During the 1998
Solheim Cup, the Europeans were so chapped at Dottie Pepper (she had let out a
loud "Yes!" when her opponent, Laura Davies, missed a putt—in 1994!)
that they attached her picture to a punching bag in the team room. This year
the U.S. had reason to do the same. On Saturday, after Sherri Steinhauer missed
a three-footer on the 18th hole that would have won her foursomes match,
Pepper, an analyst for the Golf Channel [and a columnist for SI Golf Plus],
said, "Choking freakin' dogs!" while not realizing she was still on the
air. U.S. captain Betsy King declined comment on the remark, but Euro captain
Helen Alfredsson said, "There's no putt that feels easy, and to make a
comment like that, I find that quite improper. It doesn't matter if it's for us
properly chagrined. "I take responsibility for my statement," she told
viewers on Sunday, "and apologize for using a horribly insensitive
phrase." Don McGuire, senior vice president of programming at the Golf
Channel, said the channel was to blame. "We definitely let her down by
allowing that feed to go out," he said. But Pepper chose not to hide behind
a technical error. "I certainly never meant anything malicious," she
told SI, "but as a journalist now, I can't be for or against one side or
person. I reacted to what I saw as a former Solheim Cupper who bleeds red,
white and blue and has gagged away a few poits herself. I am guilty as
Paula Creamer of U.S. was the only golfer to play all five sessions and go
un-defeated. In singles Creamer faced Maria Hjorth of Sweden, to that point the
only undefeated European, but it was no contest as Creamer went 4 up after II
holes before eventually winning 2 and 1.
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After Steinhauer and Laura Diaz double-bogeyed and bogeyed back-to-back holes
early in their windblown foursomes match against Hjorth and Gwladys Nocera on
Saturday, Steinhauer noticed that her four brothers, who were following the
action inside the ropes, had taken off their matching red hats with sherri
stitched on the front. Miffed, she walked over and said, "What are you
doing? Put your hats back on!" They did, and the Americans came back to
halve the match.
boys still live in their hometown of Madison, Wis., and have long served as an
inspiration for their baby sister. When Sherri, 44, was four, she was given her
choice of a toy after getting a shot at the doctor's office. She chose a set of
plastic clubs "because I wanted to play golf like they did," she says.
Like Sherri, an All-America at Texas, three of the Steinhauer brothers played
golf in college: Gary, 53, and Tom, 52, at Wisconsin, and Randy, 49, at Drake.
Only Chuck, 55, did not play collegiately. But none can remember the last time
they beat her. "I came close once recently," says Gary, "but she
called the game because of darkness."