CME Group Tour Championship

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Naples, Florida, USA

Tiburon Golf Club

Nelly Korda

Press Conference

THE MODERATOR: All right, welcome inside the virtual and not so virtual media center here at the CME Group Tour Championship. I am pleased to be joined here with Nelly.

First I want to ask, I know you've been a busy player, but have you have been able to reflect on your play last week and just that spectacular finish?

NELLY KORDA: Yeah, I got to celebrate a little. I kind of drove home after. It was nice. I live in between Tampa and Naples, so spent the evening with my parents, and Megan Khang as well was there. She's staying at my place.

Got to celebrate, and then I got on the road on Monday and played -- practiced yesterday and I think I played nine holes. I did, yes.

So, you know, you kind of have to start getting ready and get that mindset of you're starting on Thursday again.

Q. You've done it four times this season, but what's it like to have something like that happen on Sunday and then automatically -- is it easier now for you to change back into just any other tournament?

NELLY KORDA: I think it just depends the level of stress. I did not make it easy on the last couple holes on Sunday, but I think I'm definitely learning kind of more about my body and how to take the next day after.

But I think you always kind of get hit. You feel like you get hit by a bus one day the next week, so I've definitely felt a little bit more tired today and just going to take it easy this afternoon.

I have a pro-am tomorrow and tee it up on Thursday.

Q. How does that set you up for the week? Knowing you were able to go home, relax a little bit before coming here, how does that make this week a little bit easier for you?

NELLY KORDA: Yeah, definitely felt nice. Got to do laundry, change up my outfits a little, which not many people get to do.

As I said, it was really nice to go home and spend some time with my parents and kind of sleep in my own bed, have breakfast just down the street, and take it easy in the morning and drive over.

So it was nice.

Q. Here we are at the season-ending competition. Kind of feels like it flew by. Maybe at some points it didn't. As you gear up for this tournament on this course, this is definitely a familiar place for you. What's it like being back here?

NELLY KORDA: Yeah, I love this event. I love this golf course. I love any type of Florida event I can drive to. I always feel so much more at home and have family and friends come out.

I've played well at this golf course. I mean, I grew up in Florida on bermuda grass, so it's kind of easier for me to adapt to this.

But, yeah, I mean, I'm super excited to be back, and hopefully I can give it a good shot this year.

Q. And when you're so comfortable on a course like a Florida course, coming off a win how much confidence do you have now that we're at the last event of the season as you roll into this season-ending event?

NELLY KORDA: Yeah, last week was definitely a confidence boost, but I've always said it's really hard to kind of win back to back because you're definitely a little mentally and physically drained from the week prior.

So making sure that I'm well rested and that I'm 100% going into Thursday, and that I'm 100% -- that I'll be 100% going into Sunday as well is probably going to be my main focus this week.

Q. Got a little bit of weather incoming Thursday and a little bit over this weekend. But on top of that, just you've been able to play a couple holes out there. What is Tiburon like for you this year as compared to other years?

NELLY KORDA: I think it's in better shape this year. Last year we played in December and it was a little bare and sandy in some run-off areas, especially 17.

So I think the greens are rolling really nicely and I think the course is in great condition.

Q. Congrats again.

NELLY KORDA: Thank you.

Q. Going to start with a fun one. Where do you keep your trophies, specifically the KPMG and the gold medal especially?

NELLY KORDA: So I actually haven't received the KPMG trophy yet, but I have an office area in my condo that I keep all my trophies. It's a little unorganized right now, but that'll be one of my off-season projects.

The gold medal is in my office area. I'm hoping to put in like a little display where it's easy to take in and out.

Q. Has it been anywhere cool so far?

NELLY KORDA: It's been all over. I mean, it came to the British with me. It's been honestly all over the world.

Q. Just like in your suitcase or backpack?

NELLY KORDA: Yeah. I actually didn't even have a case for it so I just had it like -- it was pretty much like in a sock. (Laughter.)

I didn't want to scratch it, so I it went in a sock. Once I got to the States I -- every single time I went through security I got stopped and I was like, Okay, just be really careful with it when you pull it out. Don't scratch it. (Laughter.)

Q. I'm sure you got some great reactions from the TSA people.

NELLY KORDA: Yeah, it's usually, Wow.

Q. Okay. Then just one more quick topic. Can you remind me when you went back to David and how do you think that decision has helped get you kind of to where you are now?

NELLY KORDA: David Whelan?

Q. Yes.

NELLY KORDA: Yeah, I mean, I start working with David when I was 15. He's always been kind of -- he was my swing coach and then we kind of went our separate ways, and then I just kind of -- my main work with him is just short game, around the green.

Q. Like now in real time?


Q. Who do you work with on your swing now?

NELLY KORDA: As of right now, Jamie Mulligan. I started working with him couple weeks ago.

Q. Oh, wow, that was quick. (Laughter.) What are you guys working on?

NELLY KORDA: Because I'm in-season, not much right now. I think it's just more of kind of maintaining. There is just a couple things I do with my wedges, but mainly just maintaining as of right now.

Q. One more and then I promise I'll be quiet. Why Jamie?

NELLY KORDA: That's a good question. I know Jess is really good friends with Patrick Cantlay and, I don't know, I've just kind of -- I've kind of surfed around. I thought about a couple coaches here and will and I liked his demeanor, I like the way he's super positive.

I don't know. I think we've just clicked kind of since the first day and I really enjoy being around him.

Q. Have you gotten to a point where you know your own golf swing now that a coach is really just kind of somebody who's looking for specific things and nodding and saying yes a lot?

NELLY KORDA: Yeah, I definitely do know my golf swing. I've kind of gotten really obsessed with it in the past couple of years, I think. I think it's very important since you're kind of by yourself week in and week out to be your own coach in a sense and kind of know some stuff about it.

But I think it's super importance also to have the guidance and to have someone to lean on.

Q. Golf is so much about feel, and people feel things different ways. Is this something where you're just looking for someone who can give a different sensation to try to feel out there?

NELLY KORDA: Yeah, I mean, as I said, sometimes you just need someone to lean on, give you new ideas, and kind of bounce ideas back and forth.

I mean, I go to my caddie all the time and I ask him if I'm not hitting it well, what do you see? Do you see something wrong? So I always try to bounce ideas.

Q. One more. When you won at Lake Nona, the next week in Ocala you said, I'm exhausted. I don't know how people win two weeks in a row. Clearly you've gotten over that. What have you done to get to the point where after a win you're able to bounce back?

NELLY KORDA: I mean, I've just done it once, so never know. I think, as I said, I think just kind of learning your body and knowing that sometimes it's just better to rest than to go out and grind is super important.

Q. Building off your strong performance last week, your scoring average dropped in the 68s, and it would be the second lowest average tow win the Vare Trophy of all-time. If you could qualify. Does missing out on potentially landing a historic mark further add to your emotions you shared ahead of Pelican last week about the Vare Trophy?

NELLY KORDA: No. Think I've kind of come to terms with it. It's fine. I didn't really -- honestly, I have not even thought of that as one of my goals in all honesty going into this year.

My goal was to contend in majors and be healthy throughout the year, to play to the best of my ability. I'm not a huge kind of -- I'm not a player that's going to go out and be like, okay, I want to win this award, this award, this award.

I am the type of player I want to stay healthy throughout the year, contend in majors, and I just want to have fun out there.

Q. That low scoring average is a consequence of your strong play throughout the year. If you could have qualified you could have had a shot to break Annika's all-time record. What has that opportunity to surpass Annika meant?

NELLY KORDA: Yeah, getting mention alongside her is a huge honor.

I mean, it's kind of could have, would have. I'm not going to reach it, so I try not to think about it.

But it would've been a huge honor, and to be mentioned alongside her is pretty cool.

Q. You're in contention for Rolex Player of the Year as well. You've kind of always said good golf, kind of the results will come if you play the good golf. What does that honor mean, and how satisfied with a season like this, to be in contention like that? I know you just said you don't go good every single week saying, I want to win this award, this award, this award, but to be in contention like here after the season you had, what does that mean to you?

NELLY KORDA: Yeah, it's crazy because usually I come to this event and I'm so far away from that. I see so many girls that have had an amazing year, and I'm like, okay, I would have to play amazing to even be in contention for that.

So the fact that I'm in contention just shows how well I've played this year and shows how much my hard work has been paying off.

Q. Yeah. And I think also one of those things that a lot of people don't necessarily know is all the behind-the-scenes stuff that you're doing and everything that goes into a week. Now that this is the week, the last week of the year, when do you reflect on what you've done the past season?

NELLY KORDA: Next week. (Laughter.) After this event. Yeah, I'll take a week where I don't touch my clubs and probably reflect and just think about the entire season.

Then start getting ready for next season.

Q. And I think one the last questions here. Once again, if there are any other questions on Zoom, please let me know. One of the biggest storylines of the week is the winner of this $1.5 million, the largest winner's check in women's golf. What would it mean to you to be able to take home that legendary prize?

NELLY KORDA: Well, everyone would get a really nice Christmas present.

I mean, it would be crazy to win that. I mean, you never know, but as I said, good golf will solve that. I haven't even tee'd it up on Thursday, or the pro-am, so still a long ways away.

But, yeah, I mean, it would be nice to win another one at home. Before this year I haven't -- I didn't win a tournament on home soil, so it would be nice to do it in front of family.

Still a long ways away.

Q. You're kind of the Florida winner here with Lake Nona and then Pelican. I was just curious if there was anything that you can point to that was sort of a catalyst for this breakout year that you've had when you kind of look back over the course of the season or maybe the off-season last year? Not that there was much of one.

NELLY KORDA: Probably the missed cut at the U.S. Women's Open. I think that was kind of my turning point where I just kind of changed my demeanor a little out there. I was really disappointed after that missed cut.

I kind of turned it on after that.

THE MODERATOR: All right. If that is all, I think we'll wrap it up here. Thank you, Nelly, for joining us.

NELLY KORDA: Thank you.

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