More Dottie Pepper highlights

Dottie Pepper and those who know her well share more thoughts on the 2024 Old Tom Morris Award recipient. 


Dottie Pepper sitting on a golf course with a small grey dog
Pepper and her beloved dog Rupert. Photo by Melissa Seabury

Sometimes when we write in GCM, there isn’t quite enough space to say all we’d like to.

In a compilation of notes for the story on 2024 Old Tom Morris Award recipient Dottie Pepper, I have plenty of tidbits that I would have loved to include in her cover feature for the December issue of the magazine. Here are some highlights of the many great anecdotes and memories that didn’t make it into our magazine feature. Enjoy!

Magical moment

Of the 17 victories Pepper collected on the LPGA Tour (including two majors), you may think a major title stands out as her most fond memory. Well, not necessarily.

“I would just say my favorite was at Stratton Mountain (in Vermont for the McCall’s LPGA Classic) in 1995,” she says. “It came off a pretty rocky personal stretch. And it was the only time that my parents saw me win live (it was about 90 minutes from their home). It was a down the stretch battle with Pat Bradley and young Keegan was actually in the gallery (Bradley, a six-time major champion and World Golf Hall of Famer, is the aunt of Keegan Bradley, who was a youth 28 years ago when he watched the two women in action and grew to be a major champ himself).

From one Old Tom winner to another

Besides her family, perhaps nobody was more thrilled to learn that Pepper was the latest Old Tom Morris Award recipient than the man who took the honor in 2021, Pepper’s CBS colleague Jim Nantz. “I think the golf viewer is so comfortable having Dottie in their living room. There’s a trust factor that she’s calling it just as she sees it,” says Nantz. “People love her. You ought to see what’s going on in the fairways; people are cheering her name. She’s a rock star out there. And she just brings a lot to our broadcast. Credibility. Accuracy. Warmth and kindness. Information. Insight. There’s a lot there.”

Dottie Pepper with broadcasting equipment
A scene from Pepper’s ongoing broadcasting endeavors. Courtesy photo

Faithful followers

Jim and Kay Fetty from West Virginia were among the legion who followed Pepper in her playing days and beyond. Pepper got to know as much about them as they knew about her. “They traveled, following me around, even after I started TV,” she says. “He was a huge (Ben) Hogan fan and lifelong Chicago Cubs fan. He said he could die in peace if the Cubs won the World Series. He died within a year after their (2016) victory.”

Ted Ossoff, a PGA Professional and former swing coach for Pepper, got a kick out of the Fettys. He also gets why they adored her. He says, “She’s a good person, the kind of person who’d do anything for you.”

From foe to fan

Although they played against each other on tour, it doesn’t diminish how Amy Alcott views Pepper, especially her TV work. “She’s highly prepared in the work she does, shows she loves the sport and history of the game. I have a lot of respect for Dottie,” says Alcott, a five-time major champion and member of the World Golf Hall of Fame. “She’s managed all she does nicely. CBS gave her more space to showcase her personality. That’s nice to see. I’m a huge fan.”

Dottie Pepper speaking to a reporter at the Solheim Cup
Pepper at the Solheim Cup. Courtesy photo

Up, up, and away?

When Pepper took her first flying lesson last October, it likely wasn’t stunning to her mother, Lynn Pepper. “I kind of remember telling my mother when we were leaving college at Furman and I had just graduated and was driving back home and saw an airplane taking off out of Greenville-Spartanburg (International Airport in South Carolina), I said, ‘Well, mom, I’ll give myself a couple of years to do this (play pro golf) and if it doesn’t work out, I’m going to fly those planes.’” That golf thing worked out pretty darn well. As for following through on the flying thing, that’s still up in the air. But stay tuned.

Howard Richman is GCM's associate editor.