Nelly Korda Embarks on Title Defense at Congressional
It was a big step for Nelly Korda a year ago at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship. And now she’s ready to take another one.
The defending KPMG Women’s PGA Championship winner – who is looking to become the first since Inbee Park to go back-to-back – won her maiden major title a year ago at Atlanta Athletic Club and ascended to No. 1 in the world in the process.
“It was a big week,” said Korda. “Obviously, going into professional golf and playing this for a living and loving it so much, it's something that you want to do. You want to contend in majors. You want to win major championships, and you want to be the No. 1 player in the world.
“To finally kind of get it done last year was really nice.”
Korda made her return at the U.S. Women’s Open where she finished tied for 8th. She followed that up attempting to defend her title at the Meijer LPGA Classic. Korda ultimately fell in a playoff, but her game, she said, is back.
The recent return after Korda spent months on the sidelines. She suffered a blood clot in her left arm earlier in the year and had to have surgery.
“Once I was healthy and I did my rehab even just for my shoulder, because I was struggling with that a little last year, I made sure that I can kill two birds with one stone. I've said that a couple of times, but I'll continue to,” said Korda. “Ever since I started hitting, it's just been kind of full throttle, and I have been practicing a lot. I have not taken more than two or three days off since then. I'm just happy to be out here playing competitive golf.
“I gave myself a chance last week. If you told me that when I was laying in the ER, I would have definitely been very happy with that.”
Korda attributes her recent successes – despite being on the shelf for as long as she was – to how much hard work she’s been putting in away from competition, and not just on the course.
“I definitely am putting a lot more time into my body. In a sense being what my parents say is ‘a little more professional,’” she said with a laugh. “I've put in a lot of work into my body and my golf game since I've been back, and I've just been about consistency.
“I think it's also about the attitude that you have on the golf course. I feel like the more you enjoy it out there, the better you play, the less you get kind of ticked off, the less things go wrong, I guess, in a sense.”
Korda is part of a super-star group to open the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship that includes three-time winner, Park, and 2016 champion Brooke Henderson. Korda – who laughed since she and Henderson played the first two days together last week as well – said it was an “amazing feeling” to be part of the group with her fellow KPMG Women’s PGA Champions.
While she’s happy to be a KPMG Women’s PGA Championship winner, she’s also just thrilled to be back competing at all.
“Since I've been back, I've made sure that I've had a good attitude and enjoyed every second of it,” said Korda. “And I think that’s contributed to my good play.”