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Lopez testing the waters on a TV career

6/29/2002

GALLOWAY TOWNSHIP, N.J. -- Nancy Lopez might not be leaving
the LPGA Tour after all.

Lopez is considering moving into the television broadcast booth
and doing golf analysis next year, when she plans a very limited
playing scheduled.

The Hall of Famer had a tryout of sorts with The Golf Channel on
Saturday during the second round of the ShopRite LPGA Classic.

''I hope I can do the job properly and give an insight to the
game, maybe about what a player is feeling and say some things that
are intelligent, of course,'' Lopez said.

Lopez plans to call the shots as she sees them, but she has no
intention of being as frank as commentator Johnny Miller, who has
angered some players with his no-holds-barred comments.

''I think Johnny is very honest about what he feels, but I think
because he is a man he really can say it a little better than me. I
don't feel comfortable doing that. I can be critical, but in a
different way.''

While she might not be another Miller, Lopez is taking a very
professional approach to broadcasting.

While many were sleeping Saturday, Lopez took a golf cart at
7 a.m. ET and drove around the back nine at the Bay Course at the
Marriott Seaview Resort.

At the greens, she got out of the cart and rolled some putts
just to get a read and test the speed of the greens.

Lopez also has watched more golf on television this year to pick
up some tips, and she has talked with some current commentators.
She also will do another LPGA event in August for The Golf Channel.

''I don't want to say things that are too obvious,'' Lopez said.
''It's funny because when I am watching golf I react to it. If I
see someone hit a shot, I'll say, 'Oh, God I can't believe she did
that,''' Lopez said.

''It's going to be hard for me not to react like that. You
shouldn't do that on national television. But I get into everything
a player does because I feel I know what they are thinking.''

The television booth won't be totally new for Lopez. She has
stopped in at some major events and stayed for some commentary.

She laughed about one event where she stopped in mid-sentence
because a director was yelling at someone and she heard it in her
ear set.

''I had never heard some of the words he was yelling,'' Lopez
said. ''Oh my gosh, I really messed up there.''

Lopez admits her speaking and vocabulary are ordinary.

''I don't use great big words because they confuse me,'' Lopez
said. ''I would probably use the wrong one at the wrong time, but I
hope I can bring something to television that people would enjoy
listening to.''

She has interesting thoughts about the popularity of women's
golf compared to the PGA Tour.

''If we had golf on television every weekend, I think we'd be as
popular as the men,'' Lopez said. ''I think the men are only
popular because they are on every weekend. If you get something
thrown in your face every weekend, you sure are going to get to
know everybody. You just do.''

The one topic Lopez has trouble talking about is this year.
Tears well in her eyes when she discusses it.

Her father, Domingo, died two months ago. Her game is
horrible. A 48-time winner on the LPGA tour, she has missed all
eight cuts. Her daughter, Ashley, is heading to Auburn and her
husband, Ray, has been away working as a bench coach for the
Cincinnati Reds.

''There are a lot of things missing in my life and I can't focus
as well because of it,'' Lopez said. ''I've had a great life in my
45 years and a great 25 years on the tour. But this has been a
tough year to deal with.''

Lopez is hoping watching the leaders this week will help
her next week when she plays in the U.S. Women's Open.

''This is kind of a break from the frustration I've had,'' she
said. ''It will be nice to see a lot of good shots on television.
That's a positive for me because I am going to sit there and say,
'I can do that too.'''