Jessica Korda is one of only two American players in the top-10 of the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings and one of three who are not Asian. The five-time LPGA Tour winner is joined by fellow American Lexi Thompson and Australian Minjee Lee as the only three players in the top-10 not from Korea, Thailand or China.
Korda, when asked why she felt that the Americans, in particular, were so out-numbered near the top of the world rankings prior to the start of the Ricoh’s Women’s British Open on Tuesday, took the opportunity to detail the sad state of American developmental golf in both girls and boys junior golf.
“Honestly, I think they have a better developmental program from juniors,” she said. “The Korean girls are dominating. They have a national team. Golf is an expensive sport. (The national teams) pay for that. They travel to different countries and play a bunch, and I feel like one of the things that the U. S. doesn’t have is a national team and somebody to help the girls and the boys kind of grow through that process.
“There are no camps. Basically, the kids play AJGAs in America to try and get into college, and then from college, they get jobs. In Korea, I know that they have to play two years on the Korean LPGA before they even come to the States, so they’ve already been a pro before they come to our Tour. So as you call them rookies, they’ve won like 10 times professionally and that’s a huge advantage coming here whereas if you see all of the American girls, they might have played a year on Symetra Tour or they’re fresh rookies.
Korda: U.S. golf lacks developmental system: Jessica Korda believes American families are challenged developing promising players without the financial and developmental support other countries give. https://t.co/tyZLtmHJf8
— BKS Golf (@BKSGolf1) July 31, 2018
“That’s where I feel like the biggest disadvantage is for a lot of American players is there’s not a developmental program, a team of some sort to either help them with their game, you know, somebody sees a little bit of talent in a player, and they don’t have the funds to take them to all these tournaments, what are they going to do? Their best chance is to get into college and then through college they can play, but at that point when they come out there’s a tough choice of ‘am I going to spend the money to try and turn pro or am I going to get a job?’
“Q-Schools are expensive. Some of the countries I know that they support their players through Q-School where they might give them a certain type of stipend or pay for the Q-School, put a logo of let’s say Australian golf, all that stuff, it is expensive, and I think that’s one of the things that I think the United States is missing.”
Korda, who is the daughter of former second-ranked tennis pro Petr Korda, sees what the United States Tennis Association is doing in their youth programs as a good start for junior golf.
“I know that the USTA is doing a bunch of camps for tennis,” she continued. ” They travel with the United States Tennis Association. So I know that they’re kind of taking the kids under their wings that way, which is great. And hopefully you’ll see more male and women’s tennis players kind of dominating the rankings coming up, because it just started to happen.
“I would definitely love to see something like that happen for golf.”
Korda will be playing in her eighth Ricoh Women’s British Open this week at Royal Lytham. Her best finish in the event is a tie for fifth in 2014.