A group of women wearing the #HoodieForGolf is not an uncommon sight at an LPGA Tour event. But this group of five women aren’t just fans or players or supporters. You are a group of pioneers.
For the first time in US television history, GOLF Channel will be reporting on a tournament with an all-female announcement team. Cara Banks will lead the play-by-play call for coverage at the ShopRite LPGA Classic presented by Acer. Judy Rankin and Paige Mackenzie provide expert analysis at the booth and Karen Stupples and Kay Cockerill get on the ropes with the players.
“I feel like we have a nice little bond that will never be broken now because we have and this is a shared experience,” said Stupples. “I think this is a tremendous opportunity for all of us.”
Under the direction of longtime LPGA Tour producer Beth Hutter, the five speakers stand for countless years of knowledge and hard work, both on the ropes and at the booth. Rankin is a true trailblazer for any woman working in the sports broadcast industry after joining ABC Sports after retiring from active gaming in 1984. “She really made it possible for all of us to do what we do today,” said Cockerill of her colleague.
“I can’t tell you all of the great things that came up for me because ABC Sports gave me a chance. I’ve worked with so many really wonderful men who have propelled me forward, helped me, all of these things. I made myself comfortable when I wasn’t feeling well at all, ”said Rankin, a 26-time Tour winner. “When I look back and look back more and the future is probably not a long story in my career, to be honest, I’m really really happy that women who can do the job and are very capable of doing the job, be it women’s golf, men’s golf, All kinds of golf are now well received and even sought after. “
The concept of female voices in sports coverage is not new. Phyllis George broke that glass ceiling in 1974 when she joined CBS Sports. In 1981, longtime golf historian Rhonda Glenn became 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 become the only female NFL play-by-play Announcer stays. Female broadcast crews only made headlines in MLB and NFL recently, and Dottie Pepper is a regular part of men’s golf coverage at CBS Sports.
The women’s voices don’t go away. And the world of sports is better for them.
“We saw Jessica Mendoza in baseball, Hannah [Storm] and Andrea Kremer made soccer on Amazon. Kate Scott, a Bay Area woman, had just been called up for the Philadelphia 76ers and had worked her way up the ranks with Pac-12. Before that, she was on KMBR sports radio, ”said Cockerill, who recently came to New Jersey from the Ryder Cup alongside Banks and Mackenzie. “There is a female voice that is making its way into the world of men’s sports. It’s a novelty at first, I think, but as more women do it, hopefully it will become more of the norm. “
Ultimately, it was Rankin, who was the first to take the lead, who succinctly summed up the meaning of this celebration. “I think women will be a fixture in golf from now on, not just in women’s golf, but in golf.”