Health scare has given Nelly Korda a fresh outlook on golf ahead of Women's PGA Championship

·4-min read
Health scare has given Nelly Korda a fresh outlook on golf ahead of Women's PGA Championship
Health scare has given Nelly Korda a fresh outlook on golf ahead of Women's PGA Championship

THERE'S been so much written about money in the professional game recently, you could probably rip the golf page out of the newspaper, take it to your nearest bank and get it cashed.

Amid the on-going hoopla of the LIV Golf Series and its astronomical finances, you may have forgotten that it’s another major championship week. Over at the Congressional Club in Maryland, the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship gets underway today with something of a spring in its step.

In another sizeable boost for the female game, organisers and sponsors announced that the prize fund would be doubled to $9million. Following similarly significant increases in the purses of the US Women’s Open, the AIG Women’s Open, the Chevron Championship and the Amundi Evian Championship, all five women’s majors are now wallowing in the kind of riches that Warren Buffet used to bathe in.

The financial times they are a-changing for the good ladies. Things have changed a bit too for Nelly Korda since she won her first major title in this very championship 12 months ago.

The 23-year-old would go on to add an Olympic gold to her bounty while rising to No 1 in the world during an all-conquering spell which saw her become the poster girl for women’s golf.

In March of this year, after an injury-induced lay-off, the daughter of major-winning tennis player Petr was finally diagnosed with a blood clot in her left arm and retreated from the frontline for a further two months.

Like a military paratrooper being dropped back into action, however, Korda hit the ground running and finished tied eighth on her return in the US Women’s Open at the start of June before losing in a play-off during the defence of her Meijer LPGA Classic title last weekend. It’s been quite the comeback.

“Ever since I started hitting (balls) again, it's just been kind of full throttle,” said Korda of her eagerness to make up for lost time. “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 lying in the ER, I would have definitely been very happy."

Given all the vast, in-depth medical detail the golf scribblers have had to document in relation to Tiger Woods down the seasons, the intricacies of Korda’s surgery on her subclavian vein were nowt new. We could probably write a scholarly thesis in The Lancet with all our acquired knowledge about golfing aches, pains, ailments and afflictions.

The health scare, meanwhile, has given Korda a fresh outlook on a game that can easily tease and torment. “I’m definitely putting a lot more time into my body …or being what my parents say is a little more professional,” she said with a chuckle. “But I think life is about perspective. When you look at it (golf) a different way, you enjoy it, you have a lot more respect for the game and you're a lot more humble about it too. I think that goes a long way in golf.

“It’s about the attitude that you have on the course. The less you get ticked off, the less things go wrong. Since I've been back, I've tried to enjoy every second of it. I think that's contributed to my good play.”

Back at the tournament where she first rose into the shimmering pantheon of a major champion, Korda has a lot to reflect on from the past year. “The 2021 Women’s PGA feels like forever ago,” she said of an eventful 12 months that has featured a mix of giddy, title-winning elation and physical concerns.

"But I don't think I've changed a bunch in the past year. I think I've just become a little bit more consistent and confident that I can win a major championship.

“Over the last year, I've learned my way around the major championship week. I try not to put too much pressure on myself because a lot of people emphasise major championship weeks so much.

“Maybe they put a little too much pressure on themselves when, at the end of the day, you're playing with the same girls pretty much every single week. I think the people who play the best, enjoy themselves the most on the course.”

There’s maybe a golfing lesson in there for all of us?

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