‘Kind of our Caitlin Clark’: Nelly Korda talk of Chevron as she chases history

Nelly Korda hits a shot ahead of the Chevron Championship.

All eyes are on Nelly Korda this week.

Jack Hirsh/GOLF

THE WOODLANDS, Texas — One player was mentioned in every press conference Tuesday in the lead-up to the LPGA’s first major of the season.

It’s not uncommon for pros to get asked about the World No. 1 before a major, but Nelly Korda — and the magical run she has been on — was undoubtedly the topic du jour at the Chevron Championship.

Lilia Vu, this week’s defending champion, likened Korda to a certain basketball superstar.

“She’s kind of our Caitlin Clark out here,” Vu said, referencing the University of Iowa point guard who this year became the first women’s basketball player to lead Division I in both points and assists in a season.

Vu added: “She is bringing so much to the table — just win after win, just having it, having everything together. She’s done such a good job. So well-liked and loved out here. She brings a big following. She’s a great person.”

Lydia Ko, who would have already earned her clinching Hall of Fame point had Korda not thwarted her in a playoff in January at the LPGA’s Drive On Championship, said Korda’s current run of form is the best she’s seen in her 11 years on the LPGA Tour.

Actually, it’s better than that.

Korda hasn’t lost since that win at Bradenton Country Club, in Flordia, and she starts this week’s major seeking an unprecedented fifth victory in a row. No one on the LPGA has won that many consecutive starts since Annika Sorenstam did so across the 2004 and 2005 seasons. The only other golfer to accomplish the feat is Nancy Lopez, putting Korda in rare company.

But Korda said her focus in not on winning a fifth straight event but on winning her second major title.

“I think obviously I’m so grateful and happy to be in this position that I could pull off four wins in a row,” she said. “I feel like in sports you’re always looking ahead, what’s next, instead of like reminiscing on what has happened.

“I’m so grateful for my team that we all kind of like live in our own bubble that we take it a shot at a time.”

Korda credited the “bubble” she and her team have created for allowing her to have so much fun on the course.

She appeared to still be having fun Tuesday as she played her pre-tournament pro-am round with LPGA commissioner Mollie Marcoux Samaan. The Club at Carlton Woods was not open to spectators Tuesday, but walking a shot ahead of Korda’s group were her parents, former professional tennis players Petr and Regina Korda.

Korda’s win streak is unique given she took seven weeks off after her win at the Drive On Championship. When she returned, she won each of the next three tournaments in consecutive weeks before the LPGA had an off-week before the Chevron.

She said she used that time to spend more time with her family. Her older sister and fellow LPGA pro Jess recently gave birth to her first child, Greyson.

“Spending time with Jess — haven’t seen her in a really long time — and getting to spend time with Greyson was so nice,” Korda said. “Getting to recharge the batteries. When it’s just a week off you feel like you’ve just done your laundry and you’re repacking it again. So it flies by fast trying to get rest, practicing, and working out.”

This week, however, the grind starts right back up, with questions surfacing about Korda’s responsibility to champion the women’s game in the way Clark has done for women’s basketball.

Lilia Vu speaks to the media at the Chevron Championship.
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“I feel like for me, the way that I promote the game is just the way I am,” she said. “I’m very true to myself. I’m never going to do something I’m not really comfortable with. Obviously, I love seeing all the kids and I love promoting the game.”

As for chasing her fifth in a row, Korda is drawing on her past experience. She won back-to-back events before in 2021, the second of which was her first career major at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship. She won four times in that season but just once in the following two years. That volatility, she said, has helped ground her, because she knows her current run may not last forever.

“I think they’re sports; there are ups and downs,” she said. “Every athlete goes through the rollercoaster, and that is what makes the sport so great. You mature and grow so much and learn more about yourself.

“You never take these weeks for granted. You always try to appreciate and become very grateful for them. It makes just all the hard work so worth it. But I think I’ve learned so much about myself even through the losses.”

Jack Hirsh

Golf.com Editor

Jack Hirsh is an assistant editor at GOLF. A Pennsylvania native, Jack is a 2020 graduate of Penn State University, earning degrees in broadcast journalism and political science. He was captain of his high school golf team and recently returned to the program to serve as head coach. Jack also still *tries* to remain competitive in local amateurs. Before joining GOLF, Jack spent two years working at a TV station in Bend, Oregon, primarily as a Multimedia Journalist/reporter, but also producing, anchoring and even presenting the weather. He can be reached at jack.hirsh@golf.com.