Dottie Pepper to receive GCSAA’s 2023 Old Tom Morris Award

By |  November 15, 2023 0 Comments

The Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA) named Dottie Pepper, former LPGA Tour professional and current television golf broadcaster, the recipient of its 42nd Old Tom Morris Award.

Photo: GCSAA

Photo: GCSAA

GCSAA presents the Old Tom Morris Award to an individual who, through a continuing lifetime commitment to the game of golf, helped to mold the welfare of the game in a manner and style exemplified by Old Tom Morris. Old Tom Morris was a four-time British Open winner and the greenkeeper at St. Andrews in Scotland.

“Dottie Pepper has had a standout career as both a major champion and a golf reporter,” Rhett Evans, GCSAA’s CEO, said. “But she also has a deep appreciation for what all goes into making the game happen and the work that superintendents do, which is why Dottie Pepper is an ideal recipient of the Old Tom Morris Award.”

Pepper won 17 events — including two majors — during her 16 years on the LPGA Tour and represented the United States on six Solheim Cup teams before becoming a golf commentator in 2004. She has since covered the game for NBC, Golf Channel, ESPN and CBS. She made history in 2020 when she became the first walking reporter on the grounds of Augusta National during CBS’s coverage of the Masters.

She showed an early interest in golf after her grandmother bought Pepper a Chi Chi Rodriguez junior golf club set when she was 7 years old. Her father, former major league first baseman Don Pepper, furthered young Dottie’s interest, building a driving range on the family’s Saratoga Springs, N.Y., farm.

“It had well-manicured greens,” Pepper said. “I was never allowed to mow the greens, but I certainly mowed the fairways on the tractor in my youth. I knew when it was time to aerate and put things to bed properly for the winter.”

PGA professional George Pulver too Pepper under his wing when she was 14. As a 15-year-old, she won the 1981 New York State Amateur and was the low amateur in the U.S. Women’s Open in 1984. At Furman University, Pepper was a three-time All-American and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in health sciences in 1987. She joined the LPGA Tour in 1988.

After a playing career that included winning the 1992 and 1999 Nabisco Dinah Shore (now known as The Chevron Championship), a 13-5-2 career record in the Solheim Cup and being named Player of the Year in 1992, Pepper retired from the Tour in 2004 and began her time on television later that year.

Pepper said her preparation for telecasts often relies on information supplied by superintendents.

“I try to speak with the superintendent on a regular basis, especially those superintendents who have gone through a restoration or renovation because they’re the ones who are hands-on the whole time,” she said.

Pepper is the seventh woman to win the Old Tom Morris Award, joining Patty Berg, Dinah Shore, Nancy Lopez, Judy Rankin, Annika Sorenstam and Renee Powell.

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