Rosie Jones should make a terrific U.S. Solheim Cup captain, but her appointment today is the first real evidence that Dottie Pepper might be forever frozen out of that role.
We all know why.
When Pepper called the American team “choking freaking dogs” during the Solheim Cup in Sweden in 2007, it upset LPGA officials and players. Pepper never meant the comment to be aired as it was caught when she thought Golf Channel had broken away for a commercial.
Pepper knows three years haven’t healed those wounds.
“I could in no way fit [Solheim Cup captain] into my schedule, but because of the issue in Sweden I don’t believe I will ever be in the conversation,” Pepper said via text message when I asked her today what she thought of her Solheim Cup prospects.
It was a change in sentiment from when I asked Pepper the question before the last Solheim Cup. She said then that she didn’t have time to be captain but she hoped “down the line” that would happen.
The sentiment among LPGA insiders is that Meg Mallon and Juli Inkster rank 1 and 1A on the future U.S. Solheim Cup captain’s list and the only reason Mallon wasn’t named this time around is that she’s making a recommitment to playing this season after spending the last few years dealing with injuries and serious family health issues. Inkster also remains a full-time player.
There’s little doubt Mallon and Inkster will follow Jones when the timing’s better for them. The question is whether Jones jumped in front of Pepper on the waiting list. Pepper’s a 17-time LPGA winner with two major championships to her credit. If not for the controversy in Sweden, could Pepper have been talked into making time to be the Solheim Cup captain?
What do you think? Does Pepper deserve to be captain someday?