One of the final questions I asked Nelly and Jessica Korda during our warm-up interview was the one I’d been most curious to hear the answer to. What’s your favorite part of professional golf — your day-to-day job?
The two sisters were warming up while I lobbed questions from the side, eventually accompanied by their coach Jamie Mulligan. (The full video is below.) Jessica answered the question first.
“For me, other than obviously winning and the normal stuff that everybody would say, is meeting all the kids that come out that are inspired to come back or pick up the game of golf. I think just seeing the twinkle in their eye every time they come out and the interaction between us and them, I think that’s one of my favorite things,” she said.
It was a terrific answer and fitting, too, given Jessica’s personality.
As for Nelly? Her answer was different in a particularly interesting way.
“I mean, [Jessica’s answer] is one of the reasons,” she said. “But for me it’s the moments you’re coming down the stretch and you’re in contention and you feel the rush through your entire body. It’s those moments that I love and the intensity, too. Afterwards you feel really sick because you’re like, oh my God, I just went through a million emotions in the past four hours, but it’s what I love. I strive to be in that position as many times as possible and it’s what I work for.”
If you’ve watched her in contention down the stretch, it’s clear Nelly is locked in — but it’s almost impossible to tell what she’s thinking. So I found it fascinating that those inscrutable moments are her very favorite. But Nelly thought for a moment and then interjected with an important sidenote.
“I have to add, I’m caught between the lows and highs,” she said. “Because I appreciate the lows so much because I enjoy grinding on something. So it may feel really bad to lose in a playoff but it’s also extra motivation that I don’t enjoy — but I maybe feed off it.”
Coaches talk all the time about wanting their players to fall in love with the process of getting better, rather than focusing merely on results. They also work with their players on staying present down the stretch and enjoying the feeling of being in the mix. Nelly Korda? She already loves both. That, coupled with a tremendous golf swing, seems like it could have something to do with her ascent to No. 1 in the world.
You can watch the entire “Warming Up” video below.