Class of 2018

Dottie Pepper

Residence: Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

Born in Gansevoort, New York just outside Saratoga Springs, Dottie Pepper was born into a family engulfed in athletics. Her father, Don, was a former major league baseball player (at one time playing first base for the Detroit Tigers) and her grandmother, a talented player on the local golf circuit.

Her beginnings in the game can be credited to her grandmother, who taught her how to play the game at the age of 8 and bought her the clubs as well as a junior membership for her to pursue her new passion. She competed in her first tournament at age 11, winning the junior division, but lost the overall title in sudden-death (coincidentally to the family member who first opened her eyes to the game).

Dottie began playing golf at Brookhaven Golf Club, and was also a member of McGregor Links Country Club, where she continued to learn and hone her game under veteran PGA professional George Pulver. He was her main coach through the early years and was in his late 70s by then, eventually passing about a decade later.

In 1980, Pepper competed in the NYS Girls’ Junior and finished runner-up to Jamie DeWeese of Rochester. The following year at the age of 15, she won both the N.Y.S. Girls’ Junior and N.Y.S. Women’s Amateur Championships, becoming the only woman in NYSGA history to accomplish that feat. When she won the Women’s Amateur title at Rome Country Club, she became the youngest champion in the history of the tournament.

She would not capture another Women’s Amateur before turning professional, but won her second Junior title two years later at McConnellsville Golf Club in 1983 (runner-up in 1980 and 1984).

Pepper committed to playing college golf at Furman University, where she was named All-American three times and earned five individual collegiate victories. In her sophomore and senior season for the Paladins, she was selected as the University’s Female Athlete of the Year. In 1987, she led the team to a runner-up finish at the NCAA Championships and was named the Furman University Athlete-of-the-year. 

Outside of her college play, she qualified for the 1984 U.S. Women’s Open at Salem Country Club in Peabody, Mass. and finished as the low amateur in the tournament.

Upon graduating with a degree in Physical Education from Furman, she joined the LPGA tour in 1987, where she went on to win 17 tour events. She captured two major championships, including the 1992 and 1999 ANA Inspiration (formerly the Nabisco Dinah Shore). In winning the 1999 major championship, she won with a record-setting 19-under par, the lowest score in relation to par at any LPGA Tour event. She was the tour leader in wins during the 1992 and 1996 seasons and was a member of six Solheim Cup teams.

Once her playing days were over due to injuries, Pepper transferred her focus to sports broadcasting and has been in the forefront of the golf media since the early 2000s. She began working as a golf commentator for NBC and the Golf Channel and in 2013, after a short break, she returned to commentating for ESPN, working major tournaments on the PGA, LPGA and Champions Tour. In 2015, she made history once again, becoming the first woman to call the venerable Master’s Tournament when she stepped in for David Feherty that year.  Currently, she works as an on-course reporter for CBS Sports and covers many of the major televised events.

Beyond broadcasting, Pepper is a past member of the PGA of America’s Board of Directors and has been working on various junior golf initiatives to help grow the game.

Pepper currently resides in Saratoga Springs with her husband, golf writer and historian David Normoyle. The two married in May 2010 and play golf together at Saratoga Golf and Polo Club.

Dottie Pepper’s Career Highlights

-       N.Y.S. Girls’ Junior Amateur Championship: Won 1981, 1983
-       N.Y.S. Women’s Amateur Championship: Won 1981
-       Junior World Cup Team Member: 1981
-       PGA National Junior Championship: 6th in 1981; 1982 Runner-up
-       1984 U.S. Women’s Open: Low Amateur
-       1985 Albany-Colonie Chamber Open: won as an amateur
-       NCAA Division 1 All-American: 3x 
-       ANA Inspiration Champion: Won 1992, 1999
-       LPGA Tour Player of the Year:1992
-       LPGA Tour Money Winner: 1992
-       LPGA Vare Trophy: Won 1992
-       GWAA Female Player of the Year: 1992
-       Best Female Golfer ESPY Award: 1993
-       Women’s PGA Championship: T5 (1992)
-       World Championship of Women’s Golf: Won 1993
-       U.S. Women’s Open: 3rd/T3 (1988, 1990, 2001)
-       du Maurier Classic: 4th (1993)
-       Rochester International (Wegmen’s LPGA): Won 1996
-       Women’s British Open: T24 (2003)
-       Solheim Cup Team Member: 1990, 1992, 1994, 1996, 1998, 2000
-       Solheim Cup Assistant Capitan (Team USA): 2013
-       Commentator for Golf Channel, NBC (2005-2012)
-       Commentator for ESPN (2013 – Present)
-       On-Course Reporter for CBS (2015 – Present)