Rankin, who began her broadcasting career with ABC in 1984 and has been Golf Channel’s lead LPGA analyst since 2010, was named the 2024 recipient of the PGA Lifetime Achievement Award in Journalism, the first woman to receive the honor and only the second ex-touring professional.
Ken Venturi got the award in 1999. Rankin will be presented the award at the Golf Writers Association of America banquet during the week of the Masters Tournament in Augusta, Georgia.
“Judy Rankin is truly an icon in the game of golf,” said PGA of America President John Lindert in a statement. “Following a remarkable playing career, Judy has delivered insightful commentary as a broadcaster for nearly four decades. She has made an everlasting impact on the broadcast industry as she paved the way for countless women to follow in her footsteps.”
Rankin turned pro at 17 years old in 1962 and won her first LPGA title six years later.
After retiring from competition in 1983 she was a two-time winning captain for the U.S. Solheim Cup team in 1996 and 1998.
She said broadcasting excellence came a bit slower than golf prowess.
“I was kind of timid in the beginning and they had patience,” Rankin told pga.com of her early bosses at ABC. “On-course commentating was very different than it is today. I had the benefit of as on-course commentating found its niche and when the rules changed for how it works, I was there to learn as it grew and I grew.”
In addition to working on LPGA broadcasts, the native Texan was the first woman to work full-time on broadcasts of men’s events.
Rankin retired from full-time broadcasting in 2022. Now 78, she still works at events such as the Solheim Cup.
“Quite honestly I am a little overwhelmed that it’s for journalism,” said Rankin. “It really makes me feel good as though I did something slightly more meaningful than just playing a game. I am really honored that they think there was some journalistic value to what I’ve done all these years.”