Nelly Korda’s 2022 comeback story seemed to culminate last week when, after suffering a dangerous blood clot in March, she earned her first LPGA win of the season and regained the world No.1 ranking.
Two days later, her coach, Jamie Mulligan, gave an interview to Golfweek in which he provided more details on the illness than Korda gave. According to Mulligan, the blood clot she suffered from was two centimetres from her heart, and that Korda was “sounding emotional” during the incident and that her hands were “turning weird colours” that day she was diagnosed.
Korda was in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, that day, where PGA Tour headquarters is located, and Mulligan said he phoned PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan, who helped Korda get immediate medical care. Korda underwent a procedure that was meant to take 45 minutes, but actually lasted close to three hours, according to Mulligan.
That’s a significantly more harrowing story than the version Korda relayed at the US Women’s Open in June upon her return, which was low on details, particularly as to the cause of the blood clots. If anything, Mulligan’s version makes an already impressive comeback even more eye-opening.
On Wednesday at the CME Group Tour Championship, though, Korda expressed annoyance at the report.
“I was not very happy with that article because that was a very … I think that was blown out of proportion a good bit,” she said. “It was definitely not that bad, but I’m very private about my medical history, my medical issues. So, in a sense, yeah, I think that article is just blown out of proportion, honestly.”
Korda and her team have a reputation for being a tight-knit group—a circumstance that was only cemented this year—and when asked about this, she confirmed: “Private, yes.” When asked why a member of her inner circle would have spoken about her incident to a reporter without clearing it with her first, she was clearly not pleased, but would only add, “No. Nothing to say.”
No clarification was forthcoming on which parts of Mulligan’s story were exaggerated or untrue, and the press conference moved on to other topics—specifically, how her season progressed after she returned from her rehab in early June. Korda’s travels took her from Europe to Canada and back to the US again, and eventually led to two missed cuts in September.
“I think it was more of a mental fatigue for me where I just felt like I was living out of a suitcase, and I was just tired,” she said. “So, lesson learned.”
After taking October off, Korda came back and won last week’s Pelican Women’s Championship, and she credits a more relaxed attitude for the victory.
“I feel like expectations definitely drive you to go insane in a sense,” she said. “And I feel like it’s good to have people around you to kind of calm you down and bring you back to earth. I’ve had that, so I’m definitely very grateful for them. Even with what I’ve gone through I’ve felt like the beginning of the year is like another year. I feel like last year in a sense is light years away.”
Life is good now for Korda. Her caddie is expecting a child, she met singer Keith Urban during Wednesday’s pro-am, and this week she’ll play for the biggest first prize in the history of women’s golf—$2 million. Even if she’s upset at a perceived violation of her privacy, she’s also focused and approaching another peak.
Following a year that was difficult no matter what the exact details were, that’s a major accomplishment, and a major problem for the rest of the field this week.