[ by DOTTIE
I DON'T RECALL
anyone ever having the guts to call Karrie Webb "chilly" in print, but
that was my personal take on her early in her career. While she was winning 30
times between her breakout victory in the 1995 Women's British Open and her
2005 induction into the World Golf Hall of Fame--racking up six majors, a
career Grand Slam and two player of the year awards--she developed a reputation
for being aloof, distrustful and intensely protective of her privacy. Hidden
behind her low hat and wrap-around shades, she kept most of her competitors and
the media at arm's length.
Then, over a
22-month winless span between the 2004 Kellogg-Keebler Classic and this year's
Kraft Nabisco, a more open, revealing and appreciative Webb (right) emerged.
She acknowledged that during her run of good play, she had been uncomfortable
with the media attention, had taken success for granted, did not understand the
mental side of golf and had lost what is a crucial element in all sports--trust
in herself. It can be hard to come to terms with yourself on issues like that,
let alone share them with others. Karrie now says one of the biggest reasons
she persevered in her "comeback" was that she wanted to enjoy success
again. I hope she does. I know that I, and all the other golf fans out there,
will appreciate seeing a woman who was one of the best at the top of her game
Mickelson (left) the Masters was a continuation of what he did the week before
at the BellSouth Classic. Phil has addressed his weaknesses off the tee through
technology: He's using drivers that make it possible to draw and fade the ball
on command with a reasonably repeating swing. Twenty years ago you would have
needed a master craftsman at your side every week to pull off such an
arrangement. Today it requires only a computer to spit out ideal
launch-condition numbers and a technician to build the appropriate club. Good
on the guy swinging the club--and on the guy analyzing the swing data to make
the technological match.
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.