Huddle Up with Gus
Huddle Up with Gus

Episode 1 · 8 months ago

Huddle Up with Gus: Dottie Pepper

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

NFL QB Gus Frerotte intervies one of Golf's Greatest Champions, Dottie Pepper.

...um and you're our first guest, Well, we're trying this new um this new way out for us instead of just a normal podcast, so it should be a lot of fun, but um you're used to doing all this, you know how to Yeah, yeah, yeah, so it's not a big deal, but it should be a lot of fun. Uh So, Ben or Dennis, are you guys on? Okay, so alright, we'll just get rolling dot I'll do a little quick intro and and bring you in and all right, alright, Hey, everyone, welcome to another episode of huddle Up with Gus, I'm your host, 15 year NFL quarterback Gus Frerotte and I want to welcome you to huddle up with Gus, We have an incredible guest today. Um she 17 years in the LPGA 17 time winner and she also is the lead, uh you know this this one gives me Dottie when they say the walking reporter, because I'm like, why not just a reporter? But you are walking, you're trying to find the guy you got to talk to. But and also you have a new book which I'm excited about. Uh you know, uh let Us to the Future Champion. My time with Mr pulver and I love it. I was kind of researching some of it, but it's very interesting, it's about mentorship. So everyone, we've got a great guest, Dottie Pepper is here and Dottie, how are you doing? Thank you. And I'm getting ready to walk a lot because the Cbs golf season is about to kick off. So been in the gym pretty hard and um yeah, you're not, you're not, you're not, you're out there getting stories, but you're also just calling the shots from, from a player's perspective. That's what's the coolest part about my job. So it's um, it's like you playing quarterback, you don't have to get beat up. Yeah, but you also have to research all the guys because they're all different, uh you know, as a layperson would watch golf and say, oh, it's all the same. They all have the same swing, but they really don't, and they hit different shots from different areas and some of them aren't as good as drawing the ball or fading the ball and all those kind of things. So you have to really research all those players, right? You can do my job, you just you just named it, you need to know their tendencies and that's what I look forward. I'm doing preparation. I look at their overall stats, but more importantly, stats over the last few starts, um, stats, how did, how they played that golf course in the past. So it's like looking at another team and just kind of knowing their tendencies, but also going to the range to watch them practice to see if there's a tendency something that's showing up there, if they were agitated if they were urgent, just kind of urgency about practice, if they had spent more time normal and normal than hitting shorter, longer putts, whatever those things that, from a player's perspective, I can translate to seeing before and during, around that's what I'm trying to get across to the, to the viewers. Yeah, that's that. I mean, it makes it I love it because it may put you right in the middle of the action instead of just the guys in the broadcast booth with a camera trying to explain everything. And I really wish that, you know, like in hockey now where they are in the middle of the game, the coach gets asked a question by the reporter right there and, you know, I would love to be able to take guys and be able to ask him that question right? Like when you're on, you know, hold 16 and saying, okay, you got two holes left or you've got three holes left, whatever it is, and and how are you feeling right now, you know, and and and just because I feel like that, you know, golf is really exciting, but like to my wife, she would say it's boring, but for me it's like exciting and your your wife is not alone and we're the golf geeks, so I get Yeah, yeah, so I think it's it's great what you're doing. I think that aspect of changing the game a little bit and reporting has been great. Um but let's start back to when you were you were a kid, I have uh I'm working with a guy right now, his name is Craig Richardson and he said he remembers you from the although he grew up in the Albany area because you were close and he said oh I met her so many times and and uh I said well what do you remember about Dottie? And he said well mostly golf always had a golf club in her hand.

And then he said that to to remind you of j gunning j gunning. So j gunning played at Shaker high school and his dad was a PGA professional and an older brother also, he played at Shaker. They were really really good players. I mean the the top quality male junior players that came out of this area, I don't think you know I played on the high school boys team because it wasn't a girls team, I'm pretty sure I didn't beat either one of them and jay and I think maybe we're the same year maybe he was a year older. His his mom mom worked in the pro shop, our parents were good friends. Um and one of the funny funny stories about when tom got his dad started to lose his hair. So this is a little bit personal, but not too personal. He said he said dad can I help you blow dry your hair? And he goes like it was cruel. Oh that's a bad joke, yeah, joke that my grandfather would have not, you know my dad was not like that, luckily my dad and my grandfather did, but you grew up and and obviously your golf was in your blood, but your dad was a baseball, a former baseball player, right? Um The s I covered him As one of the top rookies for 1968 is it was great. You know there's Johnny Bench and some other guys on there and and so did when he was playing. Do you remember that? I mean I guess you were really young, right? I was but I do remember being in Toledo and I remember being at Lucas County stadium. So that's not where the mud hens played downtown now. That's phenomenal facility that they have now. But it is really nice. It is Lucas county. I remember it because I fell. Um and I had the biggest shiner and of course you reminded it by old family photos, but I do remember falling there. Uh and and dad spent most of his time there won the minor league world series with the mud hens, but at the same year was called up to play for the Tiger. So it was, we spent a lot of time in that area? Yeah. So you have competition in your blood. You know, and I'm wondering like was your dad a big golfer, is that how you kind of got into the golfing scene because from his dad, it wasn't that way because his dad was a Turkey farmer. Right. Right. Right. When his dad died, my grandmother, his widow widower took up golf, The family farm had called had had closed and she was, my grandmother was extremely athletic skied, played golf, I mean she was kind of like probably pushing five ft 10, big strong second generation immigrant from Germany and um she was solid and she could do anything and she played golf and it was it was social for her, but it was also athletic and exercise. And my dad, like many retired baseball players gravitated to golf, not only for exercise but for the competition of it and for something that they could um you know, there there are a lot of similarities between between a good baseball move and and a good golf swing, so I have the distinct advantage, very much like Phil Mickelson's dad was right handed Phil being left, my dad was left handed and I was right, so I could watch a very good athletic swing. He was about a four handicap at his best. Yeah, so no, he could really play. Um so I had a really, I had I had a nice advantage there to learn the basics of what translated from baseball to golf, a guy who was really inquisitive about the game and then when he had taken me as far as he could engulf, that's when mr pulver came into my world, so he was, he was sort of that um in between my grandmother ultimately introducing me him being something we did and something he loved, but then moving me on to someone else, when do you remember that first time of like, All three of you maybe swinging a golf club together? Oh, it definitely happened. We we played at Brookhaven where mr pulver designed the golf course and we definitely played the, but you know, I always wanted to beat my grandmother and beat my dad, so the...

...competitiveness was very innate, I love that, I love that. And because we all get that from somewhere, right, that competitive, that drive, and you know, if you, I'm sure if your grandma took you skiing all the time, you probably one of the top downhill skiers in the world, right up, you know, said, let's pick up this club, I did ski a lot, but my parents actually discouraged me from the need for speed thing because they felt like, I guess they were, they were kind of knowing their kid, um whatever I did, I wanted to do the best at, so I ended up teaching as a, as a junior ski instructor because I had a pretty good record. Um this early in, this, the winter of 1981 that knocked me out for actually the early part of the golf season broke four bones in my wrist. And so that was my decision time though, it turned out that I was either gonna be kind of a ski bum or a golf club was going to be in my hands. So I think I I think I made a choice, I think you made the right choice? Yeah, you picked the one that that you can do and be successful but pretty much your entire life right for for a lot of years anyway. Um So then you get into this, you're playing golf, you're, what age were you when mr pulver kind of took over and started working with you hands on at 15, I had reached out to him the year before, I I've known him from kind of being you know he and his wife Martha were sort of golf royalty in this area in upstate new york, he founded this P. G. A section and set up bunch of course records and They were royalty, they were involved, they were big give back their kids played golf but it was really the summer that I turned 15 into 16 that that we began working on a regular basis and he turned not only my my game, around the way I saw the ball, fly the way it is getting fundamentals more entrenched in what I do, but really my mindset about the game. Yeah, so so when you're a kid and you you love golf and you're doing all these things, what did you do because there was no simulators when you were a kid, what did you do in that way? Because it's not like, you know it's a small short window of winter weather in Albany and Saratoga Springs, you know, it's a long, long winter. What did you do to kind of keep your interest when you were a kid? Um well there was no chance of burnout, we know that because they weren't so short, so my, I had a little pitching area down in the basement that dad built um and it wasn't anything extravagant, it was a sheet with that was rolled up at the bottom and the ball is just kind of, they kind of, they were dead and they fell to the ground and scoop them up and go back to this little piece of astroturf in, but it gave you a chance to work on pretty much shoulders down, so just the basics of a good, solid golf swing. Um It was, he did, he kind of did everything for me, but he finished what my dad started, but he said that he was that mentor, that person that I could look up to, but it was all about fundamentals, it was about being properly prepared, it was about having an education, it was about all these kind of life skills things that they talk about now really? Yeah, I know that that is awesome. Hey everyone thanks for listening to how to up with Gus, I really appreciate it. Go to huddle up with Gus dot com and check us out, you can listen to other episodes just like this today, we're talking with Dottie Pepper. She was telling us a little bit about her childhood and how she started in golf. So, Dottie now, now you're in high school and like you said, there was no women's golf at Saratoga Springs High School. So what was I mean, and that's a back then, that was a big thing to play with the guys. So what was that like for you? Well, first of all, I had the athletic director at Saratoga High petitioned for me to be able to play, which was a pretty strong statement. Yeah, that is, that is great. But I had to pass, you had to go before the state physical athletic Committee. I had to pass a special physical to be able to play. And I started playing on the, on the high school team and a varsity team in 8th grade. So it was kind of a big deal and you know, probably a bigger deal than I thought of at the time for my...

...teammates. And there's this girl and she's she's hanging tough with us and I ended up actually going to the state championship and playing against the guy of my senior year. I think it may be better. You would I still find it hard to believe that it's only been two full seasons take Covid out of the middle of it. But there's been a team at Saratoga High School for girls and also this section of new york State Public High School Athletic Association member schools has had a championship, so that the girls in this area could, could play in a championship to get them to the state finals. Why do you think they, yeah, why? Why do you think it took them so long? Is it just because it's, the season is so short or no? In fact, the season is really kind of complicated up here because central, new york plays a spring golf season in eastern new york and down into more toward the metro metro area plays fall golf, so that, that really wasn't part of it, but I had had one athletic director say if you hadn't been so competitive against the guys, this would have happened probably a long time ago, so it was my fault. Yeah, so it's all daddy's fault, why we haven't had golf here forever. Um Yeah, so when you first went out and competed against the guys, were you just, like, it's normal golf, did you get any kind of like, did Mr pulver give you some tips of how to calm your nerves? Because it had to be nerve wracking. It was, but it was for him, it was about learning how to get the ball in the hole, how to score and how to score in less than perfect conditions and in this area, you don't play a lot of perfect conditions as the falls are in deeper. Um it was really just about learning how to hit shots and how to use your assets in the best way. So golf course management became a big deal for me and knowing that there were certain parts for it, I probably couldn't get to, or I, as I, as I got stronger through high school was able to get to, but a lot of the guys, frankly, we're, we're so trying to be so perfect to beat me that it probably worked to my benefit. Right? Yeah, I could see them like obviously missing a shot or doing something and, and you're nice and calm and they're like, what is going on? I could, you know, you can see that happening, but uh, you know, and then like you said, you went to the state championship, your senior, so you're, you do all these great things. And what is the first contact you have from a college that that wants to recruit you to come and play golf for them? Wow. A lot of it was by letters. Remember that? Like there was no, there was no internet, like you had to do everything VHS tape or letters. I mean it was, it was nuts. You were clipped, you're literally clipping and then I don't even know if it was photocopying I was taking it somewhere over at school and trying to get them to make copies of it. You're putting a little together little packets and literally mailing them off to schools and I, I sent stuff to schools, like a Tulsa penn state. I really wanted to go south and Mason Dixon line. I know I sent a package to south florida, but the one letter that got through was a letter that I sent to Clemson and of all places Clemson, because you went to the, went to the guidance counselor's office and you put in what you were really interested in studying and some sort of geographic area. So the south of the Mason Dixon line and I wanted to study communications. So out popped Clemson, Oh, and golf, but it couldn't take, couldn't take men's or women's golf. So it pops out those, those three little filters for all purposes for today's language and Clemson pops up. Oh, that's in south Carolina, that's probably pretty warm. I'm going to send a letter there unbeknownst to me, they still until about six years ago didn't have a women's golf team. Are you kidding me? That would not, I wouldn't even have thought that I know they had their own phenomenal facility on golf course and they just have recently entered the realm of women's golf. But it so turns out that the men's coach at Clemson at the time was a former, was a former furman paladins. And one of the coaches teaching at the summer camp was...

Willie Miller who was the head coach at foreman and that is ultimately how I ended up there. I did make a recruiting trip to TCU too far from home. I didn't think the studies were hard enough honestly and they didn't have their own golf course. So without a car in Fort Worth texas, however many miles from home, 1700 miles or whatever I'm going to be fighting to find my way to the golf course where information was on campus, I could ride my bicycle to to school, I could walk around the lake at the campus and tee it up on the 16th hole. So it was, it was a little smaller, more like the size of my graduating class here at Saratoga High. And it was, it was a really good fit for me, but total happenstance that that coach bobby sent along that letter to, to Willie Miller and I ended up at furman. Well, I, I talked to a lot of professional athletes and people that are older on the show and like us and and they all kind of had that story about, there was no internet, there was no way to send out my film, you know, and it was a letter that they got from, from a school in one way or another and it was like six degrees of separation because this guy told them and they got back to me and uh I went to Tulsa. So, you know, you mentioned that and I know we had a good golf program at Tulsa with, with Dale McNamara and a lot of other people that were there and and uh I played golf against the team, you know, a couple of the girls one time and I was kind of like those guys that you played against in high school and like, yeah, I wouldn't be doing this anymore. They just wore me out. Those those girls were good, they were amazing. But yeah, I went 1000 miles away from home that I grew up in Pittsburgh and that is a long trip and there were times that I said, you know, why did I not pick a school that was close to home? You know? Or even closer even for you? That probably was not so bad. Did your parents come see you quite a bit very rarely. My grandparents used to come through every year on their way back from the international ski show because they owned a ski show. Ski shop in Saratoga Springs is still in the family, but they make trip the trip they drive every year go through, they'd ski on the way out west and then come back through at the time we were having our spring tournament. So I would see them in the spring, but my parents never showed up to watch a golf tournament because they were both still working until my my sophomore year at, at the N C double A championship and they still watched me play very little golf. They only saw me win one professional tournament. They were still working. I was I was at hoops, we're having a baby. So they were still working for a lot of my playing career. Yeah they had that kind of sense, you know, I could see them, my parents were like that too right that they want to work like oh I got a game saturday and we're gonna play something so well I got to work that day, you know or or you know, I can't miss work that was just ingrained in their head. My dad was one of 15 kids so I know that sense of depression era families and and you know like all his brothers everybody and like all his brothers were in every you know, they were all went to the military, they all did those types of things and and I understand that sense that they can't get there But you know, it's funny my dad once I started playing as my senior year in like 94, 93, 94, he was kinda almost done with his working career and he would make it to some more things. Um and it was it was good to see them but I understand what you're saying. It's hard. How did you feel when they weren't you know, when they couldn't make it um you know, we we didn't have, there was only one of our teammates that really had family around a lot because she grew up in the Carolinas so to me it wasn't that odd, but now, you know, these these families and I don't know how they do it, but they are chasing their kids all over college schedules. They don't miss, they don't miss a tournament, they don't miss a sex, you know, council champion, nothing, they miss nothing. And I just...

I thought it was actually pretty normal. So I guess I didn't really think too much about it. I know a couple of times I couldn't get home for thanksgiving and that that wasn't great just because the money wasn't there and we are the one we were at furman finals were right on the heels of thanksgiving. So that was pretty hard if we missed a lot of school and we're getting ready for that, but I didn't think it was that weird. Yeah. You know, you think because your parents were just just how it was right now, it's just like, you know, what do they call it, helicopter parents are everywhere, right? You know, helicopter parents, Lawnmower parents, you name it, they're all over there all over. So you're at furman, you have an incredible career there, what is it like? Because, you know, in the NFL there's the draft and we know all that, we don't see that transition for you from college to the majors to the pros, all that like that you went through, What is, what was that like for you that was trying to decide if I had enough money to get through the season after the N. C. Double A. Championship ended which we lost by a shot on graduation day. That that was a tough one. Yeah I'm sure you have some dreams about that one. Oh yeah but I did make the putt but we thought there was there was no life scoring either. So we tied san Jose State for the championship and we're going to a playoff and ends up with lose by one. So again then versus now but it was really about trying to figure out if I had enough money to get through turning professional because all you had to do was verbally say I'm playing professionally, you give up your amateur status and start entering professional tournaments and playing for money but I gave up an exemption to the U. S. Open so I had to re qualify for that and then you need to have enough money in the bank to put the entry fee into the L. P. G. A. To try to go to the pre qualifiers and ultimately to the final qualifying school. Well if you don't have any money right? And then you have to put it in for the entry fee but then it's not like the tournaments are in the same place every time you also have to pay to travel right? That's right. So sponsorship became a big thing what my grandmother on my dad's side who put a golf club in my hand for the first time did it was for all of her grandchildren, she put a little seed money away for college and because I had gotten a full scholarship, I had $30,000 been touched. That's nice. That was my seed money to get started. What would that equal? How many turkeys? That was a lot of, but that was a lot of turkey. That's great thought about that. Yeah, everyone, thanks for listening again, I appreciate you coming and joining us on how to up with Gus check us out on how to up with Gus dot com. We're listening to Dottie Pepper. She has some amazing stories and we're going through life and all of her transitions on how she got to where she is today. That's what we love to do on this show. So, Dottie, we were just talking about your entrance into the L P G A. And you know, it has to be very satisfying when you, when you have to struggle, like you said, you had a little nest egg and you were lucky to have that, but you still have to struggle to get to the next tournament and the next tournament. And that has to be very satisfying when you finally get that, that major win. It is because you're essentially my dad and I had a discussion about this really early on and he's like, you are on your own ceo you're on CFO your own pr department. um your your own bank and you're also your own travel agent, so you really sort of, but you own it, I mean, it's it's your all in, it's all you and I think that's what golf kind of mirrors best is because there's nobody else to hitting that shot. You might as well just take ownership ownership of it from top to bottom and but but to have it culminate in a major championship as the way it did it in 92 in a playoff over a player who would become a World Golf Hall of Fame member. Um and in a in a tournament to you go...

...back to not having a whole lot of money growing through the whole process of college and into even in the professional golf, I was given an exemption into the Dinah Shore As an amateur after being low amateur in the 84 women's open. And I had to decline because I just didn't have the money to get to California. I was in the middle of of our golf season at furman, but I had to decline it. So for you to come back as a professional win that twice set the all time major major scoring record at that time in that tournament. It it meant way more than it would just seem like on paper. Oh yeah, I could imagine. And how fast did you have to grow up? Like once you left college, you know, there's a certain, like, we all have that certain protection of college because you have coaches and you know what I mean? There's a little and then all of a sudden you go out into the real world and it's you're on your own, well your own first canceled flight, lost golf clubs, a hotel reservation, that's not there when you get there after midnight and you know, and it's not like you had maps on your phone either to try to figure out where you're going. So you grew up in a hurry, but again, I think you you learn yourself, you learn how you respond to pressure and you take ownership of it. So we I mean it sounds like you grew up really fast, but did you have somebody that you could call, you know, because we didn't have cell phones and you had to dial the phone, but when you had went through those things, those are emotional parts, like you have this physical talent, they say that you were, you know, given and then you, you seemed like to have the mental down, but there's a lot of emotion that goes in all of this, right? You're you're by yourself, I gotta figure this out. Did you have somebody like, did you call your dad Mr pulver, someone who did you who was that person for you that you called to get you through those times. Mr pulver past better than halfway through my college career, so I didn't I didn't have that outlet, I did have his his two daughters and son all that I stayed in very close contact with because they were in the education space and both. Well what his daughter Madeline was in in the media space and set me up with private housing and a lot of situations, but as my 1st 2nd and 3rd years people she knew in the areas where we were playing golf tournament, so it was it was a friendly, safe place to kind of land, but it was my dad, I mean, as a professional athlete who didn't even, he he made the majors, but he didn't pave the way, and maybe, you know, it came up a little short of certainly where he wanted to have, but there was a wealth of experience to always pull on, and we had some pretty frank conversations and you know, sometimes it was the weepy daughter, but a lot of times it was, come on, you can do this, and I know you can do it, and yeah, you're right, I can do this. Yeah. Did he have a saying or anything that he always told you that, that, like, you know how, like, dad's always have this one thing they always tell you, and it's just kind of how they end things every time he caddied for me, we get to the last hole and he goes, you know what time it is? I said, yeah, dad, it's showtime strong, You always finish strong. Yeah, I love that, I love that. So now, okay, you're in the, you're in a professional, how does that work to get a caddy? Like did you have caddies back then when you started? I did my sister caddy for me believe it or not a lot. She was 4.5 years younger than I. I was went to me to the qualifying school, went through the first, the summer that I played my first bit of professional off, I think that my sister a lot and I had some some friends and I did have a couple of caddies that were regulars on tour, but it didn't keep one steady the entire time until Um probably the early part of the 90s, but my sister, it was fantastic because I could still put my sister up against any of the best caddies on any tour. She could read greens like crazy and she knew me, which was the most important part. Did you ever guys I mean? It's family, right, brothers and sisters? Like, was there ever a time on the course where it's like, man, why did I bring her?...

You know what I mean? But did you or did you always kind of get along when it was golf there? There were times that she'd get in my girl, But I remember one specific and this was fantastic because I went to the Q School in 87 with it, this is the worst word you can possibly use in golf and with the case of the shanks and every once in awhile one would just pop out and one did in the middle of the final round of 87 Qualifying School, 12th hole, I'll never forget it. We're at Sweetwater in texas and six iron lands in the middle of the biggest lake on the golf course and I'm right on the edge of, am I gonna get a card? You know, I'm not really didn't spend a whole lot of time super studying the board all, all week long, I didn't anyway, she on the other hand had and by the time I made bogey I got it up and in from 100 and 50 yards by The time we got to the 18th hole, she pretty much knew I was right on the number or moving quickly in the right direction because I was 300 par on the day and at the last day of a Q school, if you get it under par, you are going by the world. Yeah, three under par and it was a long hard dogleg to the left and standing on the tee and the three wood comes out of the out of the bag and literally she said evergreen straight through the middle of the fairway shit, okay, nailed it and I still had five wood left and we took the conservative play off the tee and the flag was caught in middle right and she said, here's five would, it's like 200 to the whole, she said, if it's anywhere right to that flag, you're carrying the bag yourself about this. So this is 1987 I've just turned 22 my sister, 17.5 years old and just stepped up to the plate, wow, wow. She had, she had, you know, I think that was your dad speaking through her. I'm surprised she didn't say it's showtime. Yeah, that's awesome. So you go through and one question I wanted to ask you because golf is very individual sport, but then you playing the Solheim Cup and it's very, it becomes a team sport, right? It's like you're back in college, is that what it what it felt like like because college is very, it's individual, but you're playing for your school and then you get to the pros, you're playing for yourself. But then you go to the Solheim Cup, which is like, I'm sorry, I lost the, what is in the yeah, the Ryder Cup and now you're on a team. What is that transition like for you? So there was, there was an event that's going to happen this summer that happened in the summer of 86 and it's the Curtis Cup. So it's the men's version of the Walker Cup, which is the amateur version of the Solheim Cup and the Ryder Cup and I was chosen for the american side and we got our butts kicked. There were, we were all rookies on the team. Nobody, I don't think anybody. I'm actually going this weekend to talk to the mhm possible teammate team for the United States Curtis Cup team. And my message to them was exactly what we didn't do in 86. I don't think we had a real heartfelt understanding of what the Kurds cup was, how important it was the legacy that was in front of us. And when we got beat so badly at Prairie Dunes in 86. It was august of 86. I vowed to never, ever take a competition like that to really understand what you're representing and why you're there And that that really set my, my tone for my Solheim Cup career, which I'm, I'm so proud of. And man, did it stink every time we lost and there weren't many. But but those really That, that week at the Curtis Cup in 86, set the tone for everything I did in the Curtis in the Solheim Cup after. Yeah. So what's, what are the bonds that you form with the other players when you go through something like that, they are so deep. It's almost like if you're playing foursome's alternate shot with somebody, it's like you don't even have to have that conversation once you've played practice rounds and...

...figuring out who's going to play the odds and who's going to play the evens, it's, it's like you're sharing a heartbeat, you just, you're finishing each other's sentences and it becomes actually attention release because because you, you know, that player so well, Yeah, well that's the trust factor that comes into sports, especially team sports right in the NFL when you're playing, you got 10 guys out there and if you can't trust them, you know, it's gonna be a long day of looking up at the clouds, right? And that's not the way to go. And how many times did you ever say that I'm sorry to a teammate? No, I didn't mean to screw it up and get back in the trenches and go get it done. And I think that was the key to, to a lot of great Solheim Cup teams. Nobody meant to screw it up. Just go, go figure it out, go get back. I've missed some throws in my time and said, oh, that's my bad. But you know the president, I'm sorry. Oh yeah, yeah, yeah. I know you don't want to say that. Well, I kind of wanted some linemen to say that to me when I'd be laying on the ground, it would be like a thing, a clump of dirt in your helmet. Like you're not going to say you're sorry for missing that guy and or you know, not blocking the right guy. But now that never happened now that, that, that's kind of how it goes. It's very serious, and and you you want to be there for each other. Um Hey, everyone we're on how to up with gus and I appreciate you listening to us. We have an incredible guest today, uh Dottie Pepper, Dottie. I want to get into a little bit now, like, you're you're, kind of, you've gone through this incredible career, and I was reading that you had a little injury that, kind of, Uh ended your career, like, made you like, because I had the same thing, right? I wanted to go through that with you, and and the emotions you went through when it's it's kind of over, right? Like, I was 38 when it was over. I know you I played 15 years ago, I think it was 17 years you played, right? And so tell me a little bit about like, that you get an injury and it's over. And how do you know, it's time, You know, mine were neck and back injuries, still mostly arthritis in my neck, but just worn worn out, low back. And then part of why I guess you have to have something to fall back on. It was one of my dad's things again, and mr, Polgar to have an education to fall back on, in case it doesn't turn out just perfectly, but I knew it was it was time to look for whatever that plan B when I was spending more more time Petey and rehab that I was actually trying to improve And it was the law of diminishing returns and I was too, after I had my first major shoulder surgery in 2002, then I realized that there was a lot more to life. There was a balance. There was other things that I was really genuinely interested in Other than just hitting golf balls 24/7 and figuring out a way to beat the best players in the world when I knew my body was starting to break down. Yeah, it's never easy for athletes when like, I had the same thing. My last year was 38 I broke my back playing against the lions, I want to play, you come back and you get healthy and then the season's over. My last play in the NFL was an interception. You know, it's like, because it was, it was a ball that was batted up in the air. And then, um, I tackled the guy and I was like, okay, is this how I'm going to go out? So I'm like, okay, I'm gonna try again. But then it's like, I'm go, I got failed my next physical and I'm like, okay, it's just, it's just time and you kind of have an understanding because I used to ask people how do you know when it's time to, to call hang it up. I think I knew to have gone to the, it had a, I had some diagnostic work done in Rochester new york, I really kind of, I mean like barely could walk back out of up into my neck and I ended up getting some weird diagnosis that and ended up, I ended up going to the mayo clinic because I had a connection with the doctor there and I was getting a spinal tap, so I'm laying in the fetal position, getting a spinal tap and I'm thinking to myself, is this really how this is gonna end? Kind of like, like...

...you said, but unfortunately I kind of woke up later that week after giving up a spot, I'd be given an exemption in the women's open. I was, I was going there, a friend of mine who work for NBC knew I was going to go um give it a, give it a whirl and I decided to withdraw and he I said to the producer, you know, she might be all right at this television thing, she's pretty organized and she's got an opinion, so maybe you ought to give it a try. And I I woke up thursday morning of that championship and I knew that was the day I can tell 6 11 in the morning and I knew that was the day that it was time to start looking forward. Yeah, and in that next, was it scary because it was scary for me, like when it was over, it's like, you can't, like for me I couldn't I can't go play football again, like I did right, like I know you probably still swing the club a little bit and you can go out and golf, but for me it was like, bam that was it. Like I know I was coaching my kids in youth football and so that that was awesome that you had that transition into something else. Was it quick for you to move on to broadcasting or to talk? You know, I'm not sure that transition for you what part you did, but was it quick for you? And it did take a little time? It was both, it was it was quick because I did do alright when with that first chance, the first big network chance, but I would say it wasn't I wouldn't say it was on the fast track. I mean, I did go to a lot of cable golf for Golf channel, whether it's a studio, um doing some writing for s I I did live golf, a studio that was on site studio in Orlando. I did I did a lot of it and I wouldn't say it was easy, but I had an opportunity to get a lot of reps. What I really wanted to do was ultimately this is crazy. I was I was looking at designing and I still don't think it exists, the best rain suit possible that we're getting better at it. I always just thought it was, you know, I love to play in bad weather, but I never had never, like, there was always something not quite right about a rain suit. So that's, that was kind of in the back of my mind, I'm going to design a great rain suit, I'm gonna find partners, I'm gonna put this thing into production, making a United States based company and well then television kind of got in the way and it got in the way in in sort of a big way. So it never, so there's, there's the rain suit that I still wear, I still have gripes about, you still have a chance to be on shark tank. I do. Right, good point. We're gonna see you on shark tank selling this like incredible rain suit to Mark Cuban rain suit, right? I love it. I love it. You know, and so then you've gone through, like you said, you had, you know what I was seeing when I was looking at your career in broadcasting, that you've gone through the Golf channel NBC Cbs, you, you've jumped around to different places, but I mean because you're so knowledgeable, everybody wants you and like they said, they don't call you hot pepper for nothing. You got an opinion. I was, you know, I came along early in the Golf channel world, So that was, and they had a lot of LPGA golf, so that fit well, but Tommy Roy at NBC really spent a lot of time developing me as, as a broadcaster and doing broadcasting. I also got to in 2009 um up to a point where it was, it was getting out of hand there, there was so much golf that that NBC had between the L P G A, U S D A and the P G A tour that I was basically coming home to a sick, broken down puppy. I had no had no life. So I was constantly at one at one point in this, let's see what is this? It was the fall of 2007, I did 13 straight weeks and those weren't just Saturday, Sundays like I typically do now for CBS, you were on site meeting on Wednesday and all the way through all 72 holes you're covering. I mean, I...

...think that's all over the world, right? There was interest in the U. S. I mean everywhere all over the world that was going to do the President's Cup in Australia, a Solheim Cup in, in Dublin, we were all over the place and I was, I was starting to hear myself in my head, it was just, I was just too much and fortunately I was able to buy the time, 2012 um came I I left completely and I took, took my time away um I served on the PGS board, which was fantastic because I learned golf from the, from the boardroom side from the back side of it and the tournament professionals, but about club professionals and everything else that, that is about the full game of golf. And then ESPN called about six months after I had left and I was like, yeah, I can do just a little bit of golf and still be on the board and still have a, have a somewhat normal life. So it's been the only, the only people I didn't work for with Fox. I've covered everything else in the alphabet. Yeah. You've been every, every channel, everything, you know, everybody over the last 20 years have seen dotty on some type of channel. Right. So when did the walking broadcast come in for you? What year was that? It was every 2005 when tom put me put me on the ground with thursday Fridays at usa who was the cable partner then. And by the time june rolled around that year, I was doing it most weeks for, for NBC, I was on the ground with roger Maltbie and Mark Rolfing. We were the three soldiers that were, that were out there reporting. And I've been on the ground pretty much ever since. Now, do you get as much walking as if you were playing or is it more or less because you kind of got to go to where you never know where the action is going to be. Right. So you, you start out with a group. Um, and when I was just getting into into into this, you, you kind of run with the rabbit, whoever had had gotten off to a hot start and you throw them out there and then fall back to another group. But now I think It's less than you're going to walk if you're going to go from the first tee to the 18th green typically, although a lot of times I'm zigzagging because you know, if there's a wal mart between two shots, I've gotta, I've gotta look at both of those lives and figure out what the, what the shot line is to be able to describe. So I don't lack for steps. Let's put it that way. Yeah, you don't like for steps. So one of my favorite shots of watching you walk the course was when you were standing at a T and Bill Murray's teeing off, but he comes over to you and tries to make you crowd surf. Was that planned at all? Or did he just kind of do that completely out of the blue? That was my first A T and T with cbs I think gus that was weak. It was, it was week number two for me on the entire team and the funniest line of the entire thing was our director steve Milton apparently said in the truck. Oh, this could end badly. I was waiting for like to fall or like the one guy, I don't know who that guy was. He kept saying, I got you, I got you don't worry about it. So they set up this couch behind the 15th green there six, I'm sorry, 14th green at pebble. And they're there every year. Every year. Every non covid year and it's just they're packed in there and they're having their cocktails and they're having a ball and it's typically they're really heavy hitting it on saturday, which is um celebrity Day. And all of a sudden Bill Murray, who I know I've done a program with Bill Murray, it's all fine. All of a sudden I all I know is that my feet are up here and my head is over and I got no, and I have this pack on and the microphone and I'm trying to hang on the microphone and I don't know if it's hot or not because I can't hear in my ears anymore, So loud, it was wild. Yeah, I looked at him like, oh that that doesn't look like scripted or it just looks like for some reason Bill Murray's brain went that way and said,...

...okay, I'm gonna I'm gonna mess with Dottie here, everyone welcome and thank you for listening to huddle up with gus incredible show today. Check us started huddle up with gusts dot com if you get a chance and and listen to other great episodes like this, so Dottie, um let's get on more of your personal side, obviously you wrote an incredible book, you wanted to take all the mentorship that you had put it in the book so that other people can see it learn from it. And what was the first time you thought about doing this? Well, my husband looked at my three ring binder with all of Mr Culver's letters probably close to 12 years ago and him being a writer historian, he said, you know, you have the bones of a good book here, and I said you're a you're biased, B I don't have any time to do that. And so that that's where it's at. My three ring binders stayed in my office and I consulted in when I, you know, kind of get a little, you know, going down memory lane, I'd open it up and one of his kids would send me an email and reference the letter. It was it was pretty special. But then Covid hit And I was in March of 2020, I was bound and determined I was gonna do a couple of things and that was lose some weight. I was kind of work on my immune system because of this virus we're dealing with time to write that book. It was time to do something positive with what had been sitting with me really since the beginning of 1980 that the bones of those letters and it was, it was a pretty emotional project because I think partly because as a society, we were just so many questions that were unanswered and everybody was really pretty fragile to begin with. But to find the things among the items that were left to me after Mr pulver died. And really to have this relationship come full circle and realized how much it meant to him was was really emotional. And it made me really pour myself even more so into the book than I probably had planned on. Well, you seem to have a huge connection to home, right? Because you live now, you're back in Saratoga Springs where you grew up, it's where your family is from, and you still live there instead of like I was thinking like, okay, she's going to live in florida or you know, phoenix or somewhere, but you pick home because you have such a connection was like all of that family mr paul, for all that, a huge reason why why you kind of chose Saratoga Springs. It really was a sense of place for me. I had been in florida. Look, let's not, let's not beat around the bushes. I got out of here in the late 80s because of the taxation situation and I was a professional athlete. I'm gonna play a whole lot of golf, effectively living up here during the winter. So there were a few things, but I spent Essentially 20 years living behind in a in a gated community. And I missed the four seasons, I missed having normal contact with people on a regular basis, being able to walk my dog in a, in a town in the city to know the postmaster, that sort of thing I missed. And I was so glad That that I moved back. So I came back home pretty much new year's day of 2009. So I've been back for a while. Yeah, that's awesome. Well, I read that you're an avid Gardner, you know, it's one thing you like to do when you go on trips is to see other, you know, I, I like we have the Phipps conservatory here in Pittsburgh and you go in there and you're like, I could never do any of this. Like they got like 400 people working on this, like everything is perfect. My plants by time July hits there like wilted and falling over, you know, and, and so, and also I read that you're, you're a huge dog lover. I'm a huge dog lover, but that the gardens are my outlet. And most of the time that I played on tour, I had at least one dog traveling with me. So that was my, my normalcy. We knew, I think we're just about every park was on tour and I had either my, my, my black chow chow furman where I went to school or my, my little shiatsu bichon mix JP who and she was a road warrior two from like...

...probably three weeks after I got her. So that was my outlet, That was my normal, um, that's probably where I learned how to cook because I didn't want to leave them home after being on the, you know, in a hotel room and a residence in or something like that all day long. They were, they were my sanity. So I wasn't so tuned into just golf and that's continued. Here. We now have Had dogs, I have three, we have, we have, We lost three during COVID and then we were rescued too. And, and we got a little pocket pitbull, she's like the cutest little thing ever. But yeah, we have my daughter's a vet. So it's like, we've had dogs forever. And uh, you know, it's just something and you were talking about one time, I saw an article that you said like in England, like it's normal for dogs to be on the course. That would be incredible. It would be if we could come up with some, I don't know, I think they're just, there needs to be some sort of, um, I don't know, something kind of guidelines, I guess that, you know, and how, what's the, what's the expectation is that, you know, they're not in bunkers and not on the greens, they're not stealing golf balls, but they, there's wonderful space and I do believe after being in in the UK for so many times and seeing this happen live. It makes golf better. It makes people more social. It's just and it's great exercise for everybody. Yeah. You know, I would say like you're nervous about a shot or whatever and then all of a sudden, like there's a dog, they're like, my wife's working on his therapy with dogs and people because she's a therapist and it would just, you know, it just takes that everything away because they don't care. They're not judging you, they're not doing anything. Think about the old course at ST andrews on Sundays when there's not a championship there. It's golf, it's a golf course that becomes a park and there's dogs everywhere and picnic baskets and it's, it's an organized free for all. And I just, it's so normal to see a bowl for dog water on a golf course over there and that's all there. Just, you know, they're they're they're they're well behaved, but they add to the culture we live close to Oakland Country Club. I don't think we're ever going to see that there. You know what it reminds, you know what it reminds me of? Like the country clubs here and like, it's like, so like what you were describing, why you left florida, you know what I mean? Like it's all gated and it's behind and it's like, and all of a sudden you go home to this different thing. That's what, that's what it sounds like to me between the U. S. And England with dogs and that whole idea of it all right. Which they're part of their, part of the game, part of the culture. Yeah. Yeah. No that that that is awesome. And then um the last couple of things I wanted to say is I read that you were a history buff. Is that because of your husband or is that is that just something that you always loved? It was my favorite subject in school and I'm a World War two history buff because of my mom's dad serving in the pacific theater and my my Godmother's dad um serving in the atlantic theater and I just in the european theater, I'm an absolute World War two buff and I've I'm I'm an avid reader about that sort of thing, Made a couple of trips to Normandy. Um and I am just in such a happy place when I'm over there just chasing history and learning more and more about it. Not just over there on the coastline, but I've also gone to the southern part of England and and learned how, you know, some of the launch beaches and the areas that were so impacted by by the blitzkrieg and going walking through London and just imagining what was happening there. It's insane. 41, is just blows you away really well. My my wife's grandfather russell. My daughter was like, I think she was like 10 years old. She...

...interviewed all the grandparents because we got it. She wanted to do it on tape for a school project, which is awesome that we have that now. And she asked him about his deployment and everything that had, he was in the navy, he was in Pearl Harbor, which was, you know, and he got choked up. It was hard for him to talk about it. And uh, it was, it was pretty interesting. You know what he went through. I mean he's seen a lot in that time. He was in Pearl Harbor. That happened pretty quick. But you know, it was, it was intense. And so what would be, what would be your favorite movie? There's so many movies about World War Two? But which one do you feel like is the one that says when you, because you've studied it that this is close. I'm a big fan of the longest day. I really, yeah, I am. And I know part of this old john wayne and, and, and there's, you know, you can go through basically, um, the Hollywood boardwalk and see all of these great, great um, actors that have come through there. But to me that, that really did, it got, it got gritty and, and the things that they talked about that were happening, the boys on, on those boats waiting and day after day before before they finally did launch. Um, and when you, I mean it's, it's a movie, it's, it's Hollywood, but when you imagine that that and then you go to the place, it really, it smacks you upside the head, you're so, you understand why so, so many of them didn't want to talk about it a lot because it was so ugly and there was such bloodshed and going to the american cemetery. Uh, it just, it's the most beautiful place, but the status place on on earth, I think. Yeah, I can't imagine. Well you have an amazing life, amazing career, You've gone through so many transitions in your life and uh it's it's just really a pleasure to talk with you and, and have you share some of your stories and I can't wait to watch you this whole golf season coming up and, and now that I get to finally meet you, it's gonna be even better to watch you out on the course. Well, thank you so much for having me and I'm I'm thrilled to be able to ship these are some of these stories and questions that people don't normally ask. You normally get the, you know, start of your game and on and on. But yeah, this was this was really in depth and I appreciate it. Well, I like to do it a little differently than everybody else because it seems like, you know, as athletes, we get the same thing, It's our career, it's our career, it's our career and we're also much more than that. And so tell all of our fans how they can find you, uh, you know, if they want to follow you or what you're doing and you know where they're going to watch you this year? Yeah. So I'll be on every every CBS Sports golf event we have. I'm I'm there, I'll do a couple of LPGA events that will have final rounds on CBS as well. Um I'm on instagram as Dottie underscore Pepper. Um Dottie Pepper is a is a pages, my athletes page on facebook and also on twitter as well. It's Dottie underscore Pepper and my uh website is Dottie Pepper dot net. And last thing does any golfer call you Hot pepper? No, I thought that name would stick. That's like the perfect, you know, like everybody at CBS, I'm pretty much I'm either daddy P or I'm DP. I love it. Everybody has nicknames, and they just keep growing all the time. Yeah. So, hey, it was great meeting you. Thank you so much for joining us on how to work with us. I really enjoyed it. Thank you. All right, everyone. That's another episode of huddle up with Gus. Thanks for joining us today and I hope you enjoyed this episode with Dottie Pepper. Um go check her out. Like she said, you're gonna be able to see her on all CBS golf events this year. So, um go to huddle up with Gus dot com if you want to listen to more episodes like this and join us next week. Alright, thanks everyone and have a good week. All right, thanks Dottie, appreciate it. That time flu. That was awesome. Yeah, no, thanks for being patient with me and hopefully everything was up to your...

...it was up to par with you. Look at that, that's right now. And I hope your new format works out well. It seems like you guys. Yeah, the timing was good. Yeah, No, you know, we're trying it, we've gone through everything from, like, facebook started a new little super events where fans come on. We tried that didn't work out so great. But you know, I just like doing it from the standpoint of interviewing great people like you. And it's, you know, and it's funny how, like, as professionals, we all go through these incredible things and everything reaches back to like our parents and sports or somebody that you have when you're a kid. Yeah, there there's a there's a rock somewhere. Yeah, exactly. I love that saying. I love that saying. So, thank you again for joining us. Have a great night. I enjoyed it. And terry, thank you for forgetting all over this, you're welcome. And I'll send you a link if you always get it all over and, and terry's a big golfer too. So just say so, you know, right, you're handicapped. How about how about I wanted to ask you one last time I saw that you, you a lot of your broadcasting, you like, you love verne Lundquist, like, he's amazing. He was amazing. Yeah. He's been really a mentor for me from a broadcast standpoint. Um And I just he's such a kind soul and has so many great stories and just things you can learn from how he treats people. He's just amazing. Yeah, I love that. I saw that. I forgot to ask you about it, but I wanted to make sure that I said that's incredible. So that's a special you have an inspiring story and I want everybody to, you know, we're going to push your book out there and hopefully everybody can read it and get a little inspiration from it after this rough couple of years. Thank you. Thanks. All right, take care dani, if you think of it, send me your address and I'll drop you a hard copy of it. Okay. Thank you. Alright. Thank you very much. Have a great night. Thanks you too. Okay, bye. Bye. Bye bye. Ben, you guys there? Yeah, that was really, really interesting and it went really quick. Okay. Mhm. Mhm. Yeah, Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah. A lot of people do that. Mhm. I can send you something. What do you what do you mean? Like what do you want?...

Um nothing right now. But I mean, I did coach football back in the day. Oh yeah. Yeah. Let me see what bureau I have. I mean, I have a ton of emails and I have some in in in the drive and let me see what I well, I'll just I'll just share some stuff with you and I'll find I have some other things. Okay. I'll just send it you want me to just send it to? What is it? Um MfN operators? Okay. That was fine. I like it better of just kind of keep going and said that like, hey, we'll be right back. Okay. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. I'd like to take those segments instead of putting one hour on youtube, put like those individual segments which would be way better. Okay. No. Yeah. All right, that sounds good. So do you want to get back on at some point and do those small like intros Paltrow's in in between. Okay. Okay. Alright. Sounds good. Ah Mhm. Oh, for for putting out on monday? Uh Yeah, we can do this one and then warren for the for the following one. Okay. That'd be great. Because that now do you have are you are you do you still have our drive info or not? I don't know. I'll reconnect you to the drive info because you can just put it in that and that way we don't have to worry about and then I can put it on the sounder from there and let and then you don't have to worry about it being too big to email or whatever.

All right. And then so what you'll see is I'll make up dottie pepper file in the drive and then I'll just then you can just throw everything right in there, okay? Alright. Wonderful. All right. Thank you. Yeah. If anything comes up, just text me or call me Dennis, I have a question. Can you put at the bottom scrolling, you can also listen to us wherever you're streaming apps, because I don't think Gus mentioned Apple and Spotify and all that. So can we have that? Cool. Thank you so much. All right. Everyone have a great night. Bye bye.

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