05 Apr 2023 | Professional golf |
Adam Scott’s Master-ful advice for Min Woo Lee
by Australian Golf Media
By Tony Webeck
Adam Scott knows what it takes to make a good first impression at Augusta National. He also knows that backing it up at The Masters can be unnervingly perplexing.
Tied for ninth on debut in 2002, Scott would play The Masters a further eight times before recording a second top-10 finish.
That tie for second in 2011 preceded his victory in 2013 and has given him the foresight to know that good form, at whatever age, is worth cashing in on.
Lee left his Augusta National debut last year with a record – he tied Johnny Miller (1975), Greg Norman (1988), KJ Choi (2004), Phil Mickelson (2009), Gary Woodland (2014) and Tony Finau (2019) for the lowest front nine in Masters history with a Sunday 30 – and has been one of the form players in world golf the past six months.
In his past 12 starts dating back to the Spanish Open in October last year, Lee has five top-five finishes and two further top 10s, highlighted by a breakout performance at THE PLAYERS Championship last month.
Rather than using his relative inexperience as an excuse, Scott is adamant that Lee may never have a better chance to join him as a Masters champion.
“He should really push himself because you just don’t know how many opportunities and how long a career can be,” said Scott on the 10-year anniversary of his playoff win over Argentine Angel Cabrera.
“I’ve been lucky that mine’s drawn out really long but we’ve seen other guys hit their peak and not play on at a high level forever.
“I’d really be pushing Min to take advantage of this good run of golf he’s on and see how far he can go.”
What is remarkable to Lee is that in recent years Scott has become a trusted confidant.
The pair shared a practice round together along with Jason Day prior to THE PLAYERS and regularly catch up for lunches and dinners.
For a 24-year-old who was warming up with his WA team at the Junior Interstate Matches in Bunbury as Scott wrote his name into Australian sporting history 10 years ago, that relationship is still dreamlike.
“It’s weird them talking to you because I’m still a kid,” said Lee, who was tied for 14th on debut last year and will play with 1987 champion Larry Mize and fellow Aussie Harrison Crowe in the first round from 11pm Thursday night AEST.
“When the kids are out there trying to get autographs and stuff, that was me only a few years ago. It is pretty surreal to have top players come up and talk to me.
“Obviously he’s got an amazing swing, amazing demeanour about him, nicest guy and it is awesome to be friends with him the last few years.
“I looked up to him as a kid so it is nice to play with him and just enjoy dinners and lunch with him.”
If there is a sense of awe in being Scott’s presence, the same can be said of Lee’s arrival at Augusta National.
He played nine holes on Monday and Tuesday in the days after the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, taking caddie Stuart Davidson along for his first visit to what Lee describes as “Heaven on earth”.
“There’s a lot of reasons why it’s heaven on earth,” said Lee.
“I went to Augusta for two days and you get to experience Augusta without anyone there and just the bird sounds, just yourself, your caddie.
“It is a surreal moment. You soak it in. My caddie was just walking around with his mouth wide open and I said to him, ‘Just wait until tournament week.’
“There’s millions of people out there watching and it’s a pretty cool experience. It’s just different.
“You grew up always thinking, Oh, The Masters is on. That was one of the tournaments that you definitely watched, especially after Scotty’s win.
“It was such a big moment for Australia and that got me hooked on The Masters every year. It’s just been a special place in my heart.”
But we’ll leave the final word to Scott, who doubled-down on his assertion that Lee’s time might just be now.
“He’s certainly getting a lot more starts in the States and I think that’s really great for his development but while he’s going well, he shouldn’t be too patient,” Scott added.
“Min Woo has a really high ceiling with his game. When he plays well, he can obviously contend with the best.
“As he gets more and more comfortable, I expect him to do that more often.”
Round 1 tee times AEST 11pm Min Woo Lee, Harrison Crowe (a), Larry Mize 12.30am Adam Scott, Patrick Cantlay, Kurt Kitayama 12.54am Cameron Smith, Hideki Matsuyama, Sungjae Im 2.36am Ryan Fox (NZ), Billy Horschel, Harris English 2.48am Jason Day, Zach Johnson, Gordon Sargent (a)
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