Seve Ballesteros's retirement hit me hard. Seve was at his flamboyant best
during my formative years, and I remember being glued to the television during
every Open Championship. I'd watch him play all morning, then ride my bike to
the club and stay there until dark trying to emulate his address position and
figure out how he hit those seemingly impossible shots from around the greens.
When the Women's British Open was first played at Royal Lytham & St. Annes
(1998), I walked out to the car park where he played his hero shot in 1979, and
I got goose bumps. His passion and creativity captivated a world audience, and
he alone was responsible for the rebirth of the Ryder Cup. His patriotism,
support of his teammates, pride and touches of gamesmanship helped revive the
event and laid the foundation for my feelings about the Solheim Cup. He gave so
much life to the game, and he'll be missed.
After toying with the idea for more than a decade, the LPGA finally acquired
the Futures tour. This is a great move. As a former Futures player--I won a
Futures event as an amateur--I can attest that there's no better place to learn
your trade than in real-world situations. I learned how to travel, how to hit
shots under real pressure and how to be responsible for myself as a
professional athlete and a businessperson. The move allows the LPGA to control
its product in international markets and to reach any size market domestically.
It was worth the wait.
Gary Player's steroid comments were bizarre. To bring this issue to the
forefront during the game's oldest championship but then hide behind an oath of
supposed secrecy is almost unthinkable, especially from someone like Player, to
whom the honor of the game is so important. The issue is being addressed by the
world's golf organizations, and I believe that ultimately a unified policy for
testing and penalties will be put in place. Until those decisions are final,
either name names or wait until the process now being set in motion weeds out
Dottie Pepper, a 17-year veteran of the LPGA tour and an analyst for NBC and
Golf Channel, welcomes questions at email@example.com.