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Pepper the Spice of the LPGA

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Nov. 20, 2000 -- Something has been missing in the LPGA corner. Her name is Dottie Pepper. Pepper won the LPGA`s Arch Wireless Championship, and what a reminder it was that things just haven't been the same around here..
 
Karrie Webb and Annika Sorenstam have tried. And both have gotten much better dealing with people. For the past, oh, four years, they have dominated the tour. But a Pepper, a Helen Alfredsson, a Meg Mallon, a Pat Bradey, an Amy Alcott . they just let it rip with the comments and then think about it later.
 
Dottie - 'Snottie Dottie,' they used to call her - isn't always likeable. In the past, if she wasn't expecting you, she could be downright rude. Her fellow players don't always understand the things she does - and it's debatable if she does, either. But in the interview room, she has no equal. She will say anything, answer anything, and she never seems to regret commentating on any pressing issue that is asked of her.

'The first day of the Solheim Cup, I was a flat tire.' How do you get any plainer than that? She could have said, 'The first day of the Solheim Cup, I didn't play so well,' but this so much more descriptive. 'A flat tire' means exactly that. You're flat, and you know it. No need to pretend anything else.
 
'God, I mean, I hit the ball off the tee,' she was saying, and it sounded so much more descriptive than, 'I hit it well, I thought.' Dottie doesn't know anything about being nice. She only knows to answer the question posed to her, and it has gotten her in trouble in the past. But Lordy, what a breath of fresh air she is.
 
'Isn't that pitiful? Just rolled it right by the hole. Kept going off the green. Then Annika made mine look good. Hit a worse putt than I did. That was amazing.' Yes, that was Ms. Pepper, talking about the play of herself and Sorenstam on the 12th green when both were down-grain, putting, from beyond 40 feet. Too graphic, perhaps? Maybe if you're in the Salon Room at the Ladies Cotillion, but not here. No way.
 
Pepper has her own unique way of expressing herself. 'I know this is going to sound like I'm giving the guy a big ol' plug, but I am. Tom Boers is unbelievable, what he does with people with back issues. Stuff I do seems so simple.' Can it be told any other way?
 
'I wouldn't have been legal for the Olympics, but now I'm legal.' She was talking about the medication she was taking earlier this year for the back ailment which plagued her throughout the summer. Was the medicine legal? Yes, from a doctor's point of view. But it certainly wouldn't have passed muster at the Olympics.
 
'He called it a `functional overload.' That sounds like something very politically correct. Doing too much when your body can't handle it. I mean, I'm getting older. You've got to be a little smarter.' Certainly. She isn't politically correct yet, and there isn't much evidence that she is getting smarter. She's just Dottie, which is a blessing for the LPGA.
 
Could she have had a better day than she did Sunday? Could anything possibly have ruined it? 'What would have ruined it is if I forgot to sign the scorecard. That would have ruined the day,' she said, and you know what? It would have.

Pepper cracked up everyone when she talked about voting in the Presidential Election. She voted absentee. And she voted in Palm Beach County, Fla. 'The ultimate combination,' she put it.
 
Why? 'You didn't have anywhere to put the ballot,' she explained. 'It didn't lay open - you had your ballot here on the right and the instructions, and your choices on another piece of paper.
 
'So you had Bush and Cheney and then you had to go find one on the entire punch card. You just didn't go straight across (if you were voting for someone else.) You had to go literally punch it on the punch card. It wasn't like you could slide it into the metal part of the ballot.'
 
Just to make sure, though, she throws in an addendum - 'My opinion - it's probably too strong - but if you can't figure out where the arrow's pointing, you probably shouldn't be voting.' Goodness!
 
Regardless of how you voted, you've got to like her. Dottie Pepper Mochrie Pepper Scarinzi. I hope she's back on top for good.