A group of women wearing the #HoodieForGolf is not uncommon at an LPGA Tour event. But this group of five women are not just fans or players or supporters. It is a group of pioneers.
For the first time in American television history, GOLF Channel will feature tournament coverage with an all-female team of announcers. Cara Banks will lead the cover play-by-play call at the ShopRite LPGA Classic presented by Acer, with Judy Rankin and Paige Mackenzie providing expert analysis in the booth and Karen Stupples and Kay Cockerill walking the ropes with the players .
“I feel like we have a nice little bond that will never be severed now because we have it, and it’s a shared experience,” Stupples said. “I think this is a great opportunity for all of us. “
Led by longtime LPGA Tour producer Beth Hutter, the five announcers represent countless years of knowledge and hard work, both on the ropes and on the stand. Rankin is one of the true trailblazers for any woman working in the sports broadcasting industry, having joined ABC Sports in 1984 upon her retirement from active gaming. “She really made it possible for all of us to do what we’re doing today,” Cockerill said of her colleague.
“I can’t tell you all the great things that happened to me because ABC Sports gave me a chance. I’ve worked with so many really wonderful men who pushed me, helped me, all of these things. It made me feel comfortable when I wasn’t at all, “said Rankin, 26-time Tour winner.” When I look back, and I look more back, and forward n probably not a long story now in my career, I am honestly very happy to see women who can do the job and are very capable of doing the job, be it women’s golf, men’s golf, any kind of golf, are now well accepted and even sought after.
The concept of female voices in sports coverage is nothing new. Phyllis George broke that glass ceiling in 1974 when she joined CBS Sports. In 1981, longtime golf historian Rhonda Glenn was the first woman to anchor ESPN’s SportsCenter, while Beth Mowins became the first woman in 30 years to call a National Football League game in 2017. and remains the sole NFL play-by-play announcer. . All-female broadcast teams have recently made headlines in the MLB and NFL, and Dottie Pepper is a regular part of CBS Sports’ men’s golf coverage.
Women’s voices do not disappear. And the world of sport is better for them.
“We saw Jessica Mendoza in baseball, Hannah [Storm] and Andrea Kremer did football through Amazon. A Bay Area woman was just called in to make the Philadelphia 76ers, Kate Scott, and she rose through the ranks doing Pac-12. Before that she was on KMBR Sports Radio, ”said Cockerill, who came to New Jersey to cover the Ryder Cup alongside Banks and Mackenzie. “There is a female voice making its way into the world of men’s sport. It’s new at first, I guess, but as more and more women do, I hope this will be more of the norm.
In the end, it was Rankin, the first to lead the charge, who succinctly summed up the purpose of this celebration. “I think women will be a staple in golf now, not just in women’s golf but in golf from now on.”