In the five U.S. Opens conducted on the Lake Course at The Olympic Club, only four players have finished 72 holes with an under-par score. That was Jessica Korda’s biggest takeaway from her research on the famed layout that is hosting its first U.S. Women’s Open this week – this is going to be one of the most difficult major championships ever contested. And she’s more than ready for the challenge.
“There's no first cut out here. The rough is high. Greens are really small. So, yeah, it's going to be a difficult test,” said Jessica Korda, who is competing in her 14th consecutive U.S. Women’s Open. “But I'm really excited about it because this is exactly what a U.S. Open, in my head, always is supposed to look like.”
Korda has played both practice rounds so far with her younger sister Nelly Korda¸ and the duo will be joined by 2011 U.S. Women’s Open champion So Yeon Ryu for Thursday and Friday’s first two rounds. As usual, their parents, Petr and Regina Korda, will be following closely from outside the ropes, but for the first time in a major week, they won’t have to walk 36 holes to see their girls compete for their national title.
“We do feed off each other, but at the end of the day like if I'm struggling, she's right there,” said Nelly Korda. “I can lean on her and vice versa.”
Jessica and Nelly also aren’t the only Kordas competing for a major title this week. Younger brother Sebastian Korda won his first ATP Tour tennis title last week at the Emilia-Romagna Open and is competing at the French Open having reached No. 50 in the world rankings. There is even a distinct possibility that all three Korda siblings could represent the United States at the Olympics this summer.
If there’s a genetic jackpot, the Korda family hit it. And to their great credit, they have all learned how to manage the expectations that come with such skill.
“It’s definitely a number-one goal of ours to contend in majors and to eventually lift a trophy, but it's all about preparation,” Nelly said. “It's all about the mindset going into the week and not putting so much pressure on yourself, because I feel like when you put so much pressure on that one event, you kind of lose like the joy of actually being able to play an amazing golf course and just having fun. Because that is the most important thing, is just having fun and having a good time out there. I think good golf will always solve the issues.”