Time Away gives Nelly a new perspective | LPGA


BETHESDA, MARYLAND | For those of a certain age, Joni Mitchell’s sweet, husky tones have melted our hearts for years. One of Joni’s classic lyrics came to mind this week at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship when Nelly Korda described her four months out of golf while she recovered from a dangerous blood clot.

“It doesn’t always seem to go / That you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone.”

“I think life is about perspective,” Korda said before teeing off at the third major of the season, in which she is the defending champion. “When you look at it in a different way, you enjoy and have a lot more respect for the game, and you’re also a lot more humble about it. You just have so much more fun. I think that helps a lot in golf.”


It’s true in golf, but it’s also true in every other profession and personal relationship. Whatever stage of life you’re experiencing, it’s easy to believe that things will stay the way they are forever, or that the upward trends you’ve seen up to this point will continue in perpetuity. In business investing, when you project today’s earnings into foreverland, it’s called “extrapolation madness.” In life, when you assume that today’s good fortunes will never end, it’s called youthful naivety.

Life is going to punch you in the mouth. It is not a question of if; is when and how bad it’s going to be. Character is how you respond.

“I just worked out a lot, honestly,” Korda said of his time back in the game, a moment no one was sure would come when news of his blood clot and subsequent surgery broke. “I have worked a lot on my body and also on my golf game since I got back. I’ve only been about consistency.

“I think it’s also about the attitude you have on the golf course. I feel like the more you enjoy it, the better you play, the less you get upset, the less things go wrong, I guess, in a sense.

“Since I came back, I made sure to have a good attitude and enjoy every second, and I think that contributed to my good game.”

The good move has been more than surprising. It’s one thing to come back after a four-month break and have a good round or two. But then rust grinds the gears and your brain reminds you how tough competitive golf can be. But Korda started out as if she was never out, finishing T8 at the US Women’s Open and losing in a playoff to Jennifer Kupcho at the Meijer LPGA Classic supporting Simply Give.

“I made sure I was 100% before I came back and even hit golf balls,” Korda said. “My health came first.

“Once I was healthy and did my rehab, even just for my shoulder, because last year I was struggling with it, I made sure I could kill two birds with one stone. I’ve said it a couple of times, but I’ll keep doing it. I also made sure to have my coach, Jamie Mulligan, present when he was hitting golf balls for the first time. I think that was very important to me because it was the longest time I’ve ever gone without hitting a golf ball.

“I have a physio with me and I do a lot of things before and after the round, so I keep working hard. I’m still making sure I’m doing everything. I am putting much more time into my body. In a sense, being what my parents say is a bit ‘more professional’.

“I usually get to the golf course two hours before my tee time, and after (the round) it just depends on my body. Obviously, if I’m not hitting well, I’ll have a bit of a warm-up, but I’ll always have an hour-long session with my physio afterwards too.”

Korda then provided a deeper insight into his life, a brief glimpse of what things were like before, during, and after his medical scare.

“Since I started (playing) it’s been a bit fast-paced and I’ve been practicing,” he said. “I haven’t taken more than two or three days off since then. I’m happy to be here playing competitive golf.”

Korda then looked toward the green of the Congressional Country Club, but he was seeing something in the distance.

“I gave myself a chance last week,” he said. “If you had told me that when I was lying in the ER, I definitely would have been very happy.”