Monday Leaderboard: Will Nelly Korda get her Caitlin Clark moment?

Welcome to the Monday Leaderboard, where we run down the weekend’s top stories in the wonderful world of golf. Grab an Arnold Palmer, pull up a chair, and long for a career where you could play two holes of golf on a Monday and call it a full day’s work …

1. Will Nelly get her Caitlin Clark moment?

Nelly Korda continues her astounding run through — run over, really — the LPGA. This past weekend, she won her fifth straight tournament and second major, the Chevron Championship. That stretch puts her among the LPGA’s greatest players, names like Annika Sorenstam and Nancy Lopez. Given the fact that women’s sports are, as the saying goes, having a moment, could Korda’s on-course success translate to wider popularity for women’s golf as a whole?

It’s going to be tough, just as it’s tough for all individual-sport players to gain attention in a team-based sports landscape. Teams (and colleges, in Clark’s case) come with a built-in fanbase that serves as a foundation. Women’s golf simply doesn’t have the mass cultural reach of women’s college basketball, or of men’s golf. An increased media presence could help that, but so could a transformative individual figure.

Korda is personable, witty and — yes, this is necessary for American audiences — as American as Disney World. It will take a significant shift on many fronts for Korda to become as popular as Clark, or even to break through into the larger sports world’s consciousness. But Korda is definitely holding up her end of the bargain.

(Taylor Wilhelm / Yahoo Sports)(Taylor Wilhelm / Yahoo Sports)

(Taylor Wilhelm / Yahoo Sports)

2. Scottie’s domination continues

Another week, another multi-stroke victory for Scottie Scheffler. He had to play the final two holes on a rain-delayed Monday morning at the RBC Heritage, but there wasn’t really ever any doubt he was going to win, not after this eagle on Sunday:

Scheffler is now the first Masters champion to win the week after the Masters since Bernhard Langer in 1985, and the first major winner to win the next week since Tiger Woods in 2006. The only thing that’s going to slow him down at this point is the impending birth of his first child. That’s right, PGA Tour players, you’re now relying on a newborn to do what y’all can’t.

3. 15-year-old makes golf history

I won’t even bother asking what you were doing at age 15, because the answer clearly wasn’t “playing in a high-level golf tournament.” That’s what Miles Russell did this past weekend, making the cut and finishing T20 at the Korn Ferry Tour’s LECOM Suncoast Classic. He closed out the tournament with a final-round 66 and a seven-birdies-in-10-holes run. Russell is the youngest player since recordkeeping began in 1983 to record a top-25 finish on either the Korn Ferry Tour or PGA Tour.

Not that you need any reminders of how young 15 years old is, but he has been alive for only one of Tiger Woods’ 15 majors. I’m betting now that he’ll be an honorary starter at the 2094 Masters, but someone else is probably going to have to collect my winnings for me.

4. Billy Horschel’s career revival

Billy Horschel doesn’t have a great record in the majors, but he is a FedEx Cup champion, and he’s been a pro since 2009, so he’s got some game. That game pretty much abandoned him in 2023, though, when he missed 10 cuts and appeared as lost as you’ll ever see a pro player. He missed out on qualifying for the RBC Heritage, one of this year’s “signature” events on the Tour, so he teed it up at the Corales Puntacana Championship in the Dominican Republic to help get his game back on track. And he did exactly that, winning the opposite full-field event by two strokes after trailing by three heading into the final round. For a sport where the mental game is every bit as important as the physical, a win is a nice career boost, regardless of where it happened.

5. Ratings vs. rain, who ya got

It’s no secret that ratings have slid for men’s golf this entire season, and even the Masters suffered a hit last weekend. So much for the narrative of “just get the best players back together,” right? Golf fans are either disgusted by the current LIV-PGA Tour split, or are out on actual golf courses themselves.

The tournament organizers and CBS faced a dilemma with Sunday’s final round of the RBC Heritage, given that every forecast showed torrential rain hitting late in the afternoon. And, lo and behold, it did just that. Although the tournament could have moved up tee times, that would have annihilated ratings. So the tournament pushed into Monday for just a handful of players to play, at most, two holes. Ratings will still be rough, but not “running repeats the entire tournament window” rough. Golf’s in a difficult spot right now broadcast-wise, no joke.

The mulligan: Off the deck

Jasmine Koo took low amateur honors at the Chevron Classic, but she also pulled off perhaps the greatest trick shot in golf history — turning a certain water ball at the par-5 18th into a bank-shot save:

She would go on to roll in a birdie to finish at -3 for the week, T13 in the tournament. Routine stuff.

Swing away and roll ‘em true this week, friends, and we’ll see you back here next Monday!

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