Writer, sportscaster, historian Glenn passes away

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Rhonda Glenn, who made her mark as a sportscaster, writer and manager of USGA media operations, died Thursday after a long illness.

Glenn, 68, was an accomplished storyteller in more than one medium and regarded as a pre-eminent expert on women’s golf. She relished documenting the stories of women who made history in the game, but she was a history-making personality herself. In 1981, ESPN made Glenn the first full-time female sportscaster for a national television network. She worked alongside Chris Berman as a SportsCenter anchor not long after the network’s launch. She was also a golf commentator for ABC for 16 years.

“In addition to her many accomplishments, what we will miss most about Rhonda is her generosity of spirit, her passion for the game and the people who play it, as well as her kindness and humility,” said Mike Davis, executive director of the USGA. “In many respects, she truly represented all that was best about our game.”

Glenn, a former player herself, was an author “whose true legacy is in her role as the pre-eminent historian of the women’s game,” Davis said.

Glenn won the USGA’s International Book Award in 1992 for her “Illustrated History of Women’s Golf.” Glenn joined the USGA communications staff in 1996, where she worked 17 years before her retirement. She was instrumental in guiding the establishment of the Mickey Wright Room in 2012, the first room dedicated to a woman at the USGA Museum.

“What she leaves with us is her catalog of wonderfully told stories,” Davis said.

As a girl growing up in Palm Beach (Fla.) County, Glenn honed her own game at a par-3 course, where she met and watched Hall of Famer Mickey Wright. They became friends. Glenn, a two-time state champion in high school, was inducted into the Palm Beach County Sports Hall of Fame in 1997.

Last year, Glenn won the Golf Writers Association of America’s William D. Richardson Award for outstanding contributions to the game.

Funeral services, according to the USGA, will be private with information about how to make donations in Glenn’s memory to be released later.

“Our thoughts are with Rhonda’s family and with her many friends and admirers in the game,” Davis said. “She will be missed.”