As he prepares to defend his Scottish Open title against one of the best fields assembled in men’s golf this year, Min Woo Lee has opened up on his goal of being a part of Trevor Immelman’s Presidents Cup side later this year.
Having spent the majority of the year in America chasing a PGA Tour card, Lee is back in Europe ahead of his next major start at The Open. With likely a greater opportunity to earn a spot for the Internationals at Quail Hollow given the number of players who will be seemingly unavailable due to their involvement in the LIV Golf Series fronted by compatriot Greg Norman.
“For me personally, my goal was to be on the PGA Tour and get on the Presidents Cup team, and with that, I can't do that,” Lee said when asked of his thoughts on LIV. “At the end of the day I'm just trying to play the best golf I can and I'm happy where I am, playing Europe and playing America. So play well and it will handle itself. I'm really happy with where I am. I know I haven't been playing that good, so I need to focus on playing good.”
Playing well is part of the equation, but Lee brings some of the qualities that are ideal for team competition at the highest level, including power, competitive fire and a sense of fun that relaxes those around him.
The other element is the players who will potentially be unavailable if the PGA Tour sanctions remain in place, a list which includes previous Presidents Cup representatives Branden Grace, Louis Oosthuizen, Abraham Ancer and Charl Schwartzel.
RIGHT: Lee will defend the trophy he won at the same venue in Scotland in 2021. PHOTO: Andrew Redington/Getty Images.
“For me, I think some people might not want to play that event (Presidents Cup) going to the LIV Tour, but I've just been pro for three and a half years and I really enjoyed playing team events as an amateur and I want to get that feeling back,” Lee said. “Every day it means something and every shot means something. Obviously, the American side is going to be crazy good, like last year, every year, but it would be nice to play in a team environment again.
“Being on a team and that camaraderie, I don't think anything beats that. I would love to be on that team.”
As for the playing element, the 23-year-old has missed more weekends than he has played so far in 2022 but has two top-30 finishes in major championships and will enjoy being back at The Renaissance Club where he claimed a play-off victory over U.S. Open champion Matt Fitzpatrick and Thomas Detry after a birdie filled final round.
“I'm happy to be back. I've been playing in America the past six months after being over earlier in the year,” the World No.69 said. “I feel like my game has improved from playing in America. Courses are tough over there and I've been playing really good and been able to lock in a little bit and feel like every week I'm learning something new.
“Last week in Ireland, the greens were really soft, so it was very different to America. It was a bit of an adjustment. Bit windy, something I'm not used to. Nice to see familiar faces and hope to play well.”
“For me, I think some people might not want to play that event (Presidents Cup) going to the LIV Tour, but I've just been pro for three and a half years and I really enjoyed playing team events as an amateur and I want to get that feeling back.” - Min Woo Lee.
Although he currently sits in 33rd on the standings for Immelman’s team, Lee has been invited to at least one of the dinners for potential team members held by the South African, suggesting he is certainly on the radar, with the LIV players still on the points list.
And while he might be in the same boat as Talor Gooch who last week likened the LIV teams element to both the Presidents Cup and Ryder Cup despite not having played in one, Lee is certain of which he would like to experience.
“That's cool, I guess they are trying to make it somewhat like fun for the fans. I mean, like I said, personally, I haven't watched it,” he said of the team format of the Saudi backed series. “I've been playing nearly every week so I've been doing my best to play on the PGA Tour and here. So it's not a Presidents Cup feel.
“For them it's every week. It's not like it's just one week and it happens every two years or every, you know, few years, like a Ryder Cup or a Presidents Cup. It means a lot more when you play those team events, when you have your country, when you're representing your country. I think it's a little different.”