Twitter trolls won’t have Dottie Pepper to kick around anymore — at least for the near future.
The CBS Sports broadcaster erred in an interview during last week’s Zurich Classic, telling Scott Brown he had yet to win on the PGA Tour when he actually prevailed at the 2013 Puerto Rico Open, and then compounding the faux pas by noting his victory did not come in a “full-field, regular event.”
Not a great look for the two-time major champion, but hardly a crime against golf humanity — though you would be excused for believing she had committed such an atrocity if you followed some of Pepper’s critics on Twitter.
I'm ALL for more women in Golf broadcasting...but Dottie Pepper is absolutely terrible. No research...and dopey questions. #pgatour— Scott Gumbleton (@scottgumbleton) May 1, 2017
Pepper clarified her comments on the outlet (h/t @TronCarterNLU for preserving the screen shot) …
Be a pro, accept constructive criticism, get better from it— Tron Carter (@TronCarterNLU) May 1, 2017
Refusal to even acknowledge that the question was disrespectful speaks volumes. pic.twitter.com/WC9PNBE7lv
… and then deleted her Twitter account, telling SB Nation by email on Tuesday that she blamed “trolls” for driving her off the social media platform.
“Tired of the idiots,” wrote Pepper, who said she was responsible for discontinuing her Twitter presence for now but left the door open for a return sometime in the future.
“It is suspended by my own doing; can stay in that status for a year,” she said.
Pepper is not the first, and probably won’t be the last, member of the golf community to ditch Twitter. Two-time PGA Tour winner Pat Perez sounded a complaint similar to Pepper’s when he quit the platform earlier this year.
“I’m tired of the trolls and people not having the facts,” Perez, unhappy with how his social media comments were interpreted, told Golf Digest in February. “I’m worn out.”
And that was before all holy hell broke loose when he said on a radio show that Tiger Woods “knows he can’t beat anybody.”
Lee Westwood threatened to leave Twitter back in 2011 because of another group of “idiots.”
"It's social media, not social slagging,” Westwood told The Scotsman at the time. “It seems to have turned into that for some people.”
Golf Channel’s brash analyst, Brandel Chamblee, conceded he spent “too much time on this social media outlet,” but wrote in March on GolfChannel.com that “golf should ban Twitter, not because it is interfering with the practice of the game, but because it is interfering with the civility of it.
“Twitter may have originally been a burst of inconsequential information, but it has turned into 140 characters of kindling, burning civility to a fine crisp,” Chamblee said. “I can understand the discord involving politics, religion and war, but what is there to argue about in golf, I mean, besides the fact I am still paid to talk about it for a living?”
Good question. Seriously, this is golf, folks, not life or death, though some LPGA players may beg to differ.
For sure, professional women golfers face an entirely different level of peril on social media than their male counterparts. Morgan Pressel took a respite from the Twitter-verse after facing in court a creep who stalked and menaced her over Twitter. (He was committed to a mental health facility in 2014.)
Michelle Wie may have dodged a similar situation when an innocent tweet about a sunrise in Portland, Ore., provoked a misguided guy to take a bus from Iowa to the LPGA stop so he could ask the tour star to marry him, according to Golfweek.
Similar incidents have caused the LPGA to beef up protection, with security director Joe Funk telling Golfweek that he spent some 60 percent of his time helping players with social media concerns.
Former world No. 1 Stacy Lewis left Twitter in 2013 after she opined about golf fans in China and a fluke shot that helped Shanshan Feng defeat her in that year’s LPGA Classic in Beijing. After taking heat for offering her hot takes, Lewis expounded further on Twitter, fielded additional criticism, and then took a leave of absence from the medium.
Lewis returned to Twitter, as did Pressel, and perhaps one day so will Pepper.
“I'll re-evaluate at some point,” she told us, “but just tired of the toxic nature of most social media.”