'I've got it, I wish I didn't have it, but I have to deal with it,' Rankin said in a telephone interview Friday from Ruidoso, N. M.
Rankin, 61, was diagnosed about three weeks ago and has had two minor surgeries, with another to follow. But she was given an optimistic outlook because the cancer was detected early.
'I'm not sick,' she said. 'This cancer I have up to now is not an invasive cancer, but it would be at some point down the road. I think I have the best of a bad thing.'
In an era when LPGA Tour players often skip college, Rankin was a pioneer.
She won the Missouri Amateur at age 14, turned pro at 17 and won 26 times on the LPGA Tour, becoming the first to earn at least $100,000 in one year in 1976. She had to retire at 38 because of back problems.
Rankin was elected into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2000 through the veteran's category.
She has become equally known through television, working as a golf analyst for ABC and ESPN. She last appeared on the air at the Sybase Classic three weeks ago.
ABC Sports will be covering five of the next six PGA Tour events -- all but the U.S. Open. Rankin was not sure when she would return, but was hopeful of going to Royal Liverpool for the British Open from July 20-23.
Her husband, Yippy, is recovering from throat cancer and recently finished radiation.
'We know more doctors than we ever wanted to know,' Rankin said with a laugh.
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