that Mike is slowly repairing and repairing
well. But there was so much collateral damage that I think a part of it was, “Who cares?”
POST Got to follow up on that. How many years
did the Bivens regime set the LPGA back?
DP I’ve heard some people say maybe a decade.
POST Care to elaborate?
DP Well, it was in collaboration with the recession. We’ve had some commissioners
that weren’t fabulous but there was a good
economy, and on a straightforward turnaround, things happen more quickly. I think
the worldwide economy makes it more
difficult for people to justify spending an
increased amount of money on any product.
And we’re really just now starting to see that
come back with Cadillac and KIA.
that may be just as good if not better. And I
think we’ve learned by watching Lindsay
Lohan that too much too early is not great.
The LPGA is better off with a Lexi Thompson who can’t wait to play; who can’t wait to
compete; who can’t wait to play for the United
States on a Solheim Cup team in six years,
than they are to have a burned-out kid who
doesn’t want to have anything to do with golf.
Pepper was at her fiery best during six Solheim Cup appearances.
He has managed to bridge a lot of hesitation
gaps between the Korean players especially.
He’s a very trusted person out there. It’s very
difficult when you’re from a perfectionist
society and not wanting to make a mistake,
to trust someone. Sean has done an amazing job to be that person for the player that’s
on the road. And also there’s now a weekly
opportunity to learn, polish up or socialize
their English. But I also think, too, how many
foreign players consider Orlando (Florida)
Yani Tseng and Suzann Pettersen run very
close as far as athletic talent and ball-striking talent, just overall giftedness, I
guess you would call it. Best player out there
right now is probably Yani.
POST So is it fair and/or accurate to say Carolyn
Bivens was the wrong person in the wrong
place at the wrong time?
“The LPGA is better off with a
Lexi Thompson who can’t wait
to play ... than they are to have a
— Dottie Pepper
POST This leads us right into Michelle Wie, who
had decisions made for her at a similarly
early age. Where do you see her at age 30?
DP I hope Michelle will be at age 30 wherever
Michelle wants Michelle to be. And not have
decisions made for her again. I do think
there’s a level of underachievement there
for her pure talent. It’s crazy. But I also think
there were a whole series of things surrounding her that made allowing that talent
to happen almost impossible. And she still
wants to be an outstanding college graduate,
which I think is fantastic. But there’s been so
much piled on her and so many expectations
that even if she was terrific, people will say
she should have been setting world records.
POST A lot.
DP A lot. Why are the LPGA and Golf Channel
seemingly fighting each other? They should
be doing bits and pieces on these players
all the time. They should be flying them into
Golf Central as the LPGA season starts and
get to know these players.
POST What LPGA player has the best head?
DP That’s a really good question. Whoever could
be apart from their Twitter account long
enough to play a good round of golf (laughs)
without feeling compelled to get on there. I
guess that would probably be the answer. I
think Pettersen, if she would quit tinkering,
because she can get mean but control it.
POST Who is the best player on the LPGA right
now and which player has the most talent?
DP Ooh, that’s a tough one. I think, talent-wise,
POST Is the fact that No. 1 in the rankings is up for
grabs almost every week a good thing?
DP I thought it had a lot of good stories last year
and it was around the majors when things
really started to change. But if you don’t have
consistent coverage, who’s going to pay attention? I think there’s still an alienation in the
media that we created around Carolyn
(former LPGA commissioner Carolyn Bivens)
POST As you have watched the Lexi Thompson
situation unfold, what are your thoughts?
She just turned 16 and, at 15, petitioned for
LPGA eligibility. Whan (conditionally) turned
down the petition.
DP From the standpoint of what Mike Whan did,
I think he was brilliant. Absolutely brilliant.
He supported membership. He made a good
“dad” decision. And he looked out, long term,
for someone who may be coming on her heels
POST How much has it hurt the LPGA to have
lost, in relatively quick succession, Annika
Sorenstam and Lorena Ochoa to retirement.
DP Frankly, I thought it would have damaged the
LPGA more had they been American. That
would have really been a big hit. It was bad
enough as it was because the storyline was
there every week and they almost always
delivered. And they also played a lot, which
was really big.
POST Let’s talk Tiger Woods. It seems like a
lot of people still root for his golf but are
exasperated by what they perceive to be
inadequate efforts on his part to repair the
off-the-course damage. Right or wrong?
Fair or unfair? A