Australian Open: Minjee and Min Woo want mixed teams events in golf

The next evolution of golf tournaments should be combined men’s and women’s teams events if only so Min Woo Lee can capitalise on his superstar sister Minjee’s brilliance.

This week’s Australian Open, with the men’s and women’s events to be played on the same course at the same time, is historic in itself being the first time a national title has been contested in such a fashion.

Greg Norman’s LIV Golf decided 54-hole, no-cut events with shotgun starts and music blaring was the way to take the game to new audiences.

But with a push growing to turn potentially golf at the Olympics into a mixed team event, the Lees are up for it.

“It would be nice to have a partner that hits every fairway and every green so I can just lash at it,” Min Woo said with a smile, looking at his sister, the world No.5 and US Open champion.

“Whenever it comes, I’ll be excited for it. The family is probably going to be there which is always key and we don’t get to see each other that often, so that would be amazing to play with each other \.

“We don’t really get to do that, only in tournaments like this and the Vic Open, so hopefully the bigger tours or this tour just keeps doing it and we can keep playing as a family.”

Minjee said there had been some “conversations” about such a plan but urged other players to voice their enthusiasm to make it happen sooner rather than later.

“It would be pretty cool I think if they were to put PGA and LPGA or women and men events on an international scale together,” she said.

“I guess if more players are more interested in those kinds of things, maybe we’d get the conversation rolling a bit faster.”

Brother and sister shared a practice round on Tuesday, playing with Adam Scott, a rarity for both that opened Minjee’s eyes to how far her brother, a two-time DP World Tour winner, had come.

“I actually haven‘t played that much golf with Min Woo to be fair, so just seeing him play and, you know, seeing him go about his business, I think it’s really cool to see just to experience that with him,” she said.

“He’s grown up a lot since the last time I played with him.”

They kept the brother-sister banter to a minimum as they dialled in their games after a massive year for both, particularly Minjee, who won twice and collected in excess of $5.5m.

She conceded she was “a bit tired” for the final event of her year but had pinned winning the Australian Open as a career goal even before she turned pro, so the fire was burning to get it done this week.

“Your national championship is always really high on the list and previously I haven‘t quite shown that as much in my results,” she said.

“So hopefully I can settle the nerves and just enjoy it and just play well for me and play well for the Australian crowd.”

The division of family loyalties has also been established for the Lee family, with the duo separated by half an hour for the opening round, and playing on the same course, where a large contingent is on hand to watch.

“They already talked about it. They said the first few with me and then to Min Woo,” Minjee said.

“Just obviously playing with Min, and being able to see him is really special to me and just being back in Australia I think is really cool.

“I haven’t played in a couple of years back home, so I think it’s gonna be a great week.”

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