On Top of My Rankin | LPGA

by | Oct 31, 2022 | LPGA

As kids, we spend so much time dreaming – day, night, and in those empty spaces in between. Boredom boosts dreams, but role models mold them like the Silly Putty we played with in school.

I’ve had role models in many circles of influence in my life – from family, to school, to sports. In any arena that piqued my interest, there were people I’d point to and say, “That is who I want to be like.”

A lot of times, those people were figments of my imagination – figures I’d see on TV and envision myself sitting in their seats one day. In my youth, I did that often. I’d watch Annika fist pump for birdie to win the U.S. Women’s Open and I’d ponder what my pump would look like one day. I’d hear the roars of an entrance at the Solheim Cup and then run to my room to rep the red, white, and blue. Then, I’d sit back on the couch and watch as Judy Rankin commentated on the players, all of whom were following in her footstep. Quickly, I’d prop up in my seat and rehearse Judy’s lines. I’d dream of sitting in her seat after having a storied career on the LPGA.

That dream was only as realistic as the person who made it possible. I only envisioned sitting in the television booth offering analysis on the action outside because of the barriers Judy broke in broadcasting. She opened up a new frontier – a new galaxy in which we could all dream. Judy was a pioneer, a woman who showed others that her toolbox wasn’t just full of golf clubs. It had headsets, microphones, and notepads too.

After a decorated playing career on the LPGA Tour that included 28 wins while raising a child, she mowed a new fairway for women to walk in the game.

In 1984, after a late call from an old friend at ABC, she was an on-course reporter for the U.S. Women’s Open. And at the U.S. Open in 1985, she became the first female reporter for a men’s major championship. From that day until just a few weeks ago, golf fans have known no different than to rely on smooth and expert voice of Judy Rankin to enhance what they are seeing on their screens.

Dottie Pepper who followed Judy as an on-course network analyst, said in a tribune, “We have been blessed with nearly 40 years of Mrs. Rankin in golf television, as a breaker of both glass and grass ceilings; someone who made difficult situations on the air seem smooth with her grace and guidance, never making a call about herself but rather the experience she has playing or talking about the game. It was never about the men’s game or the women’s game either. It was just about the game of golf.”

I could go on and on about the many accolades Judy has had between her golf career and her time on television. But a quick Google search will get you reading on that for days.

For the purpose of this piece, I would just like to just thank Judy from the generation she inspired to dream past our last putt. Today, our vision is extended. We now see ourselves through multiple camera lenses and hear ourselves through a headset. That is only the case because of the glass she shattered.

We can only aspire to the things we believe are possible. Because of Judy, transitioning from player to broadcaster is something we have all seen. Many of us have never known anything different. When our on-course story comes to an end, we know that we can pick up the pen and mic and help share the story of others.

I hope to inspire the generation to follow as Judy did for me.

There is no doubt that golf fans will miss hearing her analyze the best players on TV. I’ll watch the reruns as I lay in bed at night and continue to let her speak softly into my dreams.

Thank you, Judy.

original article can be found here