Jessica Korda picked up her second win at the 2014 LPGA season-opening Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic a fortnight ago. Here she talks about the benefits of lightening her golf club shafts, among other things.
Q. I saw your interview when you won your tournament recently. You said it was harder to win the second time than the first time, is that because the anticipation and the time you had to go through?
JESSICA KORDA: I don’t really think so; you know it’s tough going out on the LPGA tour, there are so many good players out there and the scores are really low week to week. 19 under and I barely won by just one, it’s really hard to win out there and I’m just happy that I did.
Q. And your game must be in great shape coming here?
JESSICA KORDA: I didn’t really get to practice too many days when I was at home because we had really bad weather but I tried to do as best as I could, really taking advantage of those early mornings.
Q. And you like this golf course?
JESSICA KORDA: I do, I do, this is my third year here and I love coming back here.
Q. I don’t think your form towards the end of last year was all that good, but obviously the win in the Bahamas…was it something that you did over that three week Christmas break?
JESSICA KORDA: I changed the shafts in my irons, made them a lot lighter.
Q. Was it a noticeable difference?
JESSICA KORDA: Huge, especially on my body. I didn’t have to be taped up and I wasn’t so tired after each round and my swing didn’t leave me after the second round. Because my first two rounds were really solid and then the third and fourth, well they were alright but you know the consistency in my body has changed a lot. I don’t feel sore all the time and the best part is my wrist and my shoulders do not hurt.
Q. So who came up with that idea, was it something you thought of yourself or your coach?
JESSICA KORDA: Well I changed coach as well so I went through a lot of changes this off-season. I actually came up with it with my dad because I spent a lot of time on tour and I was talking to Paula Creamer and Suzann Pettersen and they are all solid ball strikers and I was kind of going through their golf bags because my bag didn’t show up until the end of the tournament and I was like ‘Oh, what are you using, oh, what are you using, man my shafts are so heavy; I don’t understand why.’
Q. What were your shafts and what are they now?
JESSICA KORDA: They were X100’s and yeah I don’t actually know what they are right now, but the same as Suzann’s.
Q. Which tournament was that where they didn’t turn up?
JESSICA KORDA: It was Suzann Pettersen’s pro challenge in Norway.
Q. Your form over the last two years has been very, very consistent, like it was four missed cuts from 41 titles?
JESSICA KORDA: Oh I don’t know, I know I didn’t miss a cut last year which was really nice.
Q. Your form has been good but you haven’t been winning.
JESSICA KORDA: There’s this one step I feel like I’ve been cut and missing and I don’t know what is was but I felt like I was playing well, and I was practicing well but something was always missing, I was always injured or I didn’t feel well or you know, there was just that one step that I always needed to get to and you know definitely kind of changing my swing a little bit has helped me.
And changing your caddie?
And changing my caddie. That is a normal thing I would just like to say.
Q. You mentioned that your dad had a little bit of influence?
JESSICA KORDA: Well both my sister and I have heavy irons and we first tried it on her which was a nice change because everything is usually tried on me first, but she had really good feedback with it and so when I got to … which was the final test when I changed everything and I felt a lot better already, playing there, nothing hurt and then I went to Taiwan for swinging skirts with the same irons and I felt really good again so you know, it’s a learning process. That’s what you’re doing the first couple of years out there: you just have to find something that suits you. I thought that I like heavier clubs but then it affected my swing, my health and it’s just not something that will work for me, so you always try and find something better.
Q. Do people still ask you a lot about your dad, or has that sort of worn off?
JESSICA KORDA: I feel like it’s more, every time I come to Australia, but no it’s starting to slowly wear off, but yeah I like him here, it’s nice to talk about him.
Q. Is he a golfer?
JESSICA KORDA: Um, he used to golf a lot right before he caddied for me in my first year, now he plays tennis with my brother.
Q. Jessica: are you aware Karrie Webb is shooting for the record of most tournaments won – 9 wins in the masters?
JESSICA KORDA: Yeah I am. I played with her here last year, so I was very well aware of that last year.
Q. Are you going to spoil her party?
JESSICA KORDA: I’m going to try my best! It’s hard to beat Webb where she’s really comfortable. Last year I played with her and she holed a chip on one of the par 3s, on 14 and then I think on 16 she hit this unbelievable chip shot, she hit it to like a foot and all I could do was just stare at her, I was so amazed. Throughout the year I played with her a lot and I think she is one of the biggest idols for me to watch and learn from.
Q. You’ve played here twice haven’t you ?
JESSICA KORDA: This is my third year, I was sick here last time; I was at the doctor’s office most of my days.
Q. If there wasn’t the Australian Open next week, is this a tournament you would have considered coming down for on a one off basis?
JESSICA KORDA: The first year I was here I actually spent four weeks here, I played on the ALPG tour for a while. Um, I don’t know, it all depends on scheduling, you know I look at every event as how is it going to fit into my schedule and you know, kind of building up the schedule versus breaking it down. I don’t play full season or every tournament, it’s just a lot. It’s a lot of travel and you know I still want to kind of enjoy myself as well and I don’t want to be burnt out by the end of the season. I still have a long time hopefully out here. Every year I look at my schedule and see what I want to play and every year it seems to fit in, so as long as it does I would love to come back.
Q. When you went home last week, where is home?
JESSICA KORDA: …, Florida. It’s south of Tampa.
Q. So the weather was pretty ordinary was it?
JESSICA KORDA: Yeah it was rainy and it was cold, it’s nice now though!
Q. What’s your sister’s name?
JESSICA KORDA: Nelly.
Q. The name of your coach now and who’s caddying for you this year?
JESSICA KORDA: My coach’s name is Grant Price, he is a Golf Coach at the IMG Academy, I’ve known him since I was 15 years old when he came over on about a 5 month trial session from Austria, he’s a good guy, I have all the respect for him in the world. He’s motivating me to be not only a better person but a better golfer and I couldn’t find a more positive person and my caddie is Kyle Bradley; he’s from Augusta, I’d never met him before and we were on the phone and I really liked his southern accent. I was like, man, I like that and so I asked him to come and caddie for me in the Bahamas for just like a week trial and we got on really well. I think we have very similar golf games, he’s also a really good golfer so we always agreed on the lines and feel it out the same way. I had a blast with him, he’s not here with me for these two weeks but he will join me in Thailand.
Q. Who’s caddying these couple of weeks?
JESSICA KORDA: I just have a little kid, and a different one next week.
Q. The IMG academy: where is that based?
JESSICA KORDA: Bradenton, Florida, yeah in my backyard, I grew up there.