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The Pepper Mill
Dottie Pepper
December 10, 2007
My Christmas wish list includes two items that would be huge gifts to golf. First, I'd love to see David Duval (left) return to the PGA Tour's elite. With his family now healthy and a medical exemption granted for '08, David plans on playing a relatively full schedule. Here's hoping he builds on some of the momentum he was starting to gather last year, when he made the cut in three of his first four starts. Next up would be a victory for Annika Sorenstam (below), who went winless last year for the first time since 1994. A season with Annika, Lorena Ochoa, Suzann Pettersen and Paula Creamer battling it out for wins and money-list supremacy would serve the LPGA well as commissioner Carolyn Bivens prepares her aggressive business plan for multiple tournament and television renewals in 2009.
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December 10, 2007

The Pepper Mill

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My Christmas wish list includes two items that would be huge gifts to golf. First, I'd love to see David Duval (left) return to the PGA Tour's elite. With his family now healthy and a medical exemption granted for '08, David plans on playing a relatively full schedule. Here's hoping he builds on some of the momentum he was starting to gather last year, when he made the cut in three of his first four starts. Next up would be a victory for Annika Sorenstam (below), who went winless last year for the first time since 1994. A season with Annika, Lorena Ochoa, Suzann Pettersen and Paula Creamer battling it out for wins and money-list supremacy would serve the LPGA well as commissioner Carolyn Bivens prepares her aggressive business plan for multiple tournament and television renewals in 2009.

It's been 20 years since I went to qualifying school, and the memory alone leaves me wondering how I ever got through it. When I landed in Houston to play 72 holes at Sweetwater Country Club, I had a case of the shanks and my 17-year-old sister, Jackie, on the bag. We were two clueless kids who didn't know where the course was, what it looked like or even how many exempt cards were available (26). In fact, I knew only two things: I was there to win, and even if I did, I only had enough money in the bank to play for half of the following season. It's probably not the recommended mind-set going into the week, but I really believe that cluelessness 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 the tournament but was a total insomniac the following week. I was anxious about the cash issues, the scheduling, not being old enough to rent a car everywhere, and everything being new. Today there's such overanalysis of players' positions within Q school--including locker-room speculation, live scoring updates, and caddies/coaches/parents/managers running back and forth to the scoreboard with predictions--and all of it seems to complicate a wicked process even further and make the week even harder. I always take pride in my preparation, but Q school was one time when it paid not to have a clue.

Dottie Pepper, a 17-year LPGA veteran and analyst for NBC and Golf Channel, welcomes your letters at dottie@siletters.com.

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