My Christmas wishlist includes two items that would be huge gifts to golf. First, I'd love tosee David Duval (left) return to the PGA Tour's elite. With his family nowhealthy and a medical exemption granted for '08, David plans on playing arelatively full schedule. Here's hoping he builds on some of the momentum hewas starting to gather last year, when he made the cut in three of his firstfour starts. Next up would be a victory for Annika Sorenstam (below), who wentwinless last year for the first time since 1994. A season with Annika, LorenaOchoa, Suzann Pettersen and Paula Creamer battling it out for wins andmoney-list supremacy would serve the LPGA well as commissioner Carolyn Bivensprepares her aggressive business plan for multiple tournament and televisionrenewals in 2009.
It's been 20 yearssince I went to qualifying school, and the memory alone leaves me wondering howI ever got through it. When I landed in Houston to play 72 holes at SweetwaterCountry Club, I had a case of the shanks and my 17-year-old sister, Jackie, onthe bag. We were two clueless kids who didn't know where the course was, whatit looked like or even how many exempt cards were available (26). In fact, Iknew only two things: I was there to win, and even if I did, I only had enoughmoney in the bank to play for half of the following season. It's probably notthe recommended mind-set going into the week, but I really believe thatcluelessness freed me up to shoot a 69 on the final day, leapfrog 20 players,finish eighth and get my card. Maybe that's why I slept well during thetournament but was a total insomniac the following week. I was anxious aboutthe cash issues, the scheduling, not being old enough to rent a car everywhere,and everything being new. Today there's such overanalysis of players' positionswithin Q school--including locker-room speculation, live scoring updates, andcaddies/coaches/parents/managers running back and forth to the scoreboard withpredictions--and all of it seems to complicate a wicked process even furtherand make the week even harder. I always take pride in my preparation, but Qschool was one time when it paid not to have a clue.
Dottie Pepper, a17-year LPGA veteran and analyst for NBC and Golf Channel, welcomes yourletters at firstname.lastname@example.org.
DAVID WALBERG (PEPPER)
MARC FELDMAN/WIREIMAGE.COM (DUVAL)
TODD BIGELOW/AURORA (SORENSTAM)