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Dottie Pepper to Move from TV Booth to PGA of America Board
Dottie Pepper has announced she won't return in 2013 as part of NBC Sports' golf broadcast team and, instead, will devote her considerable energies to growing the game.
The 47-year-old New York native retired from the LPGA Tour with 17 victories and two major titles in 2004 following several injuries. She joined the NBC booth the next year and became an insightful, popular reporter who wasn't afraid to speak her mind. From 2005-09 she served as the lead analyst for Golf Channel's LPGA Tour events.
On Saturday, Pepper was appointed an independent director of the PGA of America Board of Directors and was sworn in that day to the position's three-year term during the 96th PGA Annual Meeting in Baltimore.
Pepper will now shift her focus to the new role. "NBC wanted me to work more. And I can't do the things I want to do for golf if I'm in a suitcase for half the year doing announcing," she told USA Today's Steve DiMeglio on Monday (for the full article, visit http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/golf/2012/11/12/dottie-pepper-tv-broadcast-analysis/1700069/).
"I really want to get more people playing golf and more women playing golf. We are totally missing the boat," she added. "I hopefully can help. It's the perfect time to step back and give a little more back to the game than taking from it."
Pepper's final NBC broadcasts will be the World Challenge hosted by Tiger Woods November 29-December 2 at Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks, Calif., the Franklin Templeton Shootout hosted by Greg Norman a week later at Tiburon Golf Club in Naples, Fla., and, finally, the PNC Father Son Challenge December 13-16 at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club in Orlando.
Over the years Pepper teamed up with NBC's lead analyst Johnny Miller, Roger Maltbie, Gary Koch and Mark Rolfing, among other on-course reporters. "I'm going to miss NBC a lot," Pepper told DiMeglio. "Those guys were my brothers. The hardest part of the decision I made was because of the people I work with more than the job."
Known as a fiery competitor, Pepper will serve as an assistant captain for the U.S. Solheim Cup squad in 2013 at Colorado Golf Club, where the Americans will seek to regain the Cup from the Europeans, who won last year at Killeen Castle in Ireland by a 15-13 score. Pepper boasted an admirable 13-5-2 record as a playing member on six U.S. Solheim Cup teams.
She also got in hot water with the 2007 America Solheim Cup squad when, thinking the telecast had gone to commercial, she uttered into the microphone that the Yanks were "choking freaking dogs." The Americans won that year in Sweden by a 16-12 margin.
After receiving considerable flak from members of both teams, she later called the remarks a "poor choice of words." When named to be an assistant to captain Meg Mallon for the 2013 team, a still-repentant Pepper said, "There's not a day that goes by that I don't regret that it happened. And we all learn."
This year Pepper and co-author Scott Fuller published her first children's book, "Bogey Tees Off: A Lesson about Being Truthful." The title is the first in a series of books aimed at teaching kids life lessons through golf.
She plans to do more of that type of work in the future. "I'm looking forward to an exciting and new chapter in my life," she told DiMeglio. "I'm thrilled and inspired by the people I will be working with at the PGA of America. My experiences in golf can help shape the decisions that will be made. Expanding junior programs and expanding the number of women playing the game is what I hope to do.
"I want to make junior golf programs mean as much to the game as Little League means to baseball. I want to see this great game grow."