(HOUSTON) — More than her 17 LPGA Tour wins, the pair of major triumphs at the Nabisco Dinah Shore, and a playing career that covered 17 seasons, Dottie Pepper was heralded for great passion for the game.
But it’s because that passion has carried on after retirement that she will be honored by the Golf Writers Association of America with the 2016 William D. Richardson Award. Given in recognition to an individual who has consistently made an outstanding contribution to golf, the award cites Pepper for her many roles.
Most recently, the native of Saratoga Springs, N.Y., was hired by CBS Sports as an on-course reporter and this coming April she’ll be the first woman to be part of CBS Sports Masters broadcast team. She worked the Masters studio team with ESPN last year and will do so again this year, in addition to her CBS Sports duties. Previously she had worked for NBC and The Golf Channel.
For the move into television she gives credit to LPGA Tour Hall of Famer and former Richardson Award winner Judy Rankin.
“At the end of my (playing) career I remember telling someone, ‘I want to have Judy Rankin’s job,’ “ Pepper said. “Judy is one of my heroes and I’m thrilled to be doing what I’m doing.”
She has been active with golf duties beyond television, however.
Pepper late last year ended a two-year stint on the PGA of America’s Board of Directors where her focus was on developing junior golf in America. There has also been a commitment to children’s books on bullying through a lovable golf ball character named “Bogey.”
“It’s a lot of fun, but a lot of stress,” said Pepper, who is co-author with Scott Fuller.
Pepper, at the end of her playing career, worked with another former Richardson Award winner Craig Harmon, who encouraged her to stay active in the game, even when she retired. “I’m not sure I would have stayed involved in the game if it hadn’t been for him,” she said. “He told me to stay inquisitive.”
The GWAA will also honor Davis Love III and J.B. Holmes along with Pepper and Players of the Year Jordan Spieth, Lydia Ko, Jeff Maggert at the 44th ISPS HANDA GWAA Annual Awards Dinner presented by The PGA of America, PGA TOUR and USGA Wednesday April 6 in Augusta, Ga.
Love was named winner of the ASAP Sports/Jim Murray Award, given to an professional who demonstrates cooperation and accommodation to the media.
Holmes, who has won four times in his 10-year career, will receive the Ben Hogan Award, in recognition of staying active in golf despite a physical handicap.
“I am deeply honored,” said Holmes, who underwent two surgeries in 2011 after being diagnosed with brain defects in his cerebellum. “It is a great feeling to be recognized for overcoming adversity by the men and women who cover our great game. I am also proud to be affiliated with the great Ben Hogan whose legacy is one that I admired.”
Love said he received more than guidance on his swing from his late father, golf professional Davis Love Jr. “He also told me that if you make friends with reporters, you’ll feel comfortable when you have to talk to them,” said Love.
Past recipients of the Richardson Award, named for The New York Times’ William D. Richardson who was instrumental in the founding of the GWAA in 1946, include Rankin, Doc Giffin, David Fay, Jack Burke, Jr., the Harmon Family, Furman Bisher, Maj. Dan Rooney, Pete Dye, Louise Suggs, Nancy Lopez, Sandy Tatum, Dan Jenkins, Judy Bell, Babe Zaharias, Jack Nicklaus, Ben Hogan, President Dwight Eisenhower, Patty Berg, Gene Sarazen, Arnold Palmer, Ben Crenshaw, Harvey Penick, Peggy Kirk Bell, Frank Hannigan and Lee Trevino.
Former Hogan award winners include Rankin, Tom Watson, Sophie Gustafson, Barbara Douglas, Jarrod Lyle, Ken Green, Erik Compton, Denis Watson, Hubert Green, Bruce Edwards, Scott Verplank, Jose-Maria Olazabal, Casey Martin, Paul Azinger, David Meador, Trevino and Ken Venturi.
Previous ASAP Sports/Jim Murray winners include Palmer, Nicklaus, Lopez, Brad Faxon, Steve Stricker, Padraig Harrington, Juli Inkster, Jim Furyk, Nick Price, Jay Haas and Laura Davies.