CAN I HEAR AN
AMEN? I can't remember a quieter Masters. The difficult conditions made the
audible drama of the tournament all but disappear. The small piece of land that
is Augusta National and the elevation changes on the property create acoustics
that make it possible to hear a charging player move through the course. That
sound also bleeds into the TV audio. The upcoming shot may be taped, but you
know the roar you heard "just a moment ago" will be worth the wait. The
first big sound all week came after Rory Sabbatini (left) made eagle at 8 in
the final round, but before that--almost nothing. Sunday's overall scoring
(74.33) was the best of the week, and a few growls were heard, but virtually no
roars. Please, put a little water on the greens and bring back the noise!
KUDOS TIMES TWO
Changes are afoot at the LPGA, and I like what I see. First, the association is
tightening the regulations for exempt status and tournament eligibility. Among
the modifications slated for 2008 are reducing the two-year career-money-list
exemption from the top 40 to the top 20, eliminating the tournament-winners
category for nonexempt players except for those in the Hall of Fame and
limiting medical or maternity extensions to the following season, not beyond.
For too long the LPGA has been a place where ineffective players had too many
ways to keep their cards without getting through another qualifying school. The
second change is the promotion of Libba Galloway to deputy commissioner. She
brings seven years of experience as well as expertise in competitive sports,
law, finance and real estate. Two moves, two thumbs up.
IT'S PHIL'S CALL
For nearly two months there's been talk of an impending breakup between Phil
Mickelson (right) and his swing coach, Rick Smith, with Phil moving on to Butch
Harmon. Butch has been seen working with Phil at the events in Tucson and
Miami. Why is this such a big deal? Last I checked, it's the player who makes
the teacher, not the other way around. I have yet to see a teacher pull the
trigger on a five-footer to win.
Dottie Pepper, a
17-year veteran of the LPGA tour and an analyst for NBC and the Golf Channel,
welcomes questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.