Seve Ballesteros's retirement hit me hard. Seve was at his flamboyant bestduring my formative years, and I remember being glued to the television duringevery Open Championship. I'd watch him play all morning, then ride my bike tothe club and stay there until dark trying to emulate his address position andfigure 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, andI got goose bumps. His passion and creativity captivated a world audience, andhe alone was responsible for the rebirth of the Ryder Cup. His patriotism,support of his teammates, pride and touches of gamesmanship helped revive theevent and laid the foundation for my feelings about the Solheim Cup. He gave somuch life to the game, and he'll be missed.
After toying with the idea for more than a decade, the LPGA finally acquiredthe Futures tour. This is a great move. As a former Futures player--I won aFutures event as an amateur--I can attest that there's no better place to learnyour trade than in real-world situations. I learned how to travel, how to hitshots under real pressure and how to be responsible for myself as aprofessional athlete and a businessperson. The move allows the LPGA to controlits 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 theforefront during the game's oldest championship but then hide behind an oath ofsupposed secrecy is almost unthinkable, especially from someone like Player, towhom the honor of the game is so important. The issue is being addressed by theworld's golf organizations, and I believe that ultimately a unified policy fortesting 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 outany violators.
Dottie Pepper, a 17-year veteran of the LPGA tour and an analyst for NBC andGolf Channel, welcomes questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
DAVID WALBERG (PEPPER); IAN STEWART/EPA (BALLESTEROS); DAVID CANNON/GETTY IMAGES (PLAYER)