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Interview

Read a transcript of the post-Round 1 interview with Nelly Korda and Tony Finau.

Nelly Korda & Tony Finau

Friday, December 8, 2023

THE MODERATOR: How did it feel? How did it go?

TONY FINAU: Felt great.

NELLY KORDA: I’m not complaining with 16-under, are you?

TONY FINAU: It was fantastic. We had a lot of fun and hit a lot of great shots. I watched a lot of great shots, a lot of great putts. Yeah, it was just so much fun to be able to — scramble I would say is probably the funnest format you can play in team golf.

Tomorrow is going to be a little bit different, but we can only speak on today, and it was a fantastic day.

NELLY KORDA: And I got to see shots that normally I wouldn’t let’s say on the women’s tour. That squeezer 9 you hit on No. 17 was absolutely incredible. It’s fun to see it firsthand, as well.

THE MODERATOR: How fun is it to take off the professional golf hat and put on the more fun scramble hat?

NELLY KORDA: Yeah, I think you still want to perform at the end of the day, but it’s nice to have that blend of the two. As Tony said, team — I feel like the team events and the team atmosphere brings together just a completely different vibe, and it’s just so much fun.

TONY FINAU: Yeah, I agree.

THE MODERATOR: Obviously only three pars on the card, so everything was a highlight. Any personal highlights out there today?

NELLY KORDA: There were a couple. That shot on 17 was pretty good.

TONY FINAU: Not bad. To squeeze 9 up there, that was nice. Nelly was just clutch. I said it earlier, but anytime I wasn’t able to make a very makeable putt, she chose to go second and kind of be our closer. When Nelly is following me around the course, it makes the game feel pretty simple. She was able to make the putts and clutch up when we really needed to make putts.

Obviously she’s very clutch, but to see it up close and have her shake all those ones in was a lot of fun to watch.

NELLY KORDA: Teamwork makes the dream work.

Q. Now with one round under your belt, what did it feel like for you guys?

TONY FINAU: It was a great vibe. It was a great vibe. We played with Rickie, who’s a good friend, and got to see Lexi’s game. I played with her quite a few years ago at this event. But it was just a great vibe. I think it’s really cool to marry the tours together. We’re going to have an opportunity to play with a couple different players tomorrow and see their games up close.

Again, they’re seeing shots that they haven’t seen with us, and vice versa. We’re seeing shots that we haven’t seen, and we only get to watch these guys on TV, they only get to watch us on TV. To be able to marry the tours and see everything live is a great vibe.

NELLY KORDA: I would agree.

Q. Would you guys advocate for more events like this in the future now that you’ve had a taste of it in competition?

NELLY KORDA: I think it’s fun, but again, that’s what makes this event so special, because it’s just one of one. I think Grant Thornton advocated for a mixed team event to push women’s and men’s golf forward, and yeah, so far I’m really enjoying it, getting to play alongside Tony. I’ve never seen Rickie play up close. I don’t live on the other side of Florida like my sister does, so to me, I was very impressed with how well they strike it and their process just before they go and hit the ball, as well.

Q. Tony, I know you only played one round of this event so far, but down the road if some fellow TOUR players were to ask you if they were thinking about playing in this event, what would you tell them?

TONY FINAU: I would tell them it’s a lot of fun. Like any team event — you have an opportunity to play with the best LPGA Tour players in the world, which I think we can all learn from each other, and that’s I think a lot of the best players in the world who are all just absorbing and still trying to learn. I’m still learning.

I think it’s a great opportunity to grow together. If anyone is considering it, I definitely would tell them to not only consider playing but just do it.

Q. Being a dad, what do you think this will do for kids, especially for little girls?

TONY FINAU: Yeah, I hope the younger generation is looking up to this event and want to be a part of it like we are. I hope that that’s the case. I know if I was young and looking at an event like this, I’d want to be a part of it. You’re seeing the best male and female players in the world compete against each other, and that’s extremely special. This is one of one, like Nelly said, and hopefully this tournament continues on and carries a great tradition.

Q. Tony, having played with Lexi already in this event, what did you know about playing with the top women players that maybe some of these other guys didn’t know coming into this week?

TONY FINAU: Yeah, well, they’re extremely talented. I was talking to Nelly, one of the holes I played with Lexi, I was thinking about hitting a 9-iron into the wind. Lexi pulls a 9-iron and gets it to the hole. I was between 8 and 9. I was like, she hit a 9, I can’t hit an 8. So they obviously hit the ball very solid, very flush. I would say they hit it a lot straighter than the men, than we do on our tour. They’re just so solid. I don’t know how else to describe it.

It’s fun to watch them compete. It’s fun to watch them play. That’s, again, what makes this tournament so special.

Q. Nelly, I wanted to ask you about the Nikes.

NELLY KORDA: I think they’re called the Mirrors. But they blended really nicely with my shirt, so I was like, this is top-notch, I’m going to rock it today.

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