PGA president critical of R&A
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The biggest rivalry in golf at the moment could be the heads of two organizations on opposite sides of the Atlantic Ocean.
PGA of America president Ted Bishop has been vocal about his opposition to the proposed rule that would ban the anchored stroke used for long putters. Royal & Ancient chief executive Peter Dawson last week referred to Bishop's public comments as a "campaign."
"The PGA of America knows my views about this, and I'm disappointed at the way that campaign was conducted," Dawson said. "It put rule-making onto the negotiating table. The negotiating table is no place for rule-making to take place. Obviously, the feelings are strong. We shall have to see where it goes."
Bishop took it one step further in an interview and exchange of emails with Golf World magazine, in which he revealed details of his encounter with Dawson during the Masters and questioned 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 told the magazine. "This is a much different approach than we have taken in America."
Bishop said that when he told Dawson the PGA of America was looking after the best interests of the amateur golfer, Dawson pointed a finger at him and said, "That's not your role." He said they met again at a reception that night that was more civil.
But he continues to challenge Dawson, particularly the 90-day comment period that ended two months ago.
"The PGA of America has gotten the impression from the R&A that we should have just accepted the proposed rule change and not issued any comments," Bishop said in an email to Golf World. "Then why have a comment period at all? If you remember, Dawson stated on Nov. 28 that he doubted if any new evidence would surface during the comment period that would result in the ban on anchoring being dropped. That hardly set the stage for an 'open' comment period."
Bishop also made a comment that won't make this issue any less divisive, saying the differences between the PGA of America and the R&A come down to cultures.
"Europeans have a tendency to accept the things that are imposed by their respective governments, while Americans will debate, argue and vote on issues," Bishop said in the email. "I think that is the fundamental premise that America was founded on."
The PGA Tour and PGA of America are opposed to the new rule. The European Tour is in favor of it. A decision on whether to adopt the rule is expected by the end of May. If it's approved, it will not go into effect until 2016.
Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press
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