‘Weird Rule’- Jessica and Nelly Korda Question the Eligibility For the Vare Trophy

Published 11/11/2021, 2:21 PM EST
Sep 4, 2021; Toledo, Ohio, USA; Nelly Korda (left) of Team USA walks with sister and playing partner Jessica Korda on the sixteenth hole during the morning foursomes of the 2021 Solheim Cup at Inverness Club. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports


Undoubtedly, Nelly Korda has had a smashing year. Three wins on the LPGA tour (including a major win at the Women’s PGA Championship), a historic gold medal at the Olympics, and a World No. 1 ranking. Hence, finding out she wasn’t eligible for a prestigious trophy would indeed be pretty astonishing.

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Tokyo 2020 Olympics – Golf – Women’s Individual – Medal Ceremony – Kasumigaseki Country Club – Kawagoe, Saitama, Japan – August 7, 2021. Gold medalist Nelly Korda of the United States bites her medal. REUTERS/Toby Melville

The LPGA Tour annually awards the Vare Trophy to the golfer with the lowest scoring average; however, there’s a catch. In order to be eligible, you need to have played either 70 rounds or 70 percent of tournament rounds in the season.

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The siblings, who are playing at the Pelican Women’s Championship in Florida this week, attended a press conference ahead of the penultimate event. There, they confessed to what they felt regarding the pre-requisites of the trophy.

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Nelly Korda believes the eligibility for the Vare trophy must be changed

Nelly Korda has had the lowest score this season, with 69.074. Jin Young Ko, the other bright golfer of the season and contender for the Player of the Year trophy, is second with 69.186. However, she too is not eligible. Inbee Park, currently the best putter in the world, is also not in contention, despite being third on the list with 69.534.

The absurdity of this was not lost to the sisters. A message on the group chat was how she first found out and her initial reaction was, “Oh, okay. Cool. That sucks.” Jessica, also out of contention, resonates the feeling and added, “1, 2, and 3 aren’t eligible? So it’s just weird.” The general sentiment remained that those who deserved to win it were all out of contention.

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When asked whether she considered playing more events, she didn’t hesitate in saying, “No. My schedule was crazy enough… I don’t think I could have played more events because my body was just so tired. I typically play all the events at the start of the year, and if I play well, then I’ll take some time off, because the traveling in the summer was just so crazy.”

Lydia Ko, who is the top contender for the trophy, also just barely made it. Initially not a part of the field at the Pelican Championship, she agreed to play at the last minute in order to satisfy the conditions of being eligible for the trophy.

Tokyo 2020 Olympics – Golf – Women’s Individual – Final – Round 4 – Kasumigaseki Country Club – Kawagoe, Saitama, Japan – August 7, 2021. Nelly Korda of the United States reacts after winning the gold medal. REUTERS/Murad Sezer

In conclusion, both sisters agree that the rules need a little bending. However, this is not the first time this has happened. Legends like Annika Sörenstam and Tiger Woods have also fallen victim to this rule. What do you think? Is the rule fair?

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Ishita Bhargava

242 articles

Ishita Bhargava is a Golf content writer at Essentially Sports. Currently pursuing her undergraduate degree from the Shri Ram College of Commerce, she has a keen interest in sports and fitness. When not playing or watching a sports event, Ishita can be seen spending time with her pets or binge-watching.

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