Korda Sisters Question LPGA Award Requirements

by | Nov 10, 2021 | LPGA

From:

Alan Bastable


November 10, 2021

Jessica, left, and Nelly Korda at the Solheim Cup earlier this year.

Getty Images

After almost every measurement, Nelly Korda has a 2021 banner. Three LPGA titles, including one major. Gold medal at the Tokyo Games. World No. 1.

But there is one award she is guaranteed not to collect this year: the LPGA’s Vare Trophy for the lowest point average – although Korda is on tour with only two events remaining in the season with 69,074 leaders.

Jin Young Ko, who is currently second in the LPGA average ranking, will also be sure not to win the award with 69.186.

The same goes for Inbee Park, who is third with 69,534.

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All three players are not eligible for the award as they did not play enough rounds to qualify in 2021. To be eligible for Vare, players must win either 70 rounds or 70 percent of the official tournament rounds, whichever is smaller. This disqualifies Korda (58 laps so far), Ko (59) and Park (62), which means that the front runner in the Vare is now Lydia Ko, who is fourth in the overall standings with an average of 69.615 over 69 laps.

Ko was also in danger of missing the minimum lap requirement. According to Golfweek, she was planning to put the Pelican Women’s Championship on hold this week in Belleair, Fla. Until she learned she needed the start to qualify for the Vare.

Among the other players who did not know the Vare parameters: the Korda sisters Nelly and Jessica.

Nelly said she found out about the rule in a group chat recently.

“I thought, ‘Oh, okay. Cool. That sucks, ‘”she said in a joint press conference with her sister at the Pelican on Tuesday.

“Yes,” added Jessica, who is sixth in the Vare rating with an average of 69,927, but is not eligible even with only 59 rounds played. “I thought: Big rule.”

This is how the rest of the press conference exchange went:

Nelly: “I mean, I’d say Jin Young has had some great events in the past. If she wins, she deserves it. I would say the same for myself. It kind of sucks that it just so happens. Yes, that’s all I have to say. “

Jessica: “It’s just that the person in the running now is considered an asterisk, or – I don’t know. It’s just such a strange rule when you’re number 1 and number 2 in the world. “

Nelly: “And 3, right?

Jessica: “And 3 players – are there 1, 2 and 3 not eligible to participate? So it’s just weird. “

At the beginning of the press conference, Nelly was asked if she had considered playing more events in 2021.

“No,” she said. “My schedule was crazy enough. I had to pull out of Portland at the last minute because I just wasn’t doing well, and the same goes for Walmart. So, no, I don’t think I could have played more events because my body was just so tired. I usually play all the events at the beginning of the year and when I play well I take some time off because traveling in the summer was just so crazy. “

A reporter asked the Kordas whether the rule should be changed or reconsidered.

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“One hundred percent,” said Jessica. “Especially what the schedule is. Others have to decide. We’re only here to play. “

To which Nelly said: “Yes.”

By comparison, there are two average awards available to players on the PGA Tour throughout the season: the Vardon Trophy, presented by the PGA of America, and the Byron Nelson Award, presented by the Tour. To qualify for the Vardon, players must complete a minimum of 60 rounds, while entry for Nelson only requires 50 rounds, or 20 fewer than the Vare.

This isn’t the first time an LPGA player who finished at the top of the points average hasn’t won the Vare. At the end of the season shortened by Covid last year, Danielle Kang won the award, although three players had a lower average point. In 2004 Annika Sorenstam, who this year set her own record for a low LPGA average of all time (68,697), also fell victim to the minimum-round rule with 66 played, albeit just barely.

Vare winners don’t just get show-off rights. You will also earn one point for the 27 points required for LPGA Hall of Fame qualification.

Alan Bastable

Golf.com editor

As Managing Editor of GOLF.com, Bastable is responsible for the editorial direction and voice of one of the game’s most respected and most-visited news and service sites. He wears lots of hats – cutting, writing, brainstorming, developing, daydreaming about breaking 80 one day – and feels privileged to work with such an insanely talented and hard working group of writers, editors and producers. Before taking the reins at GOLF.com, he was the features editor at GOLF Magazine. A graduate of the University of Richmond and the Columbia School of Journalism, he lives in New Jersey with his wife and four children.