Pepper cites 'perfect timing' for shift in career

Dottie Pepper

A decision that had been weighing on her mind for months was made easier when another door within the world of golf opened.

Thus is Dottie Pepper – who three days ago officially was announced as an independent director with the PGA of America – convinced that the timing is right to walk away from her job with NBC’s golf-coverage team.

“Absolutely perfect timing. I’m fortunate to be in a position (to leave), to take time, step back and do the other stuff (in golf) I have going on,” said Pepper, who will work three more NBC events this year: the Tiger Woods World Challenge, the Franklin Templeton Shootout and the PNC Father-Son Challenge – to fulfill her contract.

Pepper, who counts two majors among her 17 LPGA tour victories, was referring to a number of projects that will keep her connected to golf. She proudly will serve as one of Meg Mallon’s assistant captains for the 2013 Solheim Cup at Colorado Golf Club near Denver next August. On top of that, she was introduced at the PGA of America’s annual meeting in Baltimore as one of the group’s newest independent directors, a position that Pepper is looking forward to.

“What I want most to do is focus on the PGA Junior Championship and make it better,” Pepper said. She already has concentrated on junior golf with her role of independent director with the Northeast New York Section of the PGA of America, and she is enthused about the team youth concept that is golf’s version of Little League. The idea is to get youngsters into the game.

Youths represent their towns and/or teams within a town and compete in a scramble format.

“It was in play this year, and there was a tremendous amount of success,” Pepper said. “We hope to take it country-wide. We need to figure out funding for it, but I think there’s a really big chance to do something good with this.”

Introducing kids to golf is the primary reason Pepper, 47, last year joined with author Scott Fuller of Virginia Beach, Va., to produce a series of children’s golf books built around a character named Bogey Ballton. Her commitment to that project is yet another reason why she decided it was time to give up the NBC job, which she has held since 2005.

“I’ve got plenty on the table,” said Pepper, who broke onto the LPGA tour in 1988. “I’ve been living in a suitcase nonstop for about 25 years. It’s time.”

There is, however, a bittersweet tinge to it all.

“The hardest part won’t be leaving the job; it will be leaving the people,” Pepper said.

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