Nelly Korda, Jason McDede
Last Sunday was unique to say the least for Nelly Korda’s caddie Jason McDede, as Korda went to a playoff in Taiwan with Minjee Lee and McDede’s fiancee, Caroline Masson. Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

In case you missed it, there were some pretty unique circumstances that took place last weekend, as Nelly Korda successfully defended her title in the Taiwan Swinging Skirts LPGA.

Korda had control of the tournament for most of the final round, but with three-putt bogeys on Nos. 14, 15 and 17, she dropped to 17 under, opening the door for playing partners Caroline Masson and Minjee Lee.

Masson led by one going to the 18th hole, a par 5. She made par there and with birdies by Korda and Lee, the trio headed to a playoff.

And that’s where things got interesting.

You see, Korda’s caddie – Jason McDede – is also the fiancé of Masson.

Can you say, “awkward?”

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Turns out that wasn’t the case at all for McDede or Masson.

“A couple close friends had some funny comments, but Caroline and myself have been apart for almost four years on the golf course so we’re very independent when it comes to both of our jobs,” McDede, who has been working for Korda since the start of the 2018 season, told The Caddie Network.

The playoff lasted just one hole, as Korda stepped up and made a quick birdie to end the tournament.

Afterward, Korda credited McDede’s calming influence as the reason for the victory, particularly a pep-talk on the 18th hole in regulation that led to the birdie and a spot in the playoff. Korda nearly ended up winning in regulation, but just barely missed on an eagle chip and cleaned up the birdie.

“Yeah, Jason is engaged to Caroline, but at the end of the day, he is on my team and I am the one signing his paycheck,” said Korda in a report on GolfDigest.com. “Caroline is a great person, and she played amazing golf today. You know, it was kind of difficult for him. … But I wouldn’t be where I am without Jason, and he made sure that he kept me in the game.”

“It was pretty simple,” McDede said of the encouraging chat on 18. “I just told her to not give up and that we had a par 5 to play and let’s try and have an eagle chance. I feel at this point in the relationship we kinda know what each other are thinking and she knows that I believe in her game. Nelly plays pretty quickly so under pressure we figure out what we’re trying to do and Nelly steps up and does the best she can.”

“I would say the day was something I will cherish for a long time,” McDede said. “I have a really good relationship with Nelly and we like to have fun on the golf course. The players were heading back to the States after three weeks in Asia, so the mood was good and pretty light most of the day. When the tournament was coming down to the wire, I was really focusing in on the wind and trying to calculate the best I could to get Nelly in good spots… Honestly, I was pretty calm, and my goal is to try and stay consistent with my emotions on the golf course. I try to keep Nelly calm and staying positive with her game every day we tee it up.”

McDede and Masson, who won on the LPGA at the 2016 Manulife Classic, first met at the 2013 Women’s British Open at St. Andrews. The couple has been together for the last six years and got engaged on Jan. 31, 2019.

“It was very simple,” McDede said about the engagement. “We had a nice night at our new house and a good bottle of red wine.”

As for the wedding date? Well, that’s a question best left for Masson to answer, McDede laughed.

“That’s a great question for Caroline!” he said. “But she is working hard to accommodate friends and family from Germany and also finding a spot on our tour schedule.”

McDede said that when the playoff ended, there was nothing but good spirits all the way around.

“There was some congratulations and some big time respect from everyone in the group towards each other,” he said. “Caroline was very happy for Nelly and myself and I think she was also proud of how hard she fought. You can always say ‘what if’ in golf, but I think for a long career you have to take the good weeks and remember them more than the bad weeks.”

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Looking back, McDede was also proud of the way Masson fought back in the final round, but in the moment, his focus was squarely on Korda and chasing down a victory. Ultimately, that’s his job.

“I would say the day was something I will cherish for a long time,” McDede said. “I have a really good relationship with Nelly and we like to have fun on the golf course. The players were heading back to the States after three weeks in Asia, so the mood was good and pretty light most of the day. When the tournament was coming down to the wire, I was really focusing in on the wind and trying to calculate the best I could to get Nelly in good spots… Honestly, I was pretty calm, and my goal is to try and stay consistent with my emotions on the golf course. I try to keep Nelly calm and staying positive with her game every day we tee it up.”

With the win – the third of her LPGA career – Korda moved to the No. 3 spot in the Rolex World Golf Rankings, making her the highest-ranked American presently.

“Nelly’s a tremendous talent and a very good person,” McDede said. “She’s worked very hard to get to this position and it’s definitely not luck that she’s here. She has a supportive family behind her, and I feel it was a big advantage for her to have watched her sister play as she grew up to understand the game. Jessica is a world-class player and a great role model to Nelly. Her coach [David Whelan] has also been a huge part of her career. He was a European Tour player and has really taught Nelly how to manage her game and her practices, which has been a big part of her success this year.

“As for me, I really just try and keep things light with Nelly,” McDede added. “She plays her best golf when she has a smile on her face, so I try and do my best to make sure that happens. I know it sounds cliché, but I feel that when a world-class player is clear in what they’re trying to do — and also happy and excited to do it — they will get the best results.”