Every job looks easy when you watch experts do it. From brick mason to star athlete, the best make the most difficult tasks look effortless, casual, easy enough for you say, “Gee, I could do that.”
Television is no different. Armchair quarterbacks in their living rooms almost always think they could analyze a game better than the guys in the booth. But the same also goes for a lot of athletes and coaches who believe that transitioning from competing to providing analysis on television is an effortless jump.
As anyone who has picked up a microphone and looked into a camera can tell you, they are sorely mistaken.
Television is hard work. And those who do it best have put in countless hours of testing and practice. They listen to those who have been doing the job for years and they accept critiques without taking offense. Just as on the field of play, those with the most talent, the most dedication and the hardest work ethic rise to the top.
Morgan Pressel, who will join Golf Channel as the lead analyst this week at the LPGA Drive On Championship presented by Volvik, could well be one of those.
Pressel is both smart and quick. And everyone who has been around her knows her dedication to being the absolute best at everything she does. It comes as no surprise that she is picking up the microphone and taking the next logical step in a successful career in the game.
“I'm excited to join the NBC family and work with Golf Channel,” Pressel said on Wednesday afternoon at Golden Ocala Golf & Equestrian Club. “You know, being on the other side of the camera for a long time I've had the opportunity to dabble a little bit in television. I'm excited to see the production behind the scenes, see everything that goes into showcasing our sport and to be part of the production.”
Pressel will continue to play, just as Paul Azinger, Nick Faldo and Johnny Miller continued to compete during their early days in television. But she will also provide analysis at both LPGA Tour and PGA Tour events in 2021, including the U.S. Women’s Open, the Amundi Evian Championship and the Solheim Cup, where she competed for Team USA six times, most recently in 2019 at Gleneagles, Scotland. She will also provide analysis during the PGA Tour’s Honda Classic from March 15 – 21.
“Out here especially I know a lot of the players, I've competed against them for a long time, I know their games,” the 32-year-old major champion said. “So, I'm excited to talk about that as well as try my hand at a little bit of men's golf upcoming at the Honda Classic. That will be a little bit of a different challenge, maybe take a little bit more homework. But I'm a golf fan, so I’m going to approach it as a fan watching at home like everybody else.”
She has done some work in the past, analyzing the U.S. Women’s Open for FOX and providing some ad-hoc commentary both online and in broadcast. Still, the idea of walking away as a competitor from some of the game’s biggest events was not a decision she took lightly.
“I don't know how I knew I was ready,” Pressel said. “I think it's something that maybe I thought about for a little while. Definitely having TV experience helped. You know, missing a few events here and there I still have the opportunity to play well at plenty of others so it's kind of a bit of a trial year, if that makes sense.”
Just as in golf, you admire certain players, even if you have no aspirations to copy their games, Pressel has paid close attention to those who have transitioned into commentary. And she has also taken the advice she has received to heart.
“Obviously, Judy (Rankin) is a legend,” Pressel said. “I’ve watched her plenty on our LPGA Tour broadcasts. I think having done television, I would say for the last four or five years I watch golf with a little bit of a different ear. I have kept a little bit of a catalog in my mind of the way certain people describe things or say things.
“But the one piece of advice that I've been given by just about everybody, including Judy, is not to try to be somebody else. Just be myself. I think literally every person who has given me advice has told me to be myself.
“I don't know what that means, but we'll find out.”
Pressel already knows a lot. Don’t describe what a viewer is seeing on the screen. Be concise but informative. Let your words provide perspective. And remember that no viewer tuned into golf just to hear an analyst’s voice. The rest she will learn quickly.
“We couldn't be more excited,” said Golf Channel coordinating producer Ben Daughan. “Obviously, Morgan brings a championship pedigree to our broadcast as a major champion and LPGA winner, USGA champion and six-time Solheim Cup team member for the United States. One thing I'm most excited about, and I think a lot of us are, is that it's rare in sports television that someone can play at such a high level last week, finished tied for 31st (at Gainbridge LPGA), and then the very next week be the lead analyst on a telecast.”
Golf Channel coverage begins Thursday at 10:00 a.m.