PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. | Missing the cut at Baltusrol Golf Club wasn’t exactly what Nelly Korda had in mind for her return to the LPGA Tour after taking some time off to rehab a back injury. But the 24-year-old is back and ready for another major test, this time at the 78th playing of the U.S. Women’s Open at Pebble Beach Golf Links. Until that week in Springfield, N.J., Korda hadn’t missed a major cut since the 2021 U.S. Women’s Open at The Olympic Club. Ironically, she hasn’t won a major championship since that same year, capturing her first and only major title at the 2021 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship.
Always a pro’s pro, Korda wasn’t shy in sharing how frustrating it was to miss playing the weekend at the Lower Course, but the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings No. 2 knows better than anyone that sometimes, especially in this game, that’s just the way the cookie crumbles.
“Obviously, pretty disappointed. Flew out on Friday right after the round,” said Korda, who was +11 through two rounds at Baltusrol. “It's just golf. You constantly go through the roller coasters of it. It just makes you appreciate the highs more. But making sure that I was mentally ready to come into this week. I just put my head down and grinded. I love that about golf. No one knows everything and no one is an expert, and I think that this is the beauty of the game is that everyone experiences highs and lows.”
This week marks Korda’s 10th start of the 2023 LPGA Tour season, and despite the recent struggles, she’s put together some incredible results in her nine previous starts in the first half of the season. She’s recorded six finishes of T6 or better, including a runner-up at the HSBC Women’s World Championship and a solo third at The Chevron Championship. According to KPMG Performance Insights, Korda is fourth in strokes gained tee-to-green so far in 2023 while also ranking third in scoring average and fifth in putts per green in regulation. Though things have been tough lately, Korda’s ability to bounce back from adversity will serve her well at a place like Pebble Beach.
“I was feeling really good at the beginning of the season. I played a lot of golf. I did four weeks in a row playing Chevron, LA. I played the International Crown and then I flew straight to New Jersey,” said Korda. “After that, I just didn't feel 100 percent with my back. Obviously, it sucks to miss a couple weeks, but health comes first from what I've learned the past couple years. I think it's just golf. It's sports. It's life. You've just got to adapt. I took some time off. I always give 120 percent whenever I'm out here.”
And if the roller coaster continues to dip, worst comes to worst, Korda will at least enjoy the walk around Pebble Beach. “The views on every hole, I feel like you get to a hole and you're like, this is my favorite view, and then you get to another hole and, no, this is actually my favorite view,” she said. “So very scenic, amazing golf course, so much history, and so grateful to be out here.”