Cara Banks likes the variety of sports she’s been able to carry over to the United States since moving from her home base in England, but she says golf is her forte. This week it will be her way into history.
Banks, who has been with Golf Channel since 2014, will lead the first all-women broadcast team to run a golf tournament at ShopRite LPGA Classic on Seaview’s Bay Course in Galloway, New Jersey, starting Friday, leading announcer Paige Mackenzie and reporters Kay Cockerill and Karen Stupples.
“I think that will be a long time coming,” Banks said recently. “We have such great talents. Kay has been the lonely woman on many male shows. There is still no prominent female voice on NBC Sports Golf. So I’m pumped. Cant wait to grab it with both hands and try and hopefully do a good job.
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“I’ve been waiting for something like this, so I’m grateful that they asked me to. I think we’ll see how the week goes and hopefully we have more. But the fact that the company is headed in that direction is great and the fact that we can actually do something so unique that, amazingly, has never been done on American golf television is great. “
The show, which will be broadcast on the Golf Channel on Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., will be produced by Beth Hutter, who this year became the first woman to produce the US Women’s Open and the golf competition of the Olympic Games in Tokyo.
A broadcast team made up of all women was used for other sports. Philadelphia-born Andrea Kremer and Hannah Storm did an NFL broadcast on Amazon Prime in 2018. Kate Scott, who was named the 76ers’ new play-by-play voice last week, led an all-women team for the first time on March 8, 2020.
There is still no prominent female voice on NBC Sports Golf. So I’m pumped. Cant wait to grab it with both hands and try and hopefully do a good job.
Melanie Newman, who does play-by-play for the Baltimore Orioles, joined analyst Sarah Langs and reporter Alanna Rizzo on a YouTube game show last July. ESPN’s Newman and Jessica Mendoza are scheduled to work together on a baseball show Wednesday night.
Banks, 36, began her career in sports broadcasting as the host of “Golfing World” for Sky Sports in the UK. After several years in this role, she was hired by Golf Channel in 2014, where she was one of the presenters of “Morning Drive,” a daily news and lifestyle show, and “Live From…”, a discussion and interview, moderated from tournament sites demonstrate.
She has played a number of other sports with Golf Channel under the NBC Sports umbrella.
“The Golf Channel trip has been so good because of its relationship with NBC Sports and there are so many other opportunities at NBC,” she said. “So I did some of their skiing and some of their winter sports. When I started, I kept running back and forth for Wimbledon. I just did my first Olympics as a host on the NBCSN channel.
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“I think it’s always nice to be able to keep a variety of things going, but golf will always be my niche.”
Banks said she sat in the booth during the US Women’s Open broadcast last June to get a feel for what the commentary team is doing and how the presenter is running the action. All four of her broadcast partners are ex-Rankin, 76, a member of World Golf and LPGA Halls of Fame, who began her microphone career in 1984.
“I really appreciate the fact that I’m not the professional here, not the voice of the analyst,” said Banks. “It sets them up for what we’ll see, how we hit that shot, what they did wrong, what we as golf fans want to know. I’ve been in this sport and industry long enough to ask my own curious questions, so I’ll do the job everyone at home wants to know. “
Cockerill, a two-time US women’s amateur champion, has been with Golf Channel since its inception in 1995. Stupples, who played on the LPGA Tour for 15 years, counts her career highlight as the 2004 Women’s British Open Championship. McKenzie played a full LPGA schedule from 2006 to 2013.