Nelly Korda Teases the Field, Then Slams the Door, and Now Owns the Gold
This is merely an observation, but it seems like there's anecdotal evidence for it everywhere.
Elite jocks do more than impart good genes into their young and complement it with high-end training and development.
These next generation athletes come equipped with the mental strength to power through competitive moments. Their composure and intensity come to the fore whenever the rubber really meets the road.
North Americans see this advantage displayed in most of their sports. For example:
- Fernando Tatis Jr and Vladimir Guerrero Jr are but two scions who excel in baseball's crucible where only failing seven times outta ten can make you a kajillionaire;
- Alex Ovechkin is the son of a pair of professionals, dad in soccer and mom in hoops; and
- Stephen Curry is clearly more than just a chip offa ol' Dell's block.
- Jessica also made the USA Olympic golf team;
- Sebastian is currently ranked No 45 on tennis' ATP circuit; and
- Nelly, who's made her way to the top in women's golf in dynamic fashion.
She's already rung up three victories on the LPGA Tour, with the lastest happening on the final week of June at the Gainbridge elevating her to the World's No 1. In so doing, Nelly became the first American to hold that status since Christie Kerr in 2010. The first ever was Stacy Lewis in 2013-2014,
Damn right it does. Consistent success like that doesn't come without focus and intensity.
This is exactly what showed in the Olympic tourney's final round.
Nelly had been cruising the first three days, almost carding a 59 on the first day. She 'settled' for a 61, building a cushion from the field that varied between three and four shots.
Until the Par -3 7th hole in Round 4.
That's not a good look when ...
- It's off the green as the result of a less-than-accurate drive, and
- It's the exact same situation for both her second and third shot.
As far as pace of play goes, Nelly's the anti-Bryson. It's usually an admirable trait, but when her first pitch didn't clear the rise, she immediately gave it another go instead of gathering herself. The ball again came right back down to her as if it was a lost puppy.
Damn near 3½ rounds of work to lead the pack. Gone in an impulsive moment.
This, though, is where the wheat is separated from the chaff, where inspiration turbocharges determination. Adversity is where greatness is forged.
Maybe it was shrouded by Nelly's ice queen persona, but this is when her mental strength kicked in.
She steadied her game and followed that disaster with three straight birds:
- Draining a 20-foot putt on the Par-5 8th,
- Dropping a 12-footer on the Par-4 9th, and
- Holing another 12-footer on the Par-3 10th.
Supported by nerves of steel and a self-confidence that'll serve her well for the rest of her career.
Combined with Zander Schauffele's win in the men's tournament, the USA swept Tokyo's Olympic golf events.
In the aftermath, Inami made her countrymates happy by claiming the silver medal in a playoff with Ko. The New Zealander just as inexplicably plugged her approach into a deep sand trap on the 18th like Collin Morikawa did in the men's bronze playoff. She didn't recover, either.
Back to the champion, Nelly became the first American woman to win a gold in golf since 1900. She's only 23, so the odds are strong she'll be in Paris to defend her title.
There's little doubt that in three years' time, she'll have even more.