Rolex Rankings World No. 2 Nelly Korda only took about a week of rest during the LPGA Tour off season, which concluded with a top-10 finish for the 24-year-old at the CME Group Tour Championship back in November. But it was an eventful winter full of dreams come true for the young star, who played two events alongside PGA Tour superstars and signed new sponsorship deals with both TaylorMade and Nike.
“Growing up, I looked up to athletes like Maria Sharapova, Nadal, Federer, they were all wearing Nike, and obviously when it was presented to me, I was over the moon, because that was something as a child I kind of dreamt about,” Korda said. “(TaylorMade) was amazing when it came to how diligent they were with the whole process. Obviously, it was a lot of extensive testing, because to make the switch I wanted to be 100% sure. Everything honestly went really smoothly. I was hitting every club really well.”
Korda will put her new clubs and apparel to the test for the first time at this week’s Hilton Grand Vacations Tournament of Champions, where she finished T4 in 2022. In the first round she will play alongside last year’s celebrity champion Derek Lowe and actor Jack Wagner. Improving on last year’s result is an achievable goal for the Florida native, especially if she plays like she did at the QBE Shootout and PNC Championship back in December. Korda earned a T5 result in both events and was complimented throughout the week on her incredible swing.
“QBE and PNC are opportunities I'm so grateful for. I would never turn those down, especially being able to showcase women's golf,” said Korda, who played alongside PGA Tour player Denny McCarthy in Naples and then her father, Petr, in Orlando. “If I'm a slight part of that I'm super happy and super grateful to even be on that stage.”
When asked what she thought about all the compliments she received from the other participants at PNC and QBE, Korda laughed, “That they should watch more women's golf.”
“They were very kind with their words towards me, but I think if they came out here and watched all the girls compete, they would be equally impressed,” she said. “Just shows the product that we have out here, and hopefully we continue to grow that.”