BRADENTON, Fla. ― Nelly Korda is back home. To the professional golfer who spends much of their year living in hotel rooms and out of suitcases, that can mean many things. But to the 25-year-old Korda, it carries one special perk.
A closet stuffed with clothes.
“It’s definitely weird staying at home and sleeping in my own bed,” she said, “and having a closet full of options for the week and not living out of a suitcase. But it’s been nice. I live 40-ish minutes away, so not too close. My parents probably live like 15, so I’ll be stopping by their house for dinner probably every single day. A little spoiled.”
Korda hopes her hometown fans turn out to support her over the four-day tournament ending Sunday, but their attendance won’t simply be rooted in cheering on a favorite daughter. If they fancy watching world-class golf, from a player once ranked No. 1 in the world, they can’t do much better than focusing on the younger daughter of former pro tennis players Petr Korda and Regina Rajchrtova.
That top ranking happened in 2021, when Korda played in 17 tournaments, made the cut in 16, and won four LPGA events, the biggest being the Women’s PGA Championship. She’ll enter the Drive On Championship ranked fourth in the world, behind Lilia Vu, Ruoning Yin, and Celine Boutier.
That she’s played the Bradenton Country Club course before won’t offer Korda any kind of advantage. Perhaps if she had played it scores of times, but those occasions only came as a junior golfer and several times for the U.S. Open qualifier.
“I’m usually out at The Concession, Sara Bay, and the Ritz,” she said. “Overall, it’s nice to play a golf course you kind of know. It’s kind of like going to a tournament where you’ve played most of your career where you, like, let’s say Lake Nona. I’ve played out there probably just as much as I’ve played out here.”
In 2021, when she advanced to No. 1 in the world, Korda capped that year by winning the gold medal for the United States in the women’s golf event at the Tokyo Olympics. Winning gold wasn’t the highlight for Korda. Her memory was getting to share it with older sister Jessica.