Zephyr Melton

December 20, 2022

With 5 victories, a gold medal and a significant title, 2021 was the yr of Nelly Korda. However 2022 wasn’t fairly so easy.

Darren Riehl/GOLF

Bear in mind once we thought a pandemic season two years in the past was loopy? Man, 2022 had all of it. The return of Tiger Woods, the founding of a controversial golf league, the disappearance (and reappearance) of one in every of golf’s most beloved figures and a lot extra. However now let’s take a breath. Right here, we’ll look again (and look forward) on the 10 most memorable moments of 2022.

No. 10: Nelly Korda’s rollercoaster yr ended with promise for 2023

When Lexi Thompson’s birdie chip skittered previous the cup on the 72nd gap on the Pelican Girls’s Championship final month, Nelly Korda’s win was official.

Korda exited the scoring tent and accepted congratulations from the throngs assembled. She hugged fellow LPGA professionals Meghan Khang and Ally Ewing. She embraced her caddie, Jason McDede, who’s been on the bag since 2018. Then she turned to her father, Petr.

A Golf Channel crew shortly swooped in for the winner’s interview. How did it really feel to lastly get a win in 2022?

“Tremendous good, yeah. Has a pleasant ring to it,” Korda mentioned. “It’s been very nice to see my dad and mom, however …”

Her voiced trailed off as tears welled in her eyes.

“It’s been robust.”

In 2021, Korda made golf look simple. She gained 5 instances. She claimed a significant title at Atlanta Athletic Membership. She introduced house a gold medal from Tokyo. She ascended to world No. 1. It was the yr of Nelly, and she or he seemed poised to proceed her dominance in 2022. However as is so typically the case in golf, humbling experiences lay forward.

Her 2022 marketing campaign began with promise. Showing within the Match of Champions, Korda acquired out to a sizzling begin by means of 54 holes. Rounds of 68, 66 and 69 left her with a one-shot lead heading into Sunday, and one other victory appeared imminent.

It wasn’t fairly so easy. A Sunday 75 dropped her to a disappointing tie for fourth as Korda watched Danielle Kang return to the winner’s circle for the primary time since 2020.

“I struck it fairly dangerous all week however my quick recreation saved me, in order that was good,” Korda mentioned. “It’s my first event this yr and I completed within the high 5, so at the least I can take that away.”

Korda performed the next two weeks, however couldn’t fairly put all of it collectively. She notched back-to-back top-20 finishes, however she was removed from the dominant type of yesteryear.

Quickly sufficient although, her kind on the course could be removed from her greatest concern.

Nelly Korda’s 2022 was removed from what anybody had anticipated.

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In early March, Korda was identified with a blood clot. She introduced her ailment in a short put up on social media, and her staff was tight-lipped concerning the ordeal. (Later studies indicated the ailment was life-threatening.) All most people knew was that ladies’s golf’s greatest American famous person could be sidelined indefinitely.

With out Korda, the LPGA season marched on. Jennifer Kupcho gained the primary Nelly-less main of the yr, and Jin Younger Ko retook the highest spot within the Rolex Rankings. Atthaya Thitikul burst onto the scene, and Minjee Lee made her declare as the most effective participant within the recreation. Girls’s golf was in good palms, however with out Korda, there was one thing lacking.

That key ingredient returned throughout a sweltering week within the Carolina Sand Hills. Three months after surgical procedure for her blood clot, Korda returned to skilled golf on the grandest of levels — the U.S. Girls’s Open.

“I’m making an attempt not to consider it an excessive amount of,” she mentioned. “I’m simply extra grateful that I’m out right here.”

Korda’s return didn’t have storybook ending many had hoped for, however in any measurable capability, she exceeded expectations. Regardless of three months away, she arrived at Pine Needles and fired three rounds below par. She made 15 birdies over 72 holes. And he or she registered her first profession high 10 within the championship.

“In all, I’m fairly pleased with how this week went,” she mentioned. “Had no expectations. I truly had my finest end within the [U.S] Girls’s Open, so possibly I ought to simply preserve that going.”

Her momentum carried into the next event as Korda posted a T2 end on the Meijer LPGA Traditional. However whereas her play was stable, it was a far cry from her dominance of 2022. Coming off a severe harm was lots motive sufficient, however once you’re the face of girls’s golf in America, the microscope is much more intense.

The early season confirmed promise, however the sudden sidelined Korda.

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Korda had not gained on the LPGA Tour since November 2021, and others within the recreation had been staking their declare as the highest canine. Names like Thitikul and Lee dominated the highest of leaderboards, and former world No. 1 Lydia Ko made her personal cost again into relevance. Golf is a “what have you ever accomplished for me currently” world, and Korda’s dominant 2021 started to really feel like a distant reminiscence.

Three extra majors got here and went over the summer season, and Korda couldn’t break by means of in any of them. In Gee Chun held on for victory at Congressional; Brooke Henderson broke by means of at Evian; Ashleigh Buhai marveled at Muirfield.

The summer season of 2022 proved to not be the sequel to the Summer time of Nelly, however the fall confirmed indicators of promise. She gained on the Girls European Tour in Spain, and tied for second in Canada, however and not using a marquee win on her resume in 2022, her Rolex Rating dropped. In October, her world rank fell to fourth — her lowest since June 2021.

“I’d recap it [as] a rollercoaster,” Korda mentioned forward of the Pelican Girls’s Championship. “Undoubtedly a studying yr.”

The Pelican represented one in every of her ultimate photographs at glory in 2022. Though her play suffered after her harm, a win would forgive all of it. Claiming a win — on her house course in entrance of family and friends — would permit her to retake the No. 1 spot within the Rolex Rating.

Nelly Korda returned to competitors on the U.S. Girls’s Open in June.

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Korda was stable by means of two rounds on the 54-hole Pelican Championship. She saved herself within the hunt with back-to-back 66s, and within the ultimate spherical, she discovered herself in a duel with ladies’s golf’s different American famous person, Lexi Thompson.

Thompson rattled off 4 straight birdies on the opening 9 within the ultimate spherical, however Korda saved tempo with three birdies of her personal. Korda took the lead on the again 9 with birdies at 10 and 13, however Thompson wouldn’t go away, carding back-to-back circles at 13 and 14. Korda made birdies at 16 and 17, and as she performed the ultimate gap forward of Thompson, the margin was two.

With water snaking alongside the left facet of the difficult finisher, any variety of situations was in play — from heartbreak to heartache. However with a smashed drive up the proper facet, the calculus grew to become easy — put up no worse than bogey and put the stress on Thompson.

An airmailed method and failed up-and-down minimize the result in one, however when Thompson couldn’t hit the inexperienced, a miracle was wanted to drive further holes. And though her chip seemed as if it might discover the underside of the cup, her birdie bid settled a foot previous the opening.

Korda was as soon as once more on high of the golf world.

“Going by means of what I’ve been by means of this yr and regaining that world No. 1 rating is basically particular,” Korda mentioned. “It’s undoubtedly been a troublesome one this yr. I’m very grateful.”

It’d’ve been a troublesome yr, however the finish outcome was the identical. The context of all of it was far totally different, although.

The trials on and off the course had been removed from what any of us might’ve imagined. From hospitals and layoffs, to grinding to regain that outdated kind, 2022 was not the yr Korda envisioned. However like all nice gamers, the resilience is what outlined her yr.

It’s setting as much as be a yr of redemption in 2023. And if Korda’s perseverance this season is any indication, we’re in for one hell of a experience.

Zephyr Melton Editor
Zephyr Melton is an assistant editor for the place he spends his days running a blog, producing and enhancing. Previous to becoming a member of the staff at, he attended the College of Texas adopted by stops with Staff USA, the Inexperienced Bay Packers and the PGA Tour. He assists on all issues instruction and covers novice and ladies’s golf.

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