CAN I HEAR ANAMEN? I can't remember a quieter Masters. The difficult conditions made theaudible drama of the tournament all but disappear. The small piece of land thatis Augusta National and the elevation changes on the property create acousticsthat make it possible to hear a charging player move through the course. Thatsound also bleeds into the TV audio. The upcoming shot may be taped, but youknow the roar you heard "just a moment ago" will be worth the wait. Thefirst big sound all week came after Rory Sabbatini (left) made eagle at 8 inthe 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 noroars. Please, put a little water on the greens and bring back the noise!
KUDOS TIMES TWOChanges are afoot at the LPGA, and I like what I see. First, the association istightening the regulations for exempt status and tournament eligibility. Amongthe modifications slated for 2008 are reducing the two-year career-money-listexemption from the top 40 to the top 20, eliminating the tournament-winnerscategory for nonexempt players except for those in the Hall of Fame andlimiting medical or maternity extensions to the following season, not beyond.For too long the LPGA has been a place where ineffective players had too manyways to keep their cards without getting through another qualifying school. Thesecond change is the promotion of Libba Galloway to deputy commissioner. Shebrings 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 CALLFor nearly two months there's been talk of an impending breakup between PhilMickelson (right) and his swing coach, Rick Smith, with Phil moving on to ButchHarmon. Butch has been seen working with Phil at the events in Tucson andMiami. Why is this such a big deal? Last I checked, it's the player who makesthe teacher, not the other way around. I have yet to see a teacher pull thetrigger on a five-footer to win.
Dottie Pepper, a17-year veteran of the LPGA tour and an analyst for NBC and the Golf Channel,welcomes questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
David Walberg (Pepper); John Biever (Sabbatini, Mickelson)