Here are highlights from the Golf Channel announcing crew regarding the LPGA Championship this weekend.
LPGA ChampionshipGolf Channel Broadcast Team QuotesPITTSFORD, N.Y., June 23 – The LPGA’s second major of the year, the LPGA Championship, kicks off Thursday from Locust Hill Country Club in Pittsford, N.Y. Golf Channel will air live, four-round coverage of the tournament Thursday-Friday from 12:30-2:30 p.m. ET, followed by weekend coverage from 4-7 p.m. ET. Terry Gannon, Judy Rankin, Phil Parkin, Kay Cockerill, Val Skinner, Jane Crafter and Rich Lerner will host the network’s live coverage. We caught up with Rankin and Cockerill to give their thoughts and predictions on the week, and Gannon to discuss making his Golf Channel debut.Terry Gannon, Play-by-Play HostOn making his Golf Channel debut this week:“My passion for golf began as a kid, sitting on the couch with my Dad watching Jack Nicklaus teach us a thing or two about greatness. Over the last nine years I’ve been lucky enough to be a part of the game, in the booth following the great players of the current era. Now, I’m extremely excited to be joining an accomplished group of professionals at the Golf Channel in covering the PGA Tour and LPGA Tour on a regular basis. It’s a new chapter in my professional life and the LPGA Championship is the perfect place to start. Sitting next to Judy Rankin at a major? I’ll take that any week of the year.”Judy Rankin, Golf Channel Analyst and World Golf Hall of FamerThoughts on Ai Miyazato and the field this week:“You have to mention Ai Miyazato as a favorite since she is having such a fabulous year. I wouldn’t say the long golf course here is favorable for Ai, but she simply is playing so well and her confidence is so high, she has to be a favorite. Suzann Pettersen is another favorite this week. She is second on the money list, and was fourth last week at the ShopRite LPGA Classic. I have to believe her game is in good order. The thick rough here and the long course will suit her kind of play. Any number of people might play well this week, as they have experience and success at this course. Jeong Jang is a girl who has won here. She hasn’t made a particularly big mark anywhere this year. But, at a place like this where you have had success, it sometimes brings out the good things in your game.”Jiyai Shin returning to action this week“Today is two weeks from the day of her appendectomy. So, she might be back a little early. You always say in competitive golf, ‘watch out for the walking wounded and sick.’ They tend to be relaxed and have lower expectations. As a result they don’t get too tied in a knot. So, it could play in her favor. I would have to think that it is a little bit early to come back after an appendectomy. But, losing the number one position in the world, and this week being a major championship, has driven her to come back a week sooner than she normally would have.”Working with Terry Gannon, who is making his Golf Channel debut this week“When you sit alongside someone, you really get to know how capable they are and how smooth they are. How often they jump in and help you. Terry is just terrific. We have become very good friends over the years and I couldn’t be happier to be working with Terry. He always has had a certain passion for the LPGA. I think that since he is working this one – one of the biggest LPGA events – speaks to that. He knows the LPGA Tour and he looks forward to this week.”Golf Channel On-Course Reporter and LPGA Tour Veteran Kay CockerillThoughts on Ai Miyazato vs. Jiyai Shin for World No. 1“I think it’s amazing what Ai has done this year, winning four times, including last week for the first time in the U.S. and taking the number-one ranking for the first time. She has a chance to become the first Japanese woman to win a major since Chako Higuchi won the LPGA Championship in 1977. She will be under enormous pressure to do so, but she has the game and temperament to handle it. I think there will be a long lasting rivalry between Ai and Jiyai Shin. This week could be tough for Shin, as she is not 100 percent. I am doubtful she can handle it physically, being so soon back after surgery.”Thoughts on course changes in preparation for LPGA Championship. “The LPGA brought in the fairways a lot, but the course is not running fast. The back nine is where it all happens and the fairways will get tighter and tighter as the week goes on.”