Ann Liguori is a WFAN original, and has been the most recognizable voice on golf at the station for the majority of its history. But on Sunday at Shinnecock Hills she will achieve a first: Her own WFAN show focused on the sport.
“I was talking to Mark (Chernoff) for many, many years about doing a golf show, and finally he just decided it’s time,” she said on Wednesday from her booth at the U.S. Open Media Center, referring to WFAN’s vice president of programming.
“I’m excited. Tiger (Woods) is back, all these young players are so talented and the story lines, with Phil (Mickelson) trying to capture a career grand slam. I think WFAN realized there’s so much out there aside from baseball, football and basketball — sports that I love — and I think they just realized it’s time to do it.”
The time slot is not exactly weekday afternoon drive, but it’s a start: 7 to 8 a.m. on Sundays through Labor Day. But the timing is good, with the Open in the area for the first time this decade.
Liguori has covered the past 20 Masters and most of U.S. Opens and PGA Championships during that time for the FAN. (She also has covered every U.S. Open tennis tournament for the station since its launch in 1987.)
In fact, she has covered every recent Open at Shinnecock, working for ABC Radio Network in ’86, in a career that began after she graduated from the University of South Florida in 1982.
In 1987, she became the first woman to host a call-in show on WFAN — her first guest was Dwight Gooden — a program that lasted for more than 20 years.
Liguori, who has lived most of the year in Westhampton since 2003, hosts a Saturday morning sports show on WPPB (88.3-FM) in Southampton.
She has extensive ties to the golf community, having worked at the Golf Channel, written a book about golf and hosted an annual tournament in the Hamptons to raise funds for her foundation. Her Golf Channel program, “Conversations with Ann Liguori,” involved interviewing celebrities while playing golf with them.
And she still has plenty of game herself, with a handicap under 11 and a best score at Shinnecock of 84. “But I have to tell you,” she said, “this course draws everybody to its knees. I will take an 84 here anytime.”
Liguori now spends parts of the year in Florida, which has helped her golf.
“I feel like my game is probably better than ever,” she said. “Don’t believe the myth that the older you get the worse you get. I just feel like with age you can draw on that experience. I might not be able to hit the ball as far as I did off the tee, but I’m a little more wise about navigating.”