Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy sign ‘golfer of the future’ in huge blow to LIV

Rory McIlroy on Ryder Cup

Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy have proven that they are still the biggest names in golf by convincing one of the game’s rising superstars to sign up for their new Team Golf League. Australia’s Min Woo Lee is one of a host of stars who have signed up for the inaugural TGL competition, which fuses traditional golf with state-of-the-art technology to stage matches on Monday evenings at a purpose-built 2,000-capacity venue in Florida called the SoFi Center.

A top-class field will consist of six teams of four players, with three from each side competing in head-to-head matches over a two-hour period.

Promising to give golf fans a “high-tech, high energy” experience, some of the best players in the world will compete in a massive virtual simulator and short game complex.

Some of the biggest names from the PGA Tour have already signed up, including Ryder Cup stars Jon Rahm, Max Homa, Tommy Fleetwood, Justin Thomas, Matt Fitzpatrick, Justin Rose, Adam Scott, Xander Schauffele, Shane Lowry and Rickie Fowler, not to mention Woods and McIlroy themselves.

But the capture of Min Woo Lee is seen as a major coup with the rookie star also attracting big interest from the Saudi-funded LIV golf league.

The 24-year-old Australian, who was born to Korean immigrants, has enjoyed a breakout season on the PGA Tour, securing a Special Temporary Membership after strong performances at The Players and PGA Championship.

This week he is in Japan at ZOZO Championship, where he is closing in on full PGA Tour status for next season.

“Oh, it’s amazing,” Lee told reporters at the Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club when asked about joining the TGL. “Look at the roster, it’s crazy. It seems like everyone, and then there’s me. I’m trying to do my best and compete with these guys.

“These guys, obviously, major champions and best in the world. I guess a bit of my fun personality and hopefully, I can play some good golf there, too. I really like that, like type of format, team event. I’m not sure what team I’ll be on, but yeah, I’ll be really excited.”

Lee comes from a family with plenty of pedigree in the sport. His mum was a professional golfer and his dad plays off a handicap of 1. Sister Minjee Lee is setting the standard, however. She is one of the top players on the LPGA tour and is currently world No. 7 in the women’s game.

Min Woo Lee’s own popularity has grown away from the course thanks to his prolific social media posts. “I just love doing social media and trying to make it fun,” he said in an interview with Hype Beast. “I don’t have a social media manager or anything like that. I just do it myself and try to make it fun for everyone who follows me.”

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Lee already has two DP World Tour titles to his name and with a fifth-placed finish at the US Open, he will be one to watch in the coming years.

But it his popularity on social media that is sure to have secured his place on the TGL, with “Let him cook” now firmly established as his online catchphrase.

Explaining the phrase, he said: “I said it once and then I put it on my TikTok, and then ever since literally half my comments are ‘let him cook.’ So I started doing it on Instagram, and then I think those fans from TikTok came over to Instagram and now Instagram has a lot of that stuff. And yeah I don’t know, I just saw it somewhere and I just did it, and then everyone started doing it, so now I’m saying ‘let him cook’ nearly every time I post.

“I’m just a kid that wants to be a great player and a great golfer. So just let him cook and let him do his thing.”

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