[PHOTO: Matthew Lewis]

It’s clear that the case of the Nelly Korda dog bite will remain mostly a mystery after the world No.1 spoke at her press conference overnight (Australian time) ahead of the LPGA’s fourth major of the season, the Amundi Evian Championship in France.

After Korda, a six-time winner this season, missed her third straight cut in the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship on June 21, she announced on social media her withdrawal from the Ladies European Tour’s Aramco Team Series event in London. She said it was because of a dog bite, but offered no other details.

The top 25 players ranked in the Evian Championship

The golf world had questions and concerns, of course: how did it happen? Whose dog was it? How badly was Korda injured?

But when she was asked to explain about the bite and how it was dealt with, the notably guarded Korda was short and quick on answers. “Yeah,” she said. “I got bit in my leg. Just had to go through some medical stuff.”

She added that the bite was on her thigh and answered “uh-huh” when asked, “Just jumped out [and] bit you, from what we gather?” She confirmed that it happened in a coffee shop in Seattle, near where the Women’s PGA was being played.

The last question was, “100 percent now?”

“Yeah,” Korda said, “getting better.”

It adds another challenging layer to Korda trying to recover from a disappointing milestone in her career, having missed three consecutive cuts for the first time. Two of those came in the LPGA’s past two majors, carding an 80 in the US Women’s Open in May and an 81 in the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship in June to miss the weekend.

The poor play followed one of the best stretches the LPGA had ever seen, as Korda won six tournaments over seven starts, including a five-in-a-row run, matching the record of Hall of Famers Nancy Lopez (1978) and Annika Sorenstam (2004-2005). Korda is embracing all aspects of her career-best season’s journey as she starts the LPGA’s European swing with the Evian.

The Unknowable Nelly Korda

“I think I’ve gone through every emotion possible, and it’s just July, on the golf course,” Korda said. “You know, I love this game. I love the bad, I love the good. The bad makes you appreciate the good, and that’s just how it is. It’s sports. If you care so deeply about it you’re just going to go through the wave of the roller coaster.”

Korda spent the last two weeks at home in Bradenton, Florida, after the Women’s PGA and didn’t look at her clubs for the first week. She then ramped up her practice as her swing coach, Jamie Mulligan, came in from his base in California for two days to work with her. The Rolex Women’s World Rankings No.1 explained she had a two-way miss at Sahalee from a swing that got loose, which contributed to Korda’s second-round 81, sending her from T-2 after Thursday to packing her bags on Friday evening.

Before heading to Evian-Les-Bains in France, Korda spent some rare quality family time. Her brother Sebastian, sister Jessica, nephew Greyson, and brother-in-law Johnny DelPrete celebrated Sebastian’s 24th birthday together. It was the first time the three siblings had seen each other since last November.

“It’s almost like we have five majors in a row, it feels like,” Korda said of her upcoming schedule. “It’s a lot of high-pressure golf for sure, so as important as it is to practise and to grind, it’s also really important to recharge your batteries after a pretty long stretch.”

That stretch continues with the Evian and then the Olympic Games starting on August 7. The defending gold medallist has never been to Paris, hoping to find some time away in the French capital to be a tourist. Beyond her goals of exploring the city, Korda wouldn’t look past the present moment at the Evian Resort course. The 14-time LPGA Tour winner explained that it took a couple of years to understand that patience is the key to navigate the litany of sidehill lies and bad bounces that the sloping course overlooking Lake Geneva can present to players.

After missing the cut in her first start in the Evian in 2017 and a T-61 in 2018, Korda has not finished outside the top 25 in her past four appearances, including top-10s in 2022 (T-8) and last year (T-9).

“The game humbles you enough itself, which I learned a great deal recently,” Korda explained. “That’s what I love about [it]. Even if I’m not playing well, I’m going to go out and give it a 100 percent and go back and work harder and do the same thing.”