First equality, then respect: Nelli Korda believes new mixed team events are the ‘ideal’ next step for women’s golf



CNN

When Nelly Korda faced two PGA Tour best in December, it received rave reviews.

“It’s a testament to these other ladies that anyone can even smell that she beat her because it was wildly impressive,” Max Homa marveled at reporters after he and Kevin Kisner faced Korda and Danny McCarthy at the QBE Shootout, a team tournament with unofficial cash prizes. PGA tour.

Kisner, a four-time PGA Tour winner, was equally thrilled by the women’s world No. 1. 2.

“I think at some point I called her Tiger Woods from the LPGA tour,” Kisner added. “I asked her there if she wins all the tournaments. She said no.’ I’m like, “I don’t believe you.”

When asked about the praise in January, Korda had one conclusion.

“They should watch women’s golf more,” Korda told reporters, laughing.

“They were very kind in their words to me, but I think if they came here and watched all the girls compete, they would be equally impressed.”

Khoma (left) and Kisner (right) praised Korda's game.

In December, the QBE Shootout will replace The Grant Thornton Invitational, which will take place at the same Tiburón Golf Club in Naples. 32 players will take part in it – 16 from LPGA Tour and 16 from the PGA Tour – compete in mixed tag team competition for a $4 million prize pool.

Since 1999, when Laura Davis and John Daly teamed up to win the last JCPenney Classic, the two tours have not co-hosted an annual mixed team competition. Korda couldn’t be more excited.

“It’s something so different and unique and I’m so grateful to be a part of it,” she said.

JONES CREEK, GEORGIA - JUNE 27: Nellie Korda poses with the trophy after winning on the 18th green during the final round of the KPMG PGA Women's Championship at the Atlanta Athletic Club on June 27, 2021 in Jones Creek, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin K. Cox/Getty Images)

Nelly Korda’s first major title is a family affair

Part of Korda’s enthusiasm stems from her belief that the event is the next step in women’s sport, though the 24-year-old insists it’s a marathon, not a sprint.

“Growing step by step, little by little and learning from mistakes, I think that the end result will make our foundation much stronger than immediately super-fast growth,” Korda said.

“From where we were 10 years ago to where we are now, it’s amazing to see how much we’ve grown and the respect we’re getting.

“You can have equality, but you can still not be respected by people. And I think once you gain respect, everything sort of comes together and it becomes so much more than equality.”

Korda starred in QBE Shootout.

And Korda, and her sister Jessica, the first racket of the world. 25 are set to team up with established players in men’s football, paired with Tony Finau and Ricky Fowler respectively. With five PGA Tour wins, they are considered two of the most talented golfers yet to win a major tournament.

In Finau, Korda will play alongside one of Netflix’s leading experts. “Full swing,” a flashy show documenting the 2022 PGA Tour season. In the sixth episode, American Charm is shown as a golfer who works hard to balance his career with family obligations.

“He’s such a nice guy, he’s so sweet,” Korda said.

“I’m sure everyone knows this now that the Netflix documentary on the PGA tour came out and I heard that episode was a really big hit.

“I’m just happy to get to know him better and I think overall he’s such a solid player. I am very happy to compete with him.”

Fowler (left) and Finau (right) played together at the 2019 Presidents' Cup in Melbourne, Australia.

But one team event is guaranteed to outperform all others for Korda this season. In September, all eyes will be on the Finca Cortesin Golf Club in Andalusia, Spain for the Solheim Cup.

Team USA will be pressured to prevent a European trio after losing in Gleneagles, Scotland in 2019 and losing a home in Inverness Club, Ohio in 2021.

In both cases, Korda lost, but won the Solheim Cup for the first time. With herself, her sister, Lexi Thompson, Danielle Kang, Lilia Wu and Jennifer Cupcho enjoying good seasons, Team USA captain Stacey Lewis is spoiled for choice to pick her roster of 12 players.

“At the end of the day, golf is so individual that it’s nice to have teammates and play not just for yourself but for them, play for your captain, play for your country,” she said.

“It just brings a new level of respect and it’s so much fun. Every time I have the opportunity to do this, I am filled with pride.”

Korda in action at the 2021 Solheim Cup at the Inverness Club in Toledo, Ohio.

Second in women’s golf to New Zealander Lydia Ko, Korda enjoyed a series of electric performances on both sides of the new year. Three consecutive top-six finishes early in 2023 followed up on an inspiring 2022 finale that Korda completed with three top-10s, including winning the Pelican Women’s Championship in November.

After announcing in March 2022 that she would not compete in the Chevron Championship. due to a blood clot in the armshe returned to action at the US Women’s Open in May, her fourth start of the season.

Defending her title at the Pelican Women’s Championship – her first LPGA Tour win of the season and eighth of her career – was a cathartic moment for Korda, who was overwhelmed with emotion after the win.

Korda poses with the Pelican Women's Championship trophy after winning in Bel Air, Florida.

“In the beginning, 2022 was a difficult year… the victory at the end was very special for me,” Korda said.

“Every year you strive to show your best side – on the golf course, as a player, as a person.

“If I can have fun and stay healthy, then I know I can do my best.”