Test (PAT). I missed it by five shots; two shots; one shot twice and eventually hit the target score of 157 right on the number. I was the proverbial “choking freakin’ dog” as I needed to pass the PAT before I could start the path to PGA membership.

My entire career has been spent in the Indiana PGA. I was elected to the Indiana PGA Board of Directors in 1988. From there I guess you could say the rest is history some 24 years later. Never in my wildest dreams would I have ever envisioned myself as the 38th President of the PGA of America.

Last Saturday night my good friend Cam Cameron, offensive coordinator for the Baltimore Ravens, pulled off a big surprise. He showed up at the PGA’s Farewell Reception in Baltimore with John Harbaugh, head coach, and Jim Caldwell, former Colts coach and now Ravens’ quarterback coach.

Harbaugh presented me with a game used No. 12 Ravens jersey with Bishop sewn on the back. It was symbolic of my election as President in 2012 in the City of Baltimore. For those that don’t know, the No. 12 is worn by Jacoby Jones, a wide receiver and kick returner for the Ravens. On Sunday, Jones returned a kickoff 106 yards for a touchdown in Baltimore’s 55-20 victory over Oakland. That has to be a good omen for the next two years of this Presidency!

This ascension with the PGA might be one of the most unlikely stories in the history of golf. Here’s a kid who didn’t grow up playing golf; who was destined to be a golf course superintendent and not a golf pro; who somehow made it to the top of his profession. There have been plenty of pot holes along the road. Many days have been filled with more challenges and heartbreak than joy.

I guess it just goes to show that anything really is possible. Here’s a big thanks to all who made it possible and that list is far too long to mention. Today, I truly am the luckiest man on the face of the earth.

Ted Bishop is a golf columnist for the Pharos-Tribune. He may be reached at tedbishop38pga@aol.com.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local Sports
  • SPT-PT082214 LC VB.jpg Prep roundup: Indians sweep past Kings Twin Lakes spoiled Lewis Cass’ season opener in volleyball with a three-set win Thursday in Walton. The Indians came away with a 25-14, 25-16, 25-18 victory on the road in their second match of the season. They had a four-set loss against Winamac to

    August 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Berries put together memorable season in '68 When it comes to toughness in the history of Logansport football, the 1968 Berries might just be the benchmark.The Berries didn’t have a starter who weighed more than 190 pounds, but it was a veteran hard-nosed squad that put it all together for inte

    August 22, 2014

  • Peru set for new campaign The Peru football team posted a 4-6 record last year, which marked the Bengal Tigers’ best showing since the 2000 team went 7-5. Peru coach Bob Prescott would like to build on its 2013 success.

    August 22, 2014

  • SPL - PT082114 - Logan football Berries hope improved depth leads to more wins Logansport’s football team showed improvement in Year 2 under coach Brad Urban last season.The Berries are hoping to take another step forward this year.What might help more than anything is a better start. Urban pointed out last year’s 0-3 start as

    August 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jitters cost No. 5 Pioneer in opener ROCHESTER — Pioneer’s volleyball team enters the season with a No. 5 ranking in Class A.The Panthers opened against a Rochester squad Wednesday that features Hannah Towne, a MaxPreps.com All-American a year ago.Towne and the Zebras came out on top in

    August 21, 2014

  • SPT-PT082114 LHS BTennis1.jpg Logansport tennis tops Cass in season opener Logansport defeated Lewis Cass 4-1 Wednesday in a season-opening boys tennis match.Logan’s Matt Jennings defeated Brady Truman 6-2, 6-3 at No. 1 singles, and Angelo Scagnoli defeated Jared Ehase 6-4, 6-3 at No. 3 singles.The Berries swept the doubles

    August 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPL - PT082014 - Cass football Lewis Cass football looks to field another strong team Lewis Cass may lack experience entering this season, but not moxie. The Kings return just a handful of starters from last year’s team that finished 5-5, one of the few teams in recent program history that did not win more games than it lost.There wil

    August 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPL - PT081914 - Pioneer football Pioneer football looks to build off last season's success Pioneer’s football team enjoyed yet another double-digit win season and won its first sectional title in five years last season.But it was also a year a youthful Panthers squad saw its 47-game Midwest Conference winning streak end. The Panthers also

    August 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Sports briefs for Tuesday, Aug. 19 North Miami beat Lewis Cass by a score of 219-226 in a girls golf match Monday at Logan Golf Club.

    August 19, 2014

  • SPL - PT081814 - Caston football Caston football looking to get back to winning ways After a run of eight-win seasons in three of the previous four years, Caston’s football team took a step back a year ago when Comets posted an up and down campaign and a 3-8 record.Veteran Caston coach Chris Ulerick was more succinct when talking abo

    August 18, 2014 1 Photo

Featured Ads
More pharostribune.com
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
AP Video
Japan Landslide Rescuers Struggle in Heavy Rain Raw: Severe Floods, Fire Wrecks Indiana Homes Endangered Red Wolves Face Uncertain Future Raw: Russian Aid Convoy Arrives in Ukraine Hamm Talks Emmy Chances Okla. Policeman Accused of Sex Assaults on Duty Raw: Egypt Bus Crash Kills at Least 33 Two Bodies Found in Adjacent Yards Dominican Republic Bans Miley Cyrus Concert Raw: Israeli Air Strike in Gaza Raw: Rescue Efforts Suspended at Japan Landslide Raw: Bodies of MH17 Victims Arrive in Malaysia Raw: Smaller Marches in Ferguson Attorney: Utah Eatery Had Other Chemical Burn Farm Resurgence Grows With Younger Crowd Microbrewery Chooses Special Can for Its Beer Ky. Firefighters Hurt in Ice Bucket Challenge Federal Investigation Will Look at Use of Force Community Deals With Michael Brown Aftermath US: We Do Not Pay Ransom to Terrorists
Poll

Does Indiana need a statewide water management plan and an administrator to implement it?

Yes
No
Unsure
     View Results
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.