MINJEE Lee, a 22-year-old pro golfer from Melbourne, Australia, is based in Florida. Here she is this weekend at the Saudia Ladies International in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, where she is playing on an exemption:
“You never know what the weather is going to be like there, especially in the middle of summer. The heat was definitely something I was thinking about, but in all honesty, I was not expecting the conditions. I felt like I had a pretty good swing. I only had one or two loose tee shots. If you miss a few of those, I think you can still finish the round.
“I didn’t expect the weather to be this hot. I think the course has to be played a little differently. I think for every player, once they set the rules up a certain way, you’ve got to adjust your game around it.
“When I first came here, I wanted to see everything that was there – everything I had heard about that sounds so good. But once I actually saw it, I realized the big difference in everything they were telling me was actually true.
“I got to see all the aquariums, the zoo, the botanical gardens, and the tombs. I loved the tombs, especially the one for Arab royalty. I don’t think I’ll see any tombs back home in Australia. They’re not that royal over there. It’s different.
“I also got to watch the player’s meet and greet that I would love to do here someday. That was the one that really stood out. Even though the weather was not so hot, it was pretty hot to start. I think my body had to adapt to it within that first few holes.
“I feel fortunate enough to play the exempt in Saudi Arabia. It was definitely good timing to be able to do it because my schedule prior to this was heavy towards the end of the year and the beginning of the next year. So it was good timing. I think that’s why you see a lot of the foreign players are coming. We want to play as many events as we can. A lot of us don’t have sponsors back home. This tournament was very easy for me to take on. It was just another event I could play.”