Host broadcaster CBS has added Dottie Pepper to its team, giving the Masters its first female commentator.
The former LPGA Tour star was an analyst at NBC network from 2004-12, but stepped away to work for ESPN in a reduced capacity to minimise her travel schedule.
But with ESPN reducing its live coverage of major championships and David Feherty heading from CBS to NBC, the path has cleared for Pepper, a 17-time LPGA Tour event winner and dual major champion, to make history.
CBS Sports Chairman Sean McManus said Pepper was the network’s first choice.
“Once it became evident that we weren’t going to do our deal with Feherty, Dottie was the first and only analyst we considered for the job,” McManus told Associated Press.
“Everyone we asked about Dottie, including the folks at ESPN, just raved about her work ethic.”
Pepper fills another void at CBS, which had been the lone American network to not have a female analyst. NBC had Pepper for nearly a decade, and ABC Sports (and ESPN) featured Judy Rankin when it was involved.
“We didn’t hire Dottie because she’s a woman,” McManus said.
“We had been considering for a long time adding a woman to our crew, and this turned out to be perfect.”
Pepper, who has worked at several Masters for ESPN, made little fuss of her gender.
“A microphone doesn’t know whether you’re male or female,” she said.
“It knows whether you can call a good shot or a bad shot and relay what a player is thinking because you’ve been there. I’ve thrown up on myself and I’ve gotten the job done, so I know what it feels like to be in that position.”