Monday May 20, 2024

Scheffler, Korda take men’s and women’s game by storm with dominant runs

By Reuters
April 24, 2024
Scottie Scheffler (right) and Nelly Korda. — AFP File
Scottie Scheffler (right) and Nelly Korda. — AFP File

MIAMI: Scottie Scheffler and Nelly Korda, the two leading players in the men’s and women’s games, respectively, have produced the most dominant run that professional golf has seen in years and neither appears ready to slow down.

With his three-shot win at Hilton Head Island on Monday, Masters champion Scheffler has won four of his last five starts and become the first player to win a major and win on the PGA Tour the following week since Tiger Woods in 2006.

Scheffler’s triumph came a day after Korda won the year’s first major to become the third player since 1978 to win five consecutive events on the LPGA Tour, joining Nancy Lopez (1978) and Annika Sorenstam (2004–2005).

“One of the people here asked me, like, is this turning into a competition between you and Nelly, and I was like, I don’t know, man, I think if it’s a competition she’s got me pretty beat right now,” Scheffler said on Monday.

“Five wins in a row. She had that T16 at the beginning of the year, which was just terrible; I can’t believe she did that,” a smiling Scheffler added. “But yeah, it’s pretty special stuff. To win four times in a row and then show up at a major championship and win is extremely impressive. So I’m extremely happy for her.”

In their last 10 starts, the dynamic American duo have combined for nine wins -- including a major triumph each -- the only blemish coming from Scheffler as his five-foot birdie putt to force a playoff missed in his final start before the Masters.

Sustaining excellence for so long in golf is no easy feat and perhaps why the sport has not seen such dominance from both a man and a woman at the same time since World Golf Hall of Famer members Woods and Sorenstam were on top of their game.

Korda had to complete the last seven holes of her weather-delayed third round early Sunday and trailed by one going into the final round where she carded a three-under-par 69 to finish two shots clear of Sweden’s Maja Stark.

The return to major glory, which Korda celebrated by jumping into the lake on the left side of the 18th green, was all the more special for the American given the long road back she endured following her breakout 2021 campaign.

Korda admitted that doubts crept into her mind during that stretch where she was sidelined for lengthy periods due to back injuries and a blood clot in her left arm, but she refused to let the adversities of life take her down.

Still, the 25-year-old American admitted she never could have imagined the record-tying current streak she is on back when she struggling to get back to health. “Back then, no, because obviously then I was just more scared for my health. Competing was kind of on the backseat. I was not thinking about competing at all,” said Korda.

“But I think all of the sad times and the health scares that I have gone through have made me who I am today. I think it has matured me a lot, and I would say it’s shaped me into the person I am today, and I’m very grateful for the ups and downs.”