Sometimes you need a distraction, especially the week of a major when the intensity is ramped up and every step you take is analyzed. During an average week on tour, you can go out to dinner, maybe take in a baseball game, and forget about golf for a few hours. Majors, particularly the last one on the calendar held at a historic venue in golf’s motherland, make it tough to turn off your mind. That’s when distractions are a blessing, even annoying ones.
From the look on her face, Jessica Korda wouldn’t view the current lemons in her life as an ingredient in lemonade. But, after firing an opening 5-under 66 at Muirfield, one shot off the early lead set by Hinako Shibuno, Korda might want to thank the baggage handlers in Switzerland who can’t seem to get her luggage to Scotland.
“If anyone knows anyone at the Zurich airport that would like to put my suitcase on the one flight a day that they have coming into Edinburgh, I'd deeply appreciate it,” Korda said with more than a hint of annoyance in her voice.
She knows where the bag is. “I have an (Apple) AirTag in it,” she said. “I just can't get anyone to actually go get it.”
At least she got her golf clubs, which were on fire in the opening round. After a bogey at the difficult par-4 second, Korda made four birdies in the next 10 holes. Then, as most of the eyes at Muirfield turned to the first tee, where Jess’s younger sister Nelly, the world No. 3, was taking a few warmup swings before the start of her round, the 29-year-old reached the par-5 17th in two and made a 20-footer for eagle. Jess then recovered from a pulled tee shot to par the last to earn her 66.
The fact that she did it in new clothes was a bit of a relief. During practice round days, she played in borrowed outfits. “Monday, I wore Megan Khang's pants. Tuesday, I wore my sister's pants and Wednesday I wore Alison Lee's pants,” Jessica said. “And today I'm wearing FootJoy pants.”
Nelly and Alison make sense. They are both tall and lean like Jessica. Kang was bit of a surprise. “She rolls her pants up. Megan is like 5-foot nothing, so she rolls her pants up a lot. So they fit me perfectly, but, yeah, she rolls them up.”
When asked what she was missing from the bag, Korda smirked and said, “My clothes. Other than my clothes? Sponsor's hats. Wearing a Muirfield hat right now. I have some great partners and it's just tough, when you play well and you're obviously in the hunt, and you can't wear (their logos). A lot of my warm stuff. My hand warmers, My hands get really cold so I wear gloves all the time. That, and I've got a lot of heat patches for my lower back and my vitamins, don't have that.
“I gave up on it by Wednesday. If it comes here, great, but if not, it is what it is. At this point I'm playing a golf tournament. FootJoy sent me a bunch of clothes. Yeah, we just try to figure it out from there.”
It’s certainly not the kind of distraction you want, especially during a major. But it is a distraction. And so far for Jess Korda, it has worked out well.