The PGA Year in Review

Matt Lauer, Ted Bishop and Tom Watson
Photo: Courtesy The PGA of America
NBC's Matt Lauer joins PGA President Ted Bishop and U.S. Ryder Cup Captain Tom Watson outside the Today Show.
By John Kim

Series: PGA

Published: Monday, December 23, 2013 | 11:51 a.m.

Few people can give a perspective on golf like PGA of America President Ted Bishop. In a year of great challenges, dramatic changes and stunning successes, the ever-candid and enthusiastic Indiana native took a lead role in some of golf's biggest and most influential stories.

Bishop sat down with to reflect on the highlights of his year.

"It was a year that started with a lot of questions about the future of the PGA of America. Along the way, we became a greater voice in golf and built credibility with our members. The PGA proved that it was tuned into the sport and we evolved as a very relevant voice. People gained respect for the PGA."

Bishop recounted the many highlights of the year, but declined to rank them in any particular order (Hole 4 counts the same as Hole 16) and somehow, no kidding, he off-the-cuff ended up with 18 stories for his scorecard (of course).

So for the record, here's PGA of America President Ted Bishop's "Best Moments of the Year" Scorecard:

No. 1: Pete Bevacqua named CEO of the PGA of America
"I'm using my definition of the the year which is my first year as President, not necessarily calendar year. Last November, we named Pete Bevacqua the new CEO of the PGA of America. The results simply speak for themselves. He has proven himself to be smart, passionate, savvy, and a great advocate for golf in general. We could not be more pleased with his appointment and his leadership."

No. 2: Naming Tom Watson as Captain of Team USA for the 2014 Ryder Cup
"Everything you've ever read or heard about Tom Watson - and if you're like me, that's a lot - doesn't do justice to what a great man and ambassador he is for golf. Spending time with him, from our Ryder Cup announcement in New York to touring Scotland together for the Year To Go celebration, he's been one of the most incredible gentlemen I've been around in golf. He is also one of the greatest competitors of all time, which is why we wanted Tom as our Captain."

No. 3: PGA of America stand on Anchoring
"Our position on Anchoring is well-known, I'm always proud to be an advocate for growing the game. I'm also particularly pleased at the process of how we, as an organization, reflected the sentiment and input from our members on the issue. We want golf to be inclusive, enjoyable and we want to grow the game. I was proud to reflect their thoughts on the rule. Hopefully, the PGA has a greater voice in the rules of golf going forward."

No. 4: Dufnering
"On Friday of the PGA Championship, I walked the round following my friend Steve Stricker. He happened to be paired with Jason Dufner, who went out and shot a major championship record-tying 63. The next morning, the other PGA Officers and I (Vice President Derek Sprague and Secretary Paul Levy) had some fun by "Dufnering" in front of the Oak Hill clubhouse. That photo went a little viral. On Sunday, I stood on the 18th green and presented the Wanamaker Trophy to Jason Dufner as he won his first major championship. It was one of those weeks where everything just seemed to line up for Jason. He will be a great PGA Champion."

No. 5: Kohki Odoki wins Senior PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid.
"On Sunday, Odoki hits a perfect drive down the left side of the fairway on the first tee and I look at PGA Past President Jack Connelly and say, 'How'd you like to have him for your partner in a money game at your club?' I mean, the guy is small, so polite and unassuming. He is sneaky! But he showed his talent, finishing with a final-round 65 at Bellerive to get an incredible win. And believe me, it's tremendously significant that he is Asia's first senior major championship winner and first Japanese-born major champion."

No. 6: PGA Hearts New York
"The PGA of America and Gov. Andrew Cuomo announcing that the PGA Championship and the Ryder Cup will soon be hosted on the Black Course at Bethpage on Long Island - that's two of the biggest events in golf being held at one of the most iconic and impressive courses in the world. We are very excited about the prospects of it and couldn't be happier that we could make it a reality."

No 7: Habitat for Humanity Build in Rochester
"I said I wouldn't rank any items as more significant than others, but if I did, these next two events would be way up there. Being a part of the Habitat for Humanity Build, along with the PGA Tour Wives Association - and seeing the way a community improves because of golf - I can't imagine I'm going to be involved in many things that are more personally gratifying. That house will be the lasting legacy of the 95th PGA Championship. I'm really proud of that."

No. 8: Honoring the First Responders of Newtown
"I can't imagine what the first responders had to see and deal with as they entered the Sandy Hook Elementary School after that awful day in December of 2012. But I was honored to take part, along with our National Teacher of the Year Michael Breed, in Newtown to honor the first responders with a day of golf, friendship, appreciation and hopefully, some healing." [You can read more about Ted's day at Newtown here]

No. 9: Press Conference with PGA Tour at McGladrey Classic.
"The announcements we made together, myself and PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem, prior to the McGladrey Classic, were important and a strong indicator of the value and significance of the partnership and bond the two organizations have with each other. We are both committed to the betterment of the game and realize the synergies that exist when we collaborate in big ways."

No. 10: PGA extends television partnership with NBC Sports.
"Our relationship with our broadcast partners is vitally important to the PGA and its mission to grow the game. We couldn't be happier to aligned with such a great partner for a long time to come."

No. 11: The PGA Annual Meeting in November.
"It was one of the most spirited and productive Annual Meetings I've seen since I've been a part of the PGA. To me, the highlight was letting the 41 PGA Sections know that we will be able to distribute an additional $93,000 to each of them to support the important and vital roles they play in growing golf and serving our members."

No. 12: Naming Lee Trevino as our 2013 Distinguished Service Award winner
"He is the great golf story - rags to riches - and he's the great golf amabassador; champion, teacher and humanitarian. He never forgets his roots, he is a proud PGA member, he is relentless in his passion for giving back to the game. We could not have picked a better winner."

No. 13: Rod Perry wins the PGA Professional National Championship
"Rod Perry is one of the best stories in golf...period. Here's a guy who got cut from his high school golf team, didn't make his college team, enrolled in a PGA Golf Management University Program at Mississippi State to stay a part of the game he loved and now, is a National Champion. Earlier in the week, I presented him a plaque for winning the 2012 PGA Professional Player of the Year. A few days later, he validates that with a big win at the major championship for club professionals. It's a great story. (Incidentally, Perry just earned the 2013 PGA Professional Player of the Year Award as well."

No. 14: Rory McIlroy's class and demeanor
"Rory, as our 2012 PGA Champion, started the year the No. 1 ranked player in the world. The pressures and demands on him were incredible. But the way he conducted himself, especially the times I was around - I could not have been more impressed. He came by our headquarters and spent an afternoon talking to the staff when he picked up his Player of the Year Award. I had a chance to play golf with him at our PGA Championship Media Day in June. He is obviously a phenomenal talent on the golf course, but I hope people understand how great he is for golf by his demeanor as well."

No. 15: Rudy Giuliani, America's Mayor.
"Through golf, I was able to meet, play a round with and form a friendship with Mayor Rudy Giuliani. What an amazing and inspirational figure he is! As we continued to communicate, he agreed to be our keynote speaker at our PGA Annual Meeting. I can't tell you how many of our members and leaders came up to me afterwards and were raving about his speech. We have and will continue to learn a lot from his words. He is an avid golfer and proud supporter of the PGA of Ameria. We are honored to call him a friend."

No. 16: Anniversaries
"Every year marks a great milestone for some important places, but 2013 marked two of particular interest to me. One was the 125th anniversary of the founding of St. Andrews, the oldest golf club in the United States. It's even more special for me because my daughter is a PGA Professional at the club. I was also invited to be a part of the 100th anniversary celebration at Pine Valley. I don't think there's any question that Pine Valley is one of the most respected and impressive facilities in the world. I'll remember those events for a long, long time."

No. 17: A chat with Adam Scott
"During the PGA Grand Slam of Golf, Masters champion Adam Scott pulled me aside and introduced me to his father, Phil Scott. We had a lengthy conversation about best practices and ideas for growing golf. He's the Masters champion, one of the most celebrated golfers in the world, and he wants to talk to me about great ideas on growing the game. To me, that said a lot about the man he is and why he's such a popular figure in sports."

No. 18: Good press
"The year started with a nice article profiling me in Sports Illustrated. As a journalism major in school and a big sports fan, you can imagine it was pretty neat to see and read an article about my vision for the PGA of America in such a great publication. Recently, Golf World magazine ranked me No. 12 on its list of "Newsmakers of the Year." These honors are not about me but about the PGA of America and the role it has in golf. We have a tremendous team in place, a strong vision for the future, the best membership you could imagine and we represent the best sport on the planet. The future is very bright for us."