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Dottie Pepper to retire at the end of the season

Dottie Pepper is retiring from the LPGA Tour because of ongoing injuries, ending a career best known for two major championship and the patriotism and passion she brought to the Solheim Cup.

Pepper, 38, was overcome by emotion as she tried to announce her retirement.

"When your body says 'no,' it doesn't matter how big your heart is," she said.

Pepper had to withdraw from the last two U.S. Women's Open because of injuries in her back and neck. The USGA gave her an exemption this year, but she had to withdraw Monday with a pinched nerve that caused numbness in her face.

"Injuries have made a game that was really fun a job," she said.

Pepper will work for ESPN and NBC Sports at the Women's Open this week, and is looking for more broadcast opportunities. She also is trying to start a charity event near Saratoga Springs, N.Y., where she grew up, and is looking into an apparel business where she now lives in South Florida.

She said she will fulfill contracts by playing six more LPGA Tour events this year.

Pepper's 17 career victories include two majors, in 1992 and 1999 at the Nabisco Dinah Shore. She also played on six Solheim Cup teams and was considered the heart of the American team, often painting her nails red, white and blue. Pepper infuriated the European players so much in 1998 that they put her picture on a punching doll and took turns.

Her best year was 1992, when she won four times, had the lowest scoring, led the money list and was LPGA Tour player of the year.

Pepper ends her career six points short of the Hall of Fame.

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