Stacy Lewis needs her big players to step up in Spain. Nelly Korda is ready to answer her country’s call
Sibling rivalry is inevitable in a family full of sporting stars, and there are few families in the world that can match the all-round success of the Kordas.
At the head of the table is Petr Korda, a Czech-born, former Australian Open tennis champion and World No 2. He married fellow tennis star Regina Rajchrtova, and their union produced three children: Jessica, Nelly, and Sebastian.
While Sebastian would follow his famous father’s career path into tennis, his two big sisters found golf more to their liking and have amassed 19 professional titles between them, though Nelly’s victory at the 2021 Women’s PGA Championship remains their only Major so far.
Their competitive desire could easily have led to a fractious relationship as they battle for honors on the LPGA Tour, but their bond has been overwhelmingly harmonious. This was evident on Nelly’s Solheim Cup debut in 2019, when she and Jessica chalked up two 6&5 victories in an outstanding foursomes partnership.
Both Korda’s went unbeaten at Gleneagles but disappointed over the first two days of the 2021 renewal at Inverness and were again on the losing team.
Ordinarily, they would be teaming up again in Spain this year, but a back injury means Jessica will be watching at home while Nelly goes it alone for the first time. It’s an untimely blow.
“Playing with my sister is when I’ve had the most fun on a golf course,” Nelly said at the Aramco Team Series – London event at Centurion. “I miss her. She’s like a built-in best buddy, so it’s definitely been a bit of a change not having her at events this year.”
Team USA Captain Stacy Lewis will have her own ideas about who to partner Nelly with in the foursomes and fourballs, though Nelly has hinted as to her personal preferences.
“One of my really good friends is Megan Khang, so that would be really cool. I also played with Lilia Vu at the International Crown in San Francisco and really enjoyed that. But we’re in good hands and I’m fairly easy. I get along with just about anyone.
“What I do know is that it’s important to play with people you really get along with. I’ve played three of my four foursomes matches with my sister and we obviously get along great. I’ve also played with Ally Ewing and Brittany Altomare, who are both also good friends. But the captain always does a great job of mixing and matching, and it’s always nice to have someone you can really lean on out there.”
Korda’s two Solheim Cup appearances have both ended in defeats for America, something she is determined to put right at Finca Cortesin, a venue she knows very little about. A team outing in the run-up to the event should put things right, and Nelly is hoping to use the opportunity to feed off the energy in the team and around the area.
“Representing my country is so much fun,” she says, excitedly. “It’s just a great experience to play for your team and your country, and there’s nothing else like it. The crowds are great and give you a crazy, chaotic, fun energy all week.
“I’m usually pretty level-headed out on the course, whatever the tournament or competition. I don’t show too much emotion. Growing up in a tennis family, I loved the calm, composed demeanor of Roger Federer, but I also admired the grit, fight, and determination of Rafa Nadal. I’ve always felt that, in golf, it’s important to control your emotions, control your heart rate, and make sure you’re 100 percent focused on the next shot.
“I’m fairly tame, but if you see me throwing out a fist bump or something like that, it’s usually when I’m in contention on the back nine on a Sunday. I am probably a little more pumped up during a Solheim Cup week, there’s a different dynamic going on, playing for a team and for your country. That just gives you a little more energy.”
However, after two consecutive defeats, does she consider this year a ‘must-win’ for the mighty USA?
“I don’t think there’s ever a ‘must’ when it comes to winning the Solheim Cup, but we really do want to get our hands back on that trophy.
“We have been inconsistent but we’ll have quite a different team this year. There’s a core of maybe four or five players that are Solheim Cup regulars on the US team, but we will have some really talented rookies in contention for Spain, players like Allisen (Corpuz) and Lilia (Vu).
“I’ve been on the losing team twice in Solheim Cups, so bringing the trophy back to the US would feel really nice.”
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About the author
Golf Equipment Writer
Will Shreeve-Peacock is a golf equipment writer for todays-golfer.com, specializing in golf shoes, GPS watches, rangefinders, and training aids.
He has a degree in journalism from Sheffield Hallam University and four years of experience working in golf retail with American Golf. Will was part of the sales and fitting team, making him the perfect man to review golf equipment.
Will started playing golf more than a decade ago at Thorney Lakes Golf Club, Cambridgeshire and is now a member at Burghley Park Golf Club in Stamford, Lincolnshire. His handicap index is 5.8, largely thanks to his scratch-standard short game.
Away from golf, Will enjoys going to the gym, cooking, spending time with his friends, and watching his beloved Manchester United.
Will uses a Cobra LTDx Driver, Cobra LTDx 3-Wood, TaylorMade P790 2-iron, Callaway X Forged 18 Irons (4-PW), Wilson Staff Model Wedges (52°, 58°), TaylorMade White smoke IN-12 Blade putter and the TaylorMade TP5x Golf ball.
When he’s not testing golf shoes, he chooses to wear FootJoy Hyperflex or Under Armour Charged Phantom. He uses a Shotscope Pro L2 rangefinder, and his favorite training aid is the PuttOut Pressure Putt Trainer and mat.