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First equality, then respect: Nelly Korda believes new-mixed team event is the ‘perfect’ next step to grow women’s golf

When Nelly Korda faced off against two of the PGA Tour’s finest in December, she received rave reviews.

“It’s a testament to these other ladies that anyone can even sniff beating her because that was wildly impressive,” Max Homa marveled to reporters after he and Kevin Kisner faced Korda and Denny McCarthy at the QBE Shootout, a team-based unofficial money event on the PGA Tour.

Kisner, a four-time winner on the PGA Tour, was equally in awe of the women’s world No. 2.

Not since 1999, when Laura Davies and John Daly paired to clinch the last JCPenney Classic, have the two tours co-hosted an annual mixed-team competition. Korda could not be more excited.

“It’s something so different and so unique, I’m so grateful to be a part of it,” she said.

“Growing step by step, little by little, and learning from mistakes, I think the end result will make our foundation way stronger than immediately growing super-fast,” Korda said.

“From where we were 10 years ago to what we are now, it’s amazing to see how much we have grown and the respect that we are getting.

“You can have equality and you may still not have the respect from people. And I think once you gain the respect, everything kind of meshes into one and it becomes way greater than the equality.”

In Finau, Korda will play alongside one of the leading lights of Netflix’s “Full Swing,” a fly-on-the-wall show documenting the 2022 PGA Tour season. Episode six sees the American charm as a golfer working hard to balance his career with family commitments.

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“I’m sure everyone knows that now with the Netflix documentary that’s come out about the PGA Tour and I’ve heard that his episode’s a really big hit.

“I’m just excited to get to know him more and I think overall he’s such a solid player. I’m really excited to compete alongside him.”

Pressure will be on the US Team to prevent a European three-peat, following defeat at Gleneagles, Scotland in 2019 and a home loss at Inverness Club, Ohio in 2021.

“At the end of the day golf is so individual that it’s nice to have teammates and not just play for yourself, but play for them, play for your captain, play for your country,” she said.

“It just brings in a new level of respect and it’s so much fun. Every single time I have the opportunity to do that, I’m full of pride.”