Nelly Korda reveals valuable life lessons ahead of historic U.S. Women’s Open

You can learn a lot from watching Nelly Korda play golf.

Her swing is picture-perfect. Her tempo, flawless. Her ability to bounce back after a mishit, also impressive.

But she struck a chord at the U.S. Women’s Open on Tuesday, when she fielded a question about expectations and priorities.

“I don’t think some [expectations] annoy me. I think, obviously, with the position I’m in, there are going to be expectations,” Korda said.

“I do not want to lose who I am. I’m going to always stay true to who I am because at the end of the day when I go to sleep, I need to be proud of who I am.”

Korda has won six of her last seven events on the LPGA Tour, with one coming at the Chevron Championship, the season’s first major. She most recently won at the Mizuho Americas Open, despite having her “C and D” game during Sunday’s final round.

So she has every reason to feel proud of herself and her accomplishments this year, which only Annika Sorenstam and Nancy Lopez have ever done before her.

Nelly Korda, Met Gala

Nelly Korda at the 2024 Met Gala.
Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images

She could even bask in the glory of it all, especially on the heels of her Met Gala appearance. Nobody would blame her. But that is not who she is.

Instead, Korda does not care what others think. She cares about herself, her well-being, and her family—similar to how Scottie Scheffler has operated throughout his career and historic 2024 season.

“For me, I need to give 100 percent of myself every single day to not just my golf, my family, my workouts, and life outside of golf,” Korda said.

“That’s the number one thing for me.”

Korda has a life outside of golf that she cherishes. She is close with her family, often spending prolonged periods with them.

After her most recent victory at Liberty National, immediately following her winning press conference, Korda went straight to the airport to catch a flight home—to get straight to her family.

She also took two months off earlier this year.

That absence was not due to injury. Instead, she spent time with her loved ones, traveled with them, and cherished every moment.

“I love to get away and spend a lot of time with my family,” Korda added.

“As a kid, my parents really instilled that family values and hanging around our family and just disconnecting from the world has really been important to us.”

In the age of social media, in which people compare each other to one another all the time—primarily for self-deprecating reasons—everyone should embrace Korda’s sentiments.

She has no expectations of herself and goes at her own speed.

Nelly Korda, USGA, U.S. Women’s Open

Nelly Korda ahead of the 2024 U.S. Women’s Open.
Dustin Satloff/USGA

She focuses on what she believes in: having a holistic approach to life that revolves around her family.

But life has its obstacles. Anyone who has ever picked up a golf club can relate to that.

With the weight of the LPGA now on her shoulders, Korda may face those soon enough.

Others certainly have before. Before Korda emerged as the LPGA’s biggest star, people placed a tsunami of expectations on Michelle Wie West and Lexi Thompson. Pundits dubbed both prodigies as the stars of the future, but they went on to win a combined two major championships, far less than what anyone predicted.

That’s not to say that they failed. Both players had remarkably successful careers.

Their values do not differ greatly from Korda’s, either. Thompson even spoke about the importance of her loved ones on Tuesday when she announced her retirement at the U.S. Women’s Open.

But being under the spotlight is no easy task, especially in today’s day and age.

The lights are always on, the cameras are constantly rolling, and somebody, somewhere, always has an opinion and an expectation of someone else.

Perhaps that is why Korda does not have any herself.

“I go into every week wanting to win, but there is a sense that sometimes that’s not realistic,” Korda explained.

“I don’t think I have any expectations. I just try to be very, very pure and very, very honest with everyone around me, and I hope that they see that I am proud of the person that I am at the end of the day, and that is how I hope that I grow the game.”

Hearing what Korda said speaks volumes about her character and dignity.

But it also sheds light on why she has had so much success.

Who knows how many more trophies Korda will bring home to her family, an accomplished set of athletes in their own right.

However, one thing remains certain: her values speak for themselves. Everyone should look to her not as a barometer of expectations on the course but as a beacon of morals that revolve around the people that matter most: family.

Jack Milko is a golf staff writer for SB Nation’s Playing Through. Be sure to check out @_PlayingThrough for more golf coverage. You can follow him on Twitter @jack_milko as well.

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