Q&A: Jessica Korda
The New Girl
Continued (page 2 of 2)
Q: How does it feel to be part of this whole new generation of young players that everybody's counting on for the future of the game?
JK: It's good. There are a lot of expectations, for example, on seeing Lexi [Thompson] deliver and she's done very well. We just want to help grow the game and get all the younger girls inspired to try golf and see if they like it. There's no point in trying to avoid the spotlight. I love what I do and I think I have one of the best jobs out there; I get paid to do what I love. So I can't complain about it. But it's nice to see younger girls -- and boys -- pick up the game of golf. It's one of the sports that you can play with literally anybody. They don't have to be good, or you can be great -- it just depends. You can play with your whole family.
Q: So you learned a lot in year one, then you came out as a sophomore player and went to Australia, without your dad, and you won the Australian Open at Royal Melbourne in a six-way playoff. Take us through what went down.
JK: I'm still trying to understand it. I fell in love with the golf course the first time I stepped on it, and I actually got to play with Lori Kane. She's like a big sister to me out on tour. She bought my celebratory dinner. She's just a really great person. My dad and she got talking last year during the NHL playoffs, and his past half a year we've gotten really close.
Q: What was it like to travel alone?
JK: It was great. I learned how to cook, so that's good. I definitely had some new adventures. I managed to set off a fire alarm in the hotel. I was cooking and there was no way to get the smoke out of my room. I didn't burn anything, but the smoke coming off the chicken set off the fire alarm. And when the alarm started, I had a huge panic. [Laughs.]
Q: And when you found yourself in the lead going into Sunday, what was going through your head?
JK: I was actually really calm. I was very happy, of course -- I'd played really well. I just went back to the hotel, took a shower, cooked myself a dinner and then watched The Parent Trap and went to bed. And then Sunday, I was really nervous. I talked to my parents in the morning and my dad told me to turn off my phone, and I did. But then I was so anxious and so nervous that I called my friend and said, "Just talk to me. Say anything you want, just talk to me." And then he talked to me most of the morning, up until I got to the golf course. I was still quite nervous when I got there, so I started running laps in the parking lot. Then I went into the locker room and just did my thing and came out and I felt a lot better.
Q: What does running laps do?
JK: I have no idea. When I'm stressed, I like to run.
Q: That's cool. Did anybody see you?
JK: Yes, there were quite a lot of people who stopped to see what the heck I was doing. But it calmed me down. I don't know how I won; I definitely think somebody was watching over me.
Q: Now that you've won your first event, what's your next goal?
JK: First of all, now I can actually set a schedule. I know what tournaments I'm going to be in, and I know that I don't have to qualify for pretty much anything. That's a huge relief. But I don't really set that many goals, I just want to have fun out there and enjoy what I do. When a win comes, a win comes. It would be nice to win again hopefully this year, but there are so many great players out there that we'll see what happens. You know, just go out and enjoy the year. I'm really excited to see what the rest of the year brings.
Q: What about the cooking thing, is that something you're going to continue?
JK: We'll see. If I can avoid setting off any more alarms and having any more panic attacks, then we're going to be okay. But I wasn't following any recipes, I was just winging it, and I had really good meals. So maybe I should keep cooking.