As a 10-handicapper, there are many reasons for me to be jealous of Min Woo Lee, but what he experienced at the European Tour’s recent AVIV Championship in Dubai took things to a whole new level.

In contention for the tournament on the final day, Lee hit a tee shot to the right of the fairway.

Big deal, I’ve done that. Do it eight times a round.

Spectators ducked for cover, but no one saw where the ball landed or where it ended up.

As he and his caddie arrived at the scene of the disappearance, the clock started. Three minutes. Find it or go back to the tee with your hopes of winning in your back pocket along with a one-stroke penalty.

Detectives masquerading as rules officials declared ‘Case closed!’ only for an eyewitness to emerge with a crucial piece of evidence, convinced they had pin-pointed the exact location inside the allotted 180 seconds.

Debate ensued, more witnesses were called, Lee’s caddie pleaded the case for the accused and the Perth pro was given not only the benefit of the doubt on the timing of the discovery but relief from its position beside a staked tree.

What. A. Rush.

Finding a seemingly lost ball is one of golf’s greatest thrills. It started when I was a young bloke at Coffs Harbour. Going out to play with three beaten-up Hot Dots in the bottom of my bag and finding a misplaced Optima over the course of 18 holes was akin to a lottery win. Even today, when I frequent the park down the road from my house to hit 8-irons from one side of a creek to the other, returning home carrying the same number of balls I started with is my idea of the perfect start to a day.

I wasn’t quite so fortunate on this particular morning. One shot was thinned so badly it failed to cross the creek at all and my last swing of the session was a shank that couldn’t have ended up more in the middle of the junk if I’d called in a certified surveyor. But that lost ball was soon forgotten when the one fluoro yellow sphere in the morning shag bag was found after an exhaustive search of at least 10 minutes and right at the point where I was convinced its fate was sealed.

It might be the closest I’ll ever get to knowing the mix of relief and exhilaration that coursed through Min Woo Lee on that Sunday in Dubai.

Yet here’s the rub. I hate looking for the lost balls of my playing partners. Despise it. 

I’m not proud to admit it, but sometimes it takes me three whole minutes to get across to said playing partner to assist in the search, by which time the search must be officially called off.

My favourite phrase in all of golf might just be, “Don’t worry about it, you guys keep going.”

There is a heroism that washes over me when I am the one that solves the mystery and reunites a mate with their misdirected dimpled orb, but I am ruthless when it comes to leaving it behind for a more fortunate golfer to find later that day. Looking for golf balls sucks; but the thrill of the chase and the wave of emotions a find brings forth is a joy unlike any other.

I just wish we had more than three minutes to look for my ball.

Feature image by Getty images: Mark Runnacles