Hall of Famer Rankin diagnosed with breast cancer

Updated: June 8, 2006, 3:07 PM ET
By Ron Sirak | GolfDigest.com

Hall of Fame player Judy Rankin has been diagnosed with breast cancer and is undergoing treatment that will curtail her broadcasting career for an undermined length of time.

Rankin, 61, was told she had cancer three weeks ago and has undergone two surgical procedures, with more treatment to follow.

"I have cancer, I'm just having to deal with it," Rankin told GolfDigest.com. "I don't at this point know what my timetable will be for the rest of the year in terms of work. I need a week to 10 days to figure that out.

"It is what they term a low grade of cancer. I have already done the testing, and now I have to take steps to get rid of it. I am told that I will be fine," she said.

Rankin was one of the first teens to play professional golf, turning pro at the age of 17 after winning the Missouri Amateur at the age of 14 and finishing as low amateur in the U.S. Women's Open the next year. She went on to a professional career that included 26 LPGA victories despite being forced into retirement at the age of 38 by chronic back problems. She was twice LPGA Player of the Year and won the Vare Trophy for lowest scoring average three times. In 2000, she became the first player voted into the LPGA Tour Hall of Fame under the veterans category and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame later that year.

Rankin, who works as a golf commentator for ABC and ESPN as well as serving as a professional advisor for Golf Digest, was also captain of the U.S. Solheim Cup team in 1996 and 1998, leading the Americans to victory both times. She last appeared on the air at the Sybase Classic in May. She played as Judy Torluemke until 1967, when she married Yippy Rankin. They live in Midland, Texas.

Ron Sirak is the executive editor of Golf World magazine.

Ron Sirak is the executive editor of Golf World magazine.