Australian PGA Championship
'Let him cook': Tour pro lives up to viral catch phrase with home win, eyes big 2024 season on PGA Tour
Min Woo Lee leans into his viral catch phrase "Let him cook" by wearing a chefs hat as he closed in on the win at the 2023 Australian PGA Championship.
BRISBANE, Australia — It's hard to know where Min Woo Lee does his best work. Tournament results this year suggest it's on golf's biggest stages. But one could argue it's on social media. There, the younger brother of LPGA star Minjee Lee does everything from mobilize his 600,000-plus total followers with a catchphrase, "Let him cook," to obtaining Steph Curry's cell phone through Instagram DMs.
"I'm in the TGL, and he's an investor," Lee said. "I messaged him and said, 'Get me on your team.' He hasn’t messaged me back [laughs]."
Lee is among professional golf's post-TikTok generation; joining the paid ranks after the video platform was created in 2016. He's as comfortable chipping in for eagle during a DP World Tour victory as he is posting a video online. His drives regularly reach 190 mph in ball speed. His short game resembles wizardry. And on Sunday, he did all of the above during a stunning three-shot win at the Australian PGA Championship.
Lee, 25, fended off a field of stars from Australia, Europe and Asia to capture the first of two tournaments that make up the DP World Tour’s Down Under swing. Lee began the final day with a three-shot lead at Royal Queensland and a closing 68 gave him a 20-under-par 264 total. He defeated runner-up Rikuya Hoshino of Japan for his third career DP World Tour win. Lee is expected to rise to a career-high No. 38 on the Official World Golf Rankings when the next listing becomes is posted on Monday.
Australian Marc Leishman (64) was third at 16 under. Former U.S. Amateur champion Curtis Luck (69) was fourth, while LIV golfer Joaquin Niemann was fifth at 13 under, making an ace at the par-3 fourth. Adam Scott (sixth), Lucas Herbert and Cameron Davis were some of the names in the top 10.
The final scoreboard didn't reflect how close the scores were early. Lee's overnight lead was gone after two holes when Hoshino started the final day birdie-birdie while Lee made bogey-par. But only moments later, World No. 45 Lee showed why he finished T-6 at the Players this year and T-5 at the U.S. Open. Lee nearly aced the par-3 fourth and almost drove the 390-yard par-4 sixth. He birdied the par-5 seventh before setting up the shot of the tournament.
In the rough short of the green at the 574-yard, par-5 ninth, with Hoshino snapping at his heels, Lee, a former U.S. Junior champion, pitched his ball up and ran it 30 feet into the hole for eagle. He let out a primal scream, knowing the back nine was likely going to be a procession.
“I think that was probably the best atmosphere shot I’ve ever hit,” Lee said of the eagle.
After three birdies and a bogey in the middle of the inward nine, Lee walked through the tunnel at the par-3 17th with a four-shot lead. The 17th was styled as a party hole with bleachers full of bars and well-lubricated fans. Lee missed the green left, but played a deft pitch shot and made the four-foot par putt. Even a bogey at the 72nd hole couldn't dampen Lee's triumph.
“It's unbelievable,” Lee, who is PGA Tour-bound in 2024, having secured enough non-member FedEx Cup points to qualify for a card in the new year, said. “I’ve always thought I could win, but it took a while to get over the hump. Two wins in the last month or so, I’m really proud of my team and myself. There are no limits. I want to be the No.1 player in the world."
Watching on television was Lee's two-time major winner sister, Minjee. The 27-year-old had just gotten to Australia from the U.S. ahead of next week's Australian Open in Sydney, which is a mixed gender event.
"So proud, congrats to my little bro. Winner," Minjee posted to social media, with some relevant emojis.
The Lees have become pro golf's most fascinating siblings. Minjee, who recently secured her 10th LPGA Tour victory at the BMW Ladies Championship in October, and has two majors to her credit at age 27. She's the quiet, reserved one of the two, who hail from Perth on Australia's west coast. “You could say I’m the opposite,” Lee told Australian Golf Digest recently. "I think he’s just really comfortable showing his personality. I’m just a little bit more introverted.”
“Minjee’s a one-of-a-kind golfer and I’m slowly becoming a name myself," Lee said. "Every time I win, it seems like next week she wins. So, if you guys want to put some money on my sister next week."
Min Woo is the showman. His occasionally errant tee shots and thrilling escapes make him more like some of the other names on the Australian PGA trophy: Seve Ballesteros (1981), Greg Norman (1984, ’85), and Joe Kirkwood, the Australian pro and traveling trick-shot artist after whom the trophy is named.
So it was appropriate that on the 72nd green, during an interview, Lee said of his chip-in eagle, "I wanna see [the video] straight away. I would like to see it."
Well, that's easy. It's already on social media.