Hole in one: Book by former PGA of America president shows strong sales

Like any author, Ted Bishop had only one concern when his new book hit the stands:

Would anyone want to read it?

Turns out, he needn’t have worried.

Released on June 8, Bishop’s book, “Unfriended: Power Brokers, Political Correctness & Hypocrisy in Golf,” was an instant hit.

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Published by Classics of Golf Publishing in New York City, the book was the No. 1 selling golf book on Amazon’s Hot New Releases list for most of June.

A chronicle of his removal as president of the PGA of America, the 250-page book is still a popular seller at No. 2 on the new releases list.

“I never had any expectations about the sales, to be honest with you,” said Bishop, director of golf and general manager at The Legends Golf Club in Franklin. “So when it hit No. 1 and stayed there every single day (in June), it was fun.”

And gratifying.

Bishop’s objective wasn’t necessarily to pen a bestseller. Rather, it was to tell his side of a story that shook the golf world and made global news.

On Oct. 24, 2014, with less than a month left in his two-year term, Bishop was removed as president by the PGA for a pair of social media taunts perceived by many as sexist and gender-biased.

Bishop acknowledged that in his well-documented “lil’ girl” jab, directed at British golfer Ian Poulter, his words were insensitive and removed them from his Facebook and Twitter accounts within an hour. He immediately explored ways to publicly apologize through the PGA but said he received no support from the organization.

What he got instead were demands to resign. He refused.

Consequently, less than 24 hours after the social media postings, he was fired by the board of directors — a punishment Bishop insists did not fit the crime.

Many of his supporters, like PGA Tour legend Tom Watson, PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem and businessman-turned-GOP-presidential-candidate Donald Trump, shared the view.

So Bishop, roughly a year after his termination, sat down to write.

With a self-publishing plan in place, he began the manuscript in November of last year and completed it in early March.

By that time, Classics of Golf Publishing reached out with a publishing deal, and by early June hardcover editions were being sold online and in select locations, including The Legends’ pro shop.

So far, feedback from readers has been just as encouraging as sales.

“That’s what’s been extremely gratifying, just to get comments or correspondence from people who have read it, how much they’ve enjoyed it,” Bishop said. “Players here at The Legends, I’ve had a couple of guys say they’ve just never really realized all the different entities and all the inner workings that go into golf.”

Bishop’s main concern wasn’t so much about how many copies would sell as it was how many copies would be read.

Initially, Bishop feared the subtitle might turn off readers who knew he had an ax to grind with the PGA. Although the book does present his side of events, it also provides what he regards as an objective look into golf’s inner sanctum.

“We worked a long time on the title,” Bishop said. “‘Unfriended’ was a classic description of really what my circumstances were with the PGA of America.

“And then the subtitle, I was hoping it wouldn’t drive people away from the book, because I didn’t want people to perceive it as sour grapes on my part, and as a result not even pick up the book.”

Barely a month after its release, the opposite is true.

“I didn’t really know what to expect,” Bishop said. “My biggest fear in the beginning was people (not) getting past the title and subtitle and diving into the book.

“I felt that if they did that and read it, they would have a better understanding certainly of not only my PGA circumstances but of me as a person, in general.”

At a glance

Book: “Unfriended: Power Brokers, Political Correctness & Hypocrisy in Golf”

Author: Ted Bishop, director of golf and general manager of The Legends Golf Club in Franklin and a past PGA of America president.

Publisher: Classics of Golf Publishing

Release date: June 8

Hardcover price: $27.50

Pages: 250

Where to buy: Amazon.com, classicsofgolf.com and The Legends golf shop.

Rick Morwick is sports editor of the Daily Journal. He can be reached at rmorwick@dailyjournal.net or 317-736-2715.