The Pepper Mill

February 06, 2006

FAMILY FOCUS John Daly's wife, Sherrie, has begun serving a sentence in federal prison. I don't know what John (left) is feeling, but personal difficulties can lead to an amazing focus while competing. When I was going through my divorces, 18 holes seemed to pass in a flash, focus was easy to find, and there was a peaceful safety about being inside the ropes. I wouldn't be surprised to see John play great early this season and find the winner's circle again.

SAY WHAT? Last week Phil Mickelson said it would help the Tour if the top players competed against one another more often. Isn't this the guy who passed on the 2005 Tour Championship and this year's winners-only Mercedes Championships? Hmm....

GOOD HIRE The PGA Tour named former LPGA commissioner Ty Votaw (right) as its executive vice president for international affairs. After the chuckling subsides (Ty's fiancée is LPGA player Sophie Gustafson of Sweden), people will see that the Tour got the right guy. During his tenure as LPGA commissioner, from 1999 to 2005, Ty added events in Korea, Mexico and France to the LPGA schedule, and he introduced the Women's British Open as one of the LPGA's major championships.

LPGA-PGA TOUR MERGER Every few years the topic of the PGA Tour's buying the LPGA surfaces, and Ty's hiring has it popping up again. In 1996 I said in an interview that the best thing the LPGA could do was become part of the PGA Tour. Wow, did I take some heat for that. My opponents argued that the LPGA would lose its identity by moving to fourth in the pecking order behind the PGA, Champions and Nationwide tours. But if you can be a part of or do business with someone that's the best at what they do, why wouldn't you? Acquiring the LPGA would allow the PGA Tour to reach a sometimes smaller but more focused market. And as the Tour's newest vice president knows, the LPGA adds tremendous international exposure. The LPGA could see benefits in its player-retirement and health plans as well as its television negotiations.

Dottie Pepper, a 17-year veteran of the LPGA tour and an analyst for NBC and the Golf Channel, welcomes your questions. Send them to: dottie@siletters.com.

PHOTONANCY PALMIERI/WIREIMAGE.COM (PEPPER) PHOTODAVID CANNON/GETTY IMAGES (DALY) PHOTODARREN CARROLL/ICON SMI (VOTAW) TWO PHOTOS

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)