12 Aug 2023 | Men's Australian Open | Professional golf | Australian Open |
Lee promises sizzle for Australian Open return to Sydney
by Tony Webeck
He has developed a cult following with his very own catchphrase in both the United States and the UK and now Min Woo Lee is promising to put on a show when the ISPS HANDA Australian Open returns to Sydney in December.
Already locked in for the Fortinet Australian PGA Championship at Royal Queensland Golf Club, it was confirmed on Friday that Lee will play in Sydney for the first time since 2019.
After missing the cut at The Australian Golf Club that week, Lee was ranked No.298 in the world but is now regularly ranked inside the top 50 players on the Official World Golf Ranking.
He played in the last group at THE PLAYERS Championship in March and was tied for fifth at the US Open in June, his daring play and outgoing personality drawing crowds in their thousands both on course and to his social media pages.
It sparked a catchphrase – “Let him cook!” – which the 25-year-old has enthusiastically embraced and made him one of world golf’s most entertaining players, both on and off the golf course.
“I like to have fun and make people’s days better so I try to do that,” said Lee during a three-week sabbatical at home in Perth.
“I’m not sure how the ‘Let him cook’ happened. It was just a meme on a social media platform and I just said it in one post and it caught on fire.
“I’ve stuck with it and it’s been awesome.
“In the last few weeks there’s been a lot of ‘Wooz’ and ‘Let him cook!’ right after I hit. I’m just getting used to it. It’s been very loud the past few weeks, especially at The Open.”
That spot in the field at The Open was partly attributed to his third-place finish at the Australian Open at Victoria Golf Club last December.
The first Australian Open to feature both men and women at the same time brought enormous galleries to both Victoria and Kingston Heath golf clubs, giving Lee a taste of what he was to experience internationally in 2023.
“It was an incredible experience last year, one of the best fan experiences I’ve had,” said Lee.
“It was cool to be in contention and to be up there was a cool feeling.
“I love coming back here and playing in front of big crowds.
“There are fans out there that want to come see me and watch me and I like to give them more than just golf. A bit of emotion and a bit of fun and I’ve been having fun on the social media side too.
“The social media has grown so much in the last three to four months and it’s been awesome. Getting a lot of love and support which is exactly what a player wants and needs. Hopefully I can keep playing well and keep growing.”
To be co-hosted by The Australian Golf Club and The Lakes Golf Club in Sydney’s eastern suburbs, Lee is familiar with The Australian but did not play at The Lakes when Abraham Ancer won in 2018.
On the surface both courses should play to Lee’s strengths of long bombs off the tee and creativity around the greens, assets that will draw a crowd wherever he goes.
“I’m really excited to go back to Sydney and play the Aussie Open. It’s been a few years now so I’m really excited to go back,” he added.
“I know The Australian is a really good venue and tough and I’m excited to go back there.
“If you’re in contention you’re probably going to put on a show so hopefully I can do that.
“(To win) your home Open would be a cool experience. To win any event really but to win at home would be extra special.”
As for his catchphrase, Lee confessed that it doesn’t extend beyond the golf course.
“I cooked bacon and eggs the other morning so I guess I can,” he joked.
“I let the chefs cook. I’ll just do the cooking on the golf course.”
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