U.S. Solheim Cup captain Meg Mallon announced that she had appointed Laura Diaz, two-time LPGA winner and four-time Solheim participant, as one of her vice-captains for this summer’s 2013 biennial matches. Why is this significant?
Well, six years ago, Dottie Pepper, who was a commentator for Golf Channel’s coverage of the 2007 Solheim Cup, thought she was off-air and muttered, “Chokin’ freakin’ dogs,” referring to the U.S. team.
The comment was made just after Sherri Steinhauer and Diaz settled with a halve when Steinhauer missed a three-footer on the 18th hole.
As you can imagine, word got back to the American team members rather quickly and there was quite a fallout, with Diaz being a very vocal critic of Pepper’s slip. Before Mallon named Pepper as her top assistant last summer, Pepper, one of the Cup’s fieriest competitors, was on the unofficial blacklist, as a result of her gaffe (one that could happen to anyone).
Finally, it appears the hatchet has been buried and friendships have been mended. Via the AP report:
“I think in most friendships words are said that people don’t like,” Diaz said at the LPGA Founders Cup. “Sometimes it takes a little time to get over and sometimes it takes a longer time. … We both are very passionate about the Solheim Cup.
“As much as Dottie and I have shared, I’ve known Dottie since I was 10 years old, so there’s a lot more that goes into it than just she was a commentator. I would like to believe that she was playing that match with me and she was feeling what I was feeling and words came out that, you know, they were just words.”
Pepper reiterated that she thought she was off the air when she made the comment.
“I made one crucial mistake,” Pepper said. “It was breaking a broadcast rule that you’re never supposed to root and I did, and the switch wasn’t off when I did and I said something that I have said to myself numerous times and it happened to go out over the air. But I think the thing that is most important to remember about the Solheim Cup itself is that while it drives passion and that can sometimes scar a friendship, Solheim Cup is also way bigger to mend it again.”
Mallon thinks the fiery duo will make perfect assistants.
“If they’re OK with it, the rest of us are OK with it and I’m happy to see this,” Mallon said. “And I’m no dummy. These two love this event and they should be together enjoying this event together, so I’m happy about it.”
Mallon deserves some sort of prize or recognition for bringing peace to the whole situation, and I’m sure Dottie is grateful. Besides, it is silly to hang on to old misunderstandings and mistakes — it takes way too much energy, and you know, YOLO.