Luke Elvy: What Am I Missing?

After 20 years in the media I have learnt one important fact, ratings are everything; it’s why some stories get more coverage than others (think Schapelle Corby). What I’m yet to grasp though, is why do similar stories have completely different impacts?

Take Lydia Ko and MinJee Lee for example. Both are prodigiously talented teenagers making their way in the world of women’s golf. In all likelihood, they will have some sort of rivalry throughout the years.

Minjee Lee Minjee Lee (Credit: Anthony Powter)

Last year Ko, then an amateur, grabbed worldwide attention as she led the Women’s Australian Open heading into the final round at Royal Canberra. Golf Channel made the decision to show it live in the US and despite Ko being run down by Jiyai Shin. It was a ratings success.

This time Lee, a year older than the Kiwi superstar, was doing exactly the same, only minus all the fanfare. There was next to no news in Australia about her impressive run, little less around the globe – outside of golf media that is.

It’s like nobody knew who she was, despite finishing second to Cheyenne Woods just a week ago. Admittedly, MinJee doesn’t quite boast the same resume as Ko, but two Australian Amateur titles plus the 2012 US Girls Amateur is pretty impressive for a 17-year-old.

If she’d pulled off the victory at Victoria Golf Club and became the first amateur to win the tournament, she’d be big news everywhere. Instead Karrie Webb won her fifth National Open and rightly claimed the limelight.

But where was the excitement for Lee? Why didn’t the world connect with the West Australian like they should have? Am I missing something?

Cheyenne Woods got oodles of press when she won last week because she’s Tiger’s niece… I get that. It’s a fascinating story much like Lydia Ko is. On that note, for a 16 year-old to be honoured as New Zealand’s Sports Person of the Year is truly amazing.

While Lee ran out of puff over the back nine to tie 11th, she shared the lead with Webb through 54 holes. That’s seriously impressive. Better still, if you heard MinJee interviewed over the past two weeks you’ll know she speaks beautifully. She’s bright and positive and has a great attitude, not only to her golf, but also life.

It’s fair to say she ticks all the boxes. Yet if you didn’t watch the golf you wouldn’t know it. Sometime soon MinJee Lee will be a big star and everyone will speak of her in glowing terms… I just can’t understand why they missed the chance to start now.

On the PGA Tour, Bubba Watson is back in the headlines after claiming his first win since capturing the 2012 Masters. Bend it like Bubba became a catch phrase after that astonishing hooked wedge to beat Louis Oosthuizen in a playoff.

But the only thing bent over the past 18 months was Bubba’s head as he wrestled with the magnitude of that victory plus the pressures of being a new parent. However after a second at Scottsdale and now a win at Riviera, Watson appears back on track.

Very few speak in glowing terms about the hot-headed American on the PGA Tour, but it’s hard to deny he’s supremely talented and fascinating to watch.

Off to the WGC Match Play they go, until next week guys.