Two of the biggest wins of Lucas Herbert’s fledgling career came amid bad weather, and he feels he’s taken the ‘next step’ in his professional journey by recording a top 10 finish in brutal conditions over the weekend. last.
So predicting a ‘slog’ at The Players Championship this week could land him as one of seven Australians playing in Florida’s elite TPC Sawgrass squad, with a check for $4.9million. waiting for the winner.
Herbert stepped on the island’s famous green on the 17th hole for the first time on Tuesday, noting that it was steeper than he thought, having only watched it on TV.
But there were other additional things to grapple with for the 26-year-old from Bendigo who, week after week, is getting acclimated to the “full throttle” nature of weekly competition on the PGA Tour.
“There’s just a lot going on around this hole. There’s a TV wire 150 yards away that has a little camera that goes back and forth the whole way,” Herbert said from Florida.
“And there are stands all over this hole, there are TV cameras all over this hole. Just kind of taking it all in and getting a sense of the place was kind of cool.
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“You feel like you know every inch of that hole watching it on social media or on a PlayStation or YouTube videos, everything like that. But seeing it in real life…it was a lot more inclined than we thought. It was rather interesting.
Already a PGA Tour winner, after his decisive victory in the United States last October which also earned him a place at this year’s Masters, Herbert said he was increasingly attuned to the demands of play on the toughest round in golf.
“I feel like I’ve come a long way mentally… there’s just no bailout. There is no safe way to play on the PGA Tour. You just have to put the throttle on full throttle,” he said.
“I think I’ve probably sorted out the mentality a little more and probably a little more physically as well.
“This whole year is going to be a process of that, going to all those places and those classes and those tournaments that I watched on TV as a kid and watched you grow up and you saw other Aussies to earn .
“It’s really cool to be here in person and play the tournament and see the golf course in tournament conditions and see all the stands up and see how hard this shot is on the 17th Sunday with adrenaline flowing.”
Herbert arrives at The Players after finishing in the top 10 at Bay Hill last weekend, having recorded the highest final round score as one of only four players to go under par in conditions the players have described as “brutal”.
It also rained when he won the Irish Open in 2021, which is scheduled for this week. So while Herbert places no abnormal expectations on himself in a field full of the best in the world, he also has hope.
“I’m not a big fan of playing in the rain, but I think every event I’ve won has rained in the final round at some point. It seems to be my thing,” he said.
“If it’s a bit of a good omen to take in the week, it’s something to hold on to.
“And it seems that whenever the conditions get tough, my mentality goes in the direction of thinking the right way and grinding pars and keeping a score together.
“I think this week is going to be a real slog. It doesn’t seem like the weather is behaving too much for us, so maybe it will play into my hands a bit more than perfectly calm conditions.