Aussie star’s ‘shock’ Shark encounter

The Masters - Round Two
Min Woo Lee and his caddie Stuart Davidson at the Masters. Picture: Andrew Redington / Getty Images North America / Getty Images via AFP

Australian star Min Woo Lee left Augusta with memories of a first meeting with Greg Norman and a Masters gnome for his new house in Las Vegas but not the world rankings bump he hoped for with Olympic selection “in my mind” 100 days out from the Paris Games.

Lee, ranked 32, didn’t move a spot despite finishing in a tie for 22nd while playing with a broken finger, with both Cam Smith (68 to 52) and Cam Davis (62-57), who are behind him in the race for a Games spot, making their rankings move with top-12 finishes.

Declaring his finger issue was “not as bad” as it might sound, Lee is in the midst of a massive 2024 during which he’s looking to establish himself on the PGA Tour, make his first Presidents Cup team, and join his superstar sister, Minjee, at the Olympics.

The 25-year-old will then return home to Australia as the “face” of the PGA championship, where he’ll be defending his title, hoping that by then he will have breached the world’s top 30 to underline his status as one of the country’s leading players.

“I would love to be top 20, top 25 by the end of the year would be amazing,” he said.

“But we’ll get to top 30 first, that’s been a goal of mine for the last year. We’re close, but coming 22nd at the Masters didn’t move me one spot, so you need to play great golf to move up just a little it, so it’s quite tough.

“I’ve made a lot of cuts (this year) which is a massive thing. When I started I was quite inconsistent, so it’s nice to see that consistency on one of the top tours.

“But for me it’s quite cool to be the face, or one of the faces of Australian golf. I guess I have done well to get here, but I still feel like a 20-year-old kid who has just turned professional, so it’s cool be at the talking stages of bringing other people over and making it a big tournament.”

Lee’s growing status in the game was clear, with Australian legend and LIV Golf boss Norman seeking him out on the fairways at Augusta after the “Shark” had to source a ticket to get into the event as a fan.

The pair shook hands during a practice round, and Norman made an impression on the young star.

“At first I was like ‘why is he so close to my ball’?” Lee said of their meeting.

“I was trying to hit a golf shot and it was him and his security guy literally right on top of my ball. I didn’t realise it was him until I saw him a yard away from my ball. I had a smile and I was very shocked.

“I don’t think I’ve ever met him before so it was cool to see Greg in the flesh.

The Masters - Preview Day Three
Min Woo Lee meets Greg Norman at the Masters. Picture: David Cannon/Getty Images

Lee said the Olympics was at the top of his goal list for 2024 and while he was used to “getting in tournaments late” as part of his PGA Tour experience, should his selection be locked in he would start adjusting his playing schedule to best prepare for Paris.

“Every week I get asked, so it’s in my brain, in my head,” he said.

“I am pretty used to getting into tournaments late, so mentality wise I can’t think about it too much and I have to play the shot that’s in front of me.

“Schedule-wise, it’s one of the biggest events in my schedule if I do get to play. We have to plan for it and we will find out soon-ish with the team. When it gets locked in I can really lock in the schedule.”
Lee will return to playing action at the Byron Nelson Classic in May.