The last two weekshave been difficult, to say the very least, for Golf Channel's Kelly Tilghman(left). Her ill-chosen on-air words earned her a two-week suspension and aworld of negative attention (My Shot, page G16). I can certainly sympathizewith Kelly given my off-air faux pas at the Solheim Cup last September, so Ireached out to her last week. I believe her situation would not have turned outas badly as it did had she and Golf Channel responded faster (nearly 48 hoursand four days, respectively), but I also told her that addressing the matterpersonally and taking responsibility for it--not hiding behind a preparedstatement--would serve her best. Being available, sincere and honest helped mecope after my knuckleheaded comments and made the healing process faster andbetter for everyone. I hope Kelly follows my advice. I also hope people realizethat if her suspension goes any further than two weeks, the punishment wayexceeds the crime. A horrible word, absolutely. Bad line of conversationbetween Kelly and Nick Faldo, absolutely. Ill intent on anyone's part,absolutely not.
The players on allthree U.S. tours face a daunting task every year: starting the season inHawaii. Sounds crazy, but it's true. After what is usually a significant breakfor most players--sometimes more than two months--they're faced with strong,shifting winds, passing "pineapple" rain showers and difficult, grainyputting surfaces. Players take a lot of heat for not entering theseason-opening events, but off-season work and the renewed confidence it bringsare often undone by playing in heavy winds for two weeks. I never had a greatyear that started in Hawaii. I loved it when the LPGA began in Florida, and Icould get some comfortable rounds under my belt before heading to the Islands.I'll be curious to hear Fred Funk's comments when he returns after playing fourstraight weeks of PGA and Champions tour events on the Islands. Hawaii is agorgeous place, but sometimes your game comes back pretty ugly.
Dottie Pepper, a17-year LPGA veteran and analyst for NBC and Golf Channel, welcomes letters firstname.lastname@example.org.