When Ted Bishop hit send on Thursday on a tweet that labeled Ian Poulter a "lil girl," it didn't occur to him those eight characters could be considered sexist, much less cost him his job as president of the PGA of America -- especially with a month left to go in his two-year term.
Two hours later, about to sit down for dinner at The Greenbrier in West Virginia, the gravity of those two words dawned on Bishop. He deleted the tweet and a more elaborate Facebook posting. Not too long after, Bishop says to Golf World, he got a call from the PGA of America's communications director, Julius Mason, telling the president that Golf Channel requested his presence to explain the tone of his social media postings.
Mason told Bishop the PGA agreed internally that putting the Indiana course operator in front of the camera wasn't a good idea. They'd release a statement on his behalf, Bishop was told. What the folks at PGA HQ probably didn't admit explicitly was fear that, given his propensity to go off the cuff, Bishop would make an even bigger gaffe on live television.
The statement was a one-liner that had no apology in it. Bishop, who said he wanted to apologize more fully, fumbled an explanation to the Associated Press, who contacted the accessible president directly. His excuse? He wanted to keep in tone with the PGA of America's initial statement.
And that was the beginning of the end for Bishop, who then detailed with writer Jaime Diaz how he realized the PGA of America had turned their back on him, at least in his view. What started as a half-hearted PR effort to save the dignity of the outgoing PGA president turned into a fast-moving train to oust Bishop. That happened, as far as Bishop knows, in the space of six hours.
The then-president was summoned onto a conference call where he was read the riot act, as now-president Derek Sprague appeared to read the charges against Bishop. Bishop was urged to resign; he declined and instead spoke his piece in his own defense some three hours later. It did no good. The PGA of America board of governors voted unanimously to oust Bishop and install Sprague, his would-be successor in a month's time anyhow, into the now-vacant role.
Bishop is still shocked by how quickly he was kicked to the curb.
"Trust me, I abused my platform. I know I made a huge mistake," Bishop told Golf World. "I'm the first to say that. I let my personal feelings for two guys get in my way, and used a bad choice of words in trying to convey my frustration."
It's very well likely Bishop never would have been in this position had the American Ryder Cup team, led by Bishop's hand-picked captain Tom Watson, won at Gleneagles. Watson, and Bishop by extension, would have been invincible instead of both under the bus after first Phil Mickelson, then anonymous sources, indicated dissension and dissatisfaction with the 65-year-old captain.
"One thing that really bothered me after the Ryder Cup was some people in our organization complaining that they'd had no voice in the captain selection, and that 'Ted Bishop got us in this situation, and we have to distance ourselves from him,'" Bishop said.
That bubbling frustration, without taking the opportunity to make public comment after the Ryder Cup, may well have manifested itself in lashing out at Ian Poulter, a thorn in Bishop's side and a road block in his path to glory.
Instead, Bishop crashed and burned, with no one there to save him.
Ryan Ballengee is a Yahoo Sports contributor. Find him on Facebook and Twitter.