July 30, 2020
Toledo, Ohio, USA
THE MODERATOR: Welcome again to the virtual media center here at the Drive On Championship. I think by now we all get how the chat function works.
Before that, I'm happy to be joined now by Rolex Rankings No. 2, Nelly Korda.
Nelly, how are you doing today?
NELLY KORDA: Good. Doing well.
THE MODERATOR: I been asking every player that comes in, but how excited are you to be at an LPGA Tour event?
NELLY KORDA: Oh, so excited. I'm definitely excited to get my adrenaline out. It's been just sitting inside me for a couple months. Definitely excited to get out.
THE MODERATOR: We have been in quarantine in different parts of the country for the past couple months. What has quarantine been like for you? Have you been able to take a break from golf, or were you still in kind of a competitive mindset over the past couple months?
NELLY KORDA: It was kind of hard, but thankfully the golf courses were open in my area in Sarasota. I know my sister, they shut down in her county. It's hard. You go to the golf course and you're like, Okay, what am I practicing for? It's hard.
But thankfully I have a couple friends there so we had -- we did a couple matches here and there. I took maybe two weeks off where I didn't touch a golf club. Try to maybe work on my fitness a little, but I still practiced a lot.
THE MODERATOR: I know we've never really had a break like this before and probably in your LPGA Tour career. When you were able to take that break, how much do you think that helped in preparation for this event.
NELLY KORDA: You know, at the start of the year I wasn't really playing well. My first three events I was kind of dealing with club changes, not sure what I wanted to put in the bag. I completely changed my clubs again since then, so I was really kind of tweaking with everything.
Kind of taking a break and letting my -- at the end of the day it was kind of a short off season. I never really got to really relax. I maybe just took like a like a week, week and a half off where I completely got to relax, so it was actually really nice to give my mind kind of like a reset.
THE MODERATOR: I think a lot of times we need some mind resets. I know you've also been doing some cool virtual activities during your quarantine. You definitely went up against your sister in the LPGA e-Tour. Take us through that.
NELLY KORDA: Well, I started out strong, but then whenever you start out strong it's just (indiscernible.)
Yeah, she crushed me. It was cool. I've never done anything like that. I kind of always played video games with my brother because my brother and I are just two years apart and he loves video games, but it was cool. I never really played a lot of golf virtual video games.
THE MODERATOR: And then you also did a simulated match with some of the players over in Korea.
NELLY KORDA: That was so cool. I've never played simulator golf actually. That was my first time. The putting was really hard to figure out, but it was a really cool experience. I would definitely do it again.
THE MODERATOR: That's awesome. Here we are now at the LPGA Drive On Championship starting off at Inverness Club. Have you been out there yet? And if so, what have you seen about the course or heard about the course?
NELLY KORDA: Yeah, so I played 18 holes yesterday. We only have two days to really touch all the holes, so I went and played 18 yesterday. I'm going to play 9 today. It's a tough track.
You definitely have to hit it really well off the tee. They told me it's just going to get firmer throughout the week. It was already firm yesterday. The greens undulation, it's crazy. It's going to be a real test the first week back.
No, it's going to be a really fun truck. It's a super nice course.
THE MODERATOR: It's interesting also that this is a unique experience for people itching to get back on to the U.S. Solheim Cup team, as this is the host site for 2021. Is that in the back of your mind as you play this week?
NELLY KORDA: Kind of; not really though. I always say if I play good, consistent golf, it'll get me there. I'm super excited to see where next year's Solheim Cup will be, and it's a really nice track and I think it's going to be a lot of fun.
THE MODERATOR: All right. Open it up to some questions here.
Q. My question is with your sister, you guys live in different regions of Florida, right? Were you able to get together to play a bit? How much does that help to have a world-class player that you can go compete with and play with during this pandemic?
NELLY KORDA: Yeah, so I live in Sarasota and she lives in Jupiter, but I went over a couple weeks ago for about two weeks because the courses were all shutting down on my side due to aerification.
But it's nice. When I went over there she was playing so well. She was beating me by probably like five shots every round we were playing. So it was kind of good to go over there and get that competitiveness kind of going.
But she only came over a couple times. We didn't really see each other too much. But, yeah, it was super nice.
Q. And the other one is a follow up about the golf course. What kind of player do you think it favors? Who will do well there?
NELLY KORDA: I think anyone can really do well here, because I don't even hit driver too often. There is like too many bunkers in the way sometimes. And it's going to get firmer. It's already pretty firm.
Even though playing it as a long yardage, I think the girls that their balls run are just going to hit it as far as us, so really like anyone can win out here. It's just going to take consistent golf off the tee, hit as many greens as you can. The greens are undulated. Just try to get it on the green and give yourself an opportunity.
Q. One more: How daunting is it that you're playing a major championship course in what really must feel like the season opener? How challenging will that be right off the bat with a little rust?
NELLY KORDA: Yeah, we were kind of joking yesterday. This is a great first event back. It really challenges your game.
It's super nice. I mean, on 18, it's crazy. I've never seen this. Like even the way they cut their grass here, it gives you such a major championship feel when you're out there. It's crazy. It's super nice though.
Q. Did you try anything new over the break?
NELLY KORDA: Well, I moved into my apartment, so I was kind of furnishing it, figuring out living on my own.
Q. That's new.
NELLY KORDA: Yeah. Doing my own laundry every week. Which I do on the road, by the way. But it's just different. It's a different feel. I liked it. It was cool. I had a lot of fun. I'm still furnishing it. It's hard to kind of go to a store because I feel like all the production is really behind, so you're not seeing a lot of new furniture. So it's a work in progress still.
Q. How far do you live now from your parents?
NELLY KORDA: Like 20 minutes, so I still see them almost every day.
Q. Got you. Got you.
NELLY KORDA: Hey, what are you guys doing for dinner? Can I come over. (Laughter.)
Q. Sounds likely.
NELLY KORDA: Yeah.
Q. Lexi said she only hit two drivers today off the tee. What are you hitting off the tee?
NELLY KORDA: Not many drivers. Couple hybrids, 3-woods. It's just going to get firmer throughout the week, so you could see a lot of girls, a lot of the longer girls hitting even irons off the tees.
Q. Are you staying with your sister this week or what's the housing situation?
NELLY KORDA: No. We're in a hotel, but we're both separate.
Q. Is that partly for COVID too or...
NELLY KORDA: Well, she usually travels with Charlie, so, no. We always stay in different hotels. I mean, occasionally we get like a suite with two rooms, but we rarely ever stay like together in one room with two beds.
Q. And just real quick, is there anything about this whole coming out and playing in a pandemic that made you think twice at all about coming out to play this week? Was it an easy decision for you? What's been the toughest part about it?
NELLY KORDA: No, it was really easy. I just want to get out, get out of Florida, to be honest. I really -- I've just been missing competitive golf. Been missing traveling. Missing being on the road. It's just super easy. The only thing that's kind of worrying is maybe going overseas. I know for a couple girls, like let's say you get it on the flight. You have to quarantine there for 14 days until you test negative and then you can come back. So that's only the thing in my back of my head.
Other than that, no, I was super eager to come out.
Q. Kind of going off the last question you got, how nice is it that these first two tournaments are in the same place? You can stay here, stay in the same room or whatever, and then having the charter to Scotland and back. Does it make it way easier and more eager to play maybe?
NELLY KORDA: Yeah, I mean, definitely kind of -- you kind of feel like you're making yourself at home if you're here for two weeks. It's going to be nice. It's a lot easier for sure to start out.
But I'm not playing that first event in Scotland, so I'm going to go home and then go over there for British and then play Arkansas.
Q. And then as far as the driver being taken out of your hand, I don't know, do you feel like that neutralizes you at all or anything like that?
NELLY KORDA: No. I mean, I wish that I could hit driver more often. I love hitting my driver and I feel like -- I don't know. In a way it's not a short golf course. It's just the way it's like shaped. You're putting too much into play.
So it's definitely going to be about smart golf this week.
Q. Just curious, what was the biggest surprise when you showed up in terms of procedures or the different looks? What have your emotions been this week? Anxious? Excited?
NELLY KORDA: I think I have all the emotions. Obviously a little nervous, haven't been playing in a while competitiveness. I'm just super eager to get out there.
But it's super weird to see everyone with masks on. I'm like, Who's that? Is that you? I don't recognize you. But it's been super easy. I was kind of -- I wasn't sure what I was going to kind of see or how it was going to go, but it's been actually super easy.
Q. Yeah, just want to ask about your clubs. You said you switched them all and switched them all again. Exactly what is in your bag now that was in your bag the last time you played?
NELLY KORDA: So last time I played, the only clubs that are the same in my bag are my two hybrids and my 3-wood and maybe my driver. Everything is different.
Q. Does that mean you have more than one driver you're choosing between or you can't remember?
NELLY KORDA: No. I have -- I'm right now between the Epic. I've been playing the Epic for a few years now, the old Epic, and I'm between the Maverick. So I'm not sure which one I'm going to hit.
It's kind of like I've been playing so well with that Epic for such a long time that it's just like a comfort thing.
I don't know. We'll see.
THE MODERATOR: I have one also. Just we kind of talked about it. You're excited. You've had these competitive juices in you for months now. I know I asked how exciting it is to be at one LPGA event, but how exciting is it to prepare for multiple now that we have scheduled events and now you can prepare you body for them?
NELLY KORDA: Yeah. Well, so I usually travel with a physio, a couple girls, and we don't have physios for these next couple weeks. Jess and I actually have one suitcase just for recovery stuff.
So I'm a little nervous about that, how my body is going to hold up, because I've always had a physio with me.
But I'm definitely super excited. We are prepared, so hopefully it all goes well.
THE MODERATOR: All right. I think that is it from everyone else. Thank you all for joining us today, and thank you, Nelly, for sitting down with us.
NELLY KORDA: Thank you.
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