Transcript - Min Woo Lee - Pre-Tournament - 11th January, 2022 - PGA of Australia

Transcript – Min Woo Lee – Pre-Tournament – 11th January, 2022

Q.   What’s it like … how do you get your head around an invitation to the Masters at Augusta. MIN WOO LEE:   Well top 50 (ranking) wasn’t even a goal until the second last week of my Tournament schedule, so I come fourth in the AVIV Dubai Tournament and I was like just […]

Q.   What’s it like … how do you get your head around an invitation to the Masters at Augusta.

MIN WOO LEE:   Well top 50 (ranking) wasn’t even a goal until the second last week of my Tournament schedule, so I come fourth in the AVIV Dubai Tournament and I was like just under 60th ranked, so it only just popped in my head, I had to play good in that last Tournament.  I think if I did make a birdie on the last I would have not been in the top 50, so it was great to make that birdie and I would have kicked myself if I didn’t, because I didn’t play that good that last day.  So no, I’m really looking forward to it.

Q.  The second thing I wanted to raise, I’m sure a lot of the journalists here will want to talk about the Tournament but the Greg Norman Medal’s tonight and both you and Minjee, your sister, were nominated.  How did that feel from a family point of view, to both being nominated and has that ever happened before?  And if Minjee wins it – which is a good chance probably – maybe you can scrub out her name or something?

MIN WOO LEE:  No, I was going to say an engraver can fix it.  She’s already got one, so she could hopefully give me one.  Obviously, (Lucas) Herbert’s had a great year, Mark and Cam’s had a really good year.  We all play good golf.  I mean, we’re all trying to be the best golfer in the country and the best golfer we can be, but we all had a good year, so a pat on the back.  It would be nice to get your name on that medal, but I don’t know if I like my chances against them.

Obviously Minjee won the Major and Herbert won two Tournaments.  I mean, Scottish Open is pretty good, but I don’t know, we’ll see.

Q.  Min, do you think this year you’ll have a bit more expectation going into it, particularly this week, if that changes in the way you do anything or just the way you have to deal with things, sort of these couple of days leading in?

MIN WOO LEE:  My coach and I worked on a few things, but at the end of the day, the last three months from the end of the year everything’s been improving, everything that I’ve needed to get better at, I’ve been getting better at.  So I think just keep playing and the more tournaments I play the more I get to practise what I’ve been practising and trying to resolve, so hopefully I can do that.

Q.  Around a golf course like this with the fairways so wide that there’s better angles from different sides, is it hard for someone like you who’s going to be the long player in the field, not to just hit driver everywhere, to sort of dial back?

MIN WOO LEE:  Yeah, it’s a very quirky course.  I played nine holes today, nine holes yesterday and some of the greens are really tricky.  It’s not like a course where you can just hit average shots and get away with it, you’ve actually got to hit good shots.  I’m looking forward to the test.  But I mean the fairways are wide, but it’s nearly harder that way because it’s not – there’s nothing to kind of like go into.  There’s such a big fairway, so I have to, you know, when I get in the zone I’ll be fine, but I’m looking forward to it.

Q.  And shooting and putting on grainy sort of surfaces, how do you go, have you done that before?

MIN WOO LEE:  Yeah, I mean on Tour there’s a few grainy places and you’ve got to adapt to wherever you play, so I mean I guess we’ll see.  But no, it’s pretty grainy out here, some of the spots can get pretty tricky, so hopefully don’t hit it there, but I’ll try to do my best.

Q.  Back to the first question, is it sort of coming into a time where you see how you’ve gone in that, given the circumstances with some of the guys overseas and just you and the guys, you’re the guy everyone’s coming out to beat and stuff, that you go into the event with a bit of a target on your back, does it feel a bit different?

MIN WOO LEE:  Yeah, I feel like at the Vic Open I kind of had that feel of being a high ranked player.  Hopefully the crowds are going to be awesome and out there and cheering me on, so I think that’s a big advantage, but you know, I’m just going to go out there and play.  If I don’t play so well, but hopefully I do, I do play well and get the year rolling.

Q.  Cam Smith’s obviously playing well in his Tournament, we saw him win again yesterday.  How much does how he’s going sort of inspire you guys, when you see how well he’s playing?

MIN WOO LEE:  He’s been playing so good since he’s been on the PGA Tour and that’s probably the perfect way to be a top 10 player in the world, every year just keep putting pressure on the results and just winning every now and then, a couple of times a year, it’s awesome to see.  So hopefully I can do the same thing, but he’s done a really good job.

Q.  You’re talking about you improving and you’ve been working on things, what are those things you’ve been working on?

MIN WOO LEE:  Pitching was probably one of them that I wasn’t good at.  It’s one of the things where, I’m not like too struggling, but everything else is pretty good ranking-wise, like strokes gained and everything’s been pretty solid.  So that’s just one of the things.  Putting’s probably one of them, if I just get it to level strokes again I can do some damage on the course.  But yeah, when I putt good, I usually do really well at tournaments, so hopefully I can do that on the grainy greens this week.

Q. The same kind of test  for links golf was the Scottish Open, your success there, I mean, this is probably the closest we’ve got to links here.  Do you think it’s going to adhere well to this week here at Royal Queensland?

MIN WOO LEE:  Yeah, I think especially it’s going to get windy, so that’s going to be a protector or scores.  I mean, l love playing in the wind, so I think that might play a bit of favour, but all the guys in Australia have to play in wind and all that, so yeah, I’m just looking forward to the test. I mean, Scottish Open wasn’t – it was quite wet, so it wasn’t too linksy, but it’s like a mis of both.  That wind definitely boosts my confidence, but yeah, it’s a different challenge.

Q.  Just getting back to Smithy talking before, he seems so relaxed when he plays, he doesn’t put any undue pressure on himself.  Do you like that style, his laid back, because you seem like the same sort of guy.  Is that the way you work?

MIN WOO LEE:  Yeah, I don’t really try to take things too seriously.  It is golf at the end of the day and you’ve got to play – you don’t need to worry about anything or anyone else, except yourself, so yeah, I think I’ve got a lot better at that since in turned pro.  Just pretty much take care of yourself.  If you do the right thing, do the 1 per cent of it right and hopefully it can add up at the end of the week.

Q.  Are you trying to challenge Cameron Smith with the hair at the back?  Are you starting to grow a mullet?

MIN WOO LEE:  Yeah, I actually posted my first mullet on Instagram and I got a bit of backlash over it because it wasn’t cut high enough and that, so it’s a little shorter and a bit more defined.  So yeah, I mean, I’m not challenging him, that’s why his is pretty dirty and I probably can’t match that, but you know, as someone said, it was like the first mullet to ever win, so that’s pretty cool.

Q.  Just on the Masters, can you put into words, you get an invitation and open it, that moment you’re going to Augusta, how cool was that?

MIN WOO LEE:  I didn’t get the actual invitation, my manager did, so hopefully when I get it, it will be like that, but I mean, just to share to the world that I got into it, it was – it got a lot of attention and it’s just awesome.  I think I said in my other interview, it’s just something you dream of as a kid and you try to get to the Masters.  I don’t think it will sink in until I get there.  It’s just going to be a different field, so I’m looking forward to it.  It’s going to be pretty special.

Q.  Can you confirm, are you the best in your family at the moment?  Who’s the better player?

MIN WOO LEE:  I don’t know.  I mean, we’re pretty close, I would say we’re pretty close.  One thing I can say is – I probably shouldn’t say it – but no, no, it’s good.  I’ve said it in every interview, but we played a few tournaments and we’ve halved in all of them, so maybe the next one is the rematch, but I don’t really get to see her.  We try to get away from golf as much as we can when we see each other.

Q.  I know you’ve got many factors that are your favourite, but are you able to just turn to Minjee and say, I’ve just gone 50 metres past you?

MIN WOO LEE:  Yeah, I mean, 50 is pretty generous, I’m more than that.  But she does everything pretty solid.  She doesn’t really make a mistake and in the long run she might get me in that, but if there’s a short stint, I might be able to get her on that.  No, it’s good fun.  Off the same tees obviously I’d hit it too past her, so she whinged and she says I need to play off the ladies, so I have to give her a little handicap if we do play on the same tees.

Q.  Does it impress Mum and Dad?  What impresses your parents for you two, we talk about you guys are going to head down the golf course, what are your Mum and Dad most proud of?

MIN WOO LEE:  I don’t know, I think obviously they’re happy.  They’ve actually got a café back home and they put up posters and newspapers, little things like that.  But Mum was bawling her eyes when I was calling her while my sister was winning, so that was pretty cool and she said the same thing, she did the same thing when I won.  So I think just, I don’t know, they created us and, I don’t know, we did well I guess, but yeah, genetically, she was a golf pro and Dad was pretty sport genetic too.  He was a swimming coach and he did every other sport, so I think it was good to play at a really high stage and show them what we’ve got.

Q.  Did they when you were kids drum into you, playing good golf’s good, but you need to be a good person as well?  How much of that came into your upbringing?

MIN WOO LEE:  Yeah, Mum’s quite hard work sometimes and I try and not be like her sometimes.  No, we learn.  They’re really good people and I think we’re just, I think my sister and I have got those genes and I guess you know, just doing all these interviews and being around a lot of people, I think golf makes you a good person.  I don’t think you want to be known as that mean guy or anything like that.  We like to enjoy it and have fun and mess around, so yeah, hopefully we can keep doing that.

Q.  Thanks very much Min for coming in and good luck this week.

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