Danny Lee thought he was done with winning. The New Zealander had played 11 seasons on the PGA Tour, keeping his card in nine while battling injuries.

He never fulfilled the potential he promised when, in a 12-month span, he overcame Tiger Woods’ record as the youngest winner of the US Amateur (in 2008) and won a DP World Tour event before turning pro.

Lee grinded on the PGA Tour until the end, famously practising off range mats at a muny in Los Angeles last month following a poor opening round at the Genesis Invitational in what turned out to be his last PGA Tour start as a member. He joined LIV Golf last month as a member of Kevin Na’s Iron Heads GC team.


It’s why the 32-year-old let out shrieks of emotion when he rammed a birdie putt through the fringe and into the hole on the second sudden-death playoff hole at LIV Golf’s Tucson event Sunday, the second stop in the league’s sophomore season.

Lee, who shot a final-round 69, had gotten himself into a four-man playoff at The Gallery at nine-under par with Louis Oosthuizen (70), Brendan Steele (70) and Carlos Ortiz (65). Ortiz was eliminated after the first extra hole, where Lee missed a six-foot birdie putt to win everything.


But on the second trip down No.18 at The Gallery, Lee took the playoff by the scruff of the neck from 2010 Open champion Oosthuzien and Steele, who couldn’t get anything going.

Using a broomstick putter, Lee sank what turned out to be a $US4.125 million putt – $4 million for the individual victory, in his second start as a LIV player, and $125,000 for Lee’s share of the $500,000 the Iron Heads pocketed for coming third in the team event.

“I’m speechless right now,” an emotional Lee said in his greenside interview. “Honestly, I wasn’t even looking at the individual score all day. I was only asking how is our team doing? That’s the reason why Kevin called. That’s why I wanted to come over here to win as a team, we’re a little bit shorter on the teams [leaderboard].”


Lee’s only PGA Tour win came at the Greenbrier Classic in 2015. In 303 total starts on tour, he racked up five runner-up finishes, three third-places and 28 total top-10s. With chronic back and wrist injuries, he also compiled 18 WDs.

“This individual victory, it means a lot,” Lee said. “I haven’t won since 2015. I just felt like winning wasn’t my thing, but today that just changed. It just good to see I’m capable of playing some good golf.”

While Lee and his Irons Heads were third at 19-under, Sergio Garcia’s Fireballs GC ran away with the title at 25-under to win by four shots over Dustin Johnson’s 4Aces GC. The Fireballs earned $3 million, while the Aces will take home $1.5 million.


Lee told Golf Digest last month that the teams aspect was what got him over the line when Na called and asked Lee, who earned over $15 million on the PGA Tour, to join the Iron Heads team which also includes Sihwan Kim and Scott Vincent. Lee, who like Na has Korean heritage, had reservations about LIV Golf, which is funded by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment.

“[Na] told me If I missed this opportunity, I would kick myself,” Lee told Golf Digest at LIV Golf’s Mayakoba event last month. “I was a little scared without knowing what it’s all about. I asked Kevin, ‘is this what I should do? Is this the right decision?’ Unless you’re over here playing golf it’s hard to understand what LIV is like. But I do know that I haven’t heard of a single complaint by a LIV player so far. They just want to make this sport better and it’s already worked out [for golfers with the additional influx of money].”

Now, over $4 million richer and a winner again, the Texas-based Lee no longer has reservations.

“I just love [the teams aspect] for me,” Lee said. “I think it’s even better mentally because I can never give up one shot out here. The team is watching. You don’t know what’s going to happen out here. So I just love it.