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29 Nov 2022 | Australian Open |

Herbert doing it for mum

by Dane Heverin

Luca Herbert.

A shock breast cancer diagnosis for his mother Meredith is serving as Lucas Herbert’s inspiration for chasing a maiden ISPS HANDA Australian Open title at Victoria and Kingston Heath golf clubs this week.

The Herbert family became aware of the illness a couple of months ago and despite having to withdraw from a tournament for the first time in his career at last week’s Fortinet Australian PGA Championship due to concerns with a disc in his back, Lucas was not going to miss a chance to put a smile on his mother’s face.

“It’s sad to watch your parents go through that kind of stuff but she’s more stubborn than me, so I know that she’ll get through everything and get there at some point,” Herbert said.

“My Dad’s a great support for her. I know he’ll do more than she wants him to do at home, so that sort of takes a bit of the pressure away and makes me feel a little bit more at ease, obviously being out there on tour.

“We’ve had a lot of conversations about it the last couple of weeks and Mum more than anything wants me to go and play well and get my head on TV so that it gives her something to watch sitting at home, rather than being able to travel with me.

“So, if that’s what she wants me to do, I’m going to have to go and work on that for her.”

Herbert has bounced between the PGA Tour and DP World Tour in the past 18 months and admitted it can be a struggle to find time to come home amongst such a busy schedule.

The 26-year-old hails from Bendigo in country Victoria and he believes his father Lyndon does not receive the credit he deserves for making his son the golfer he is today.

In his final two years of school, Lyndon would wake up around 4 am every Thursday to drive Lucas down to Melbourne for a 6.30am training session at the Victorian Institute of Sport.

Lyndon would take him back to school and then in the afternoon they were off to Ballarat - an hour and a half drive - to train with his long-time Dom Azzopardi.

“That was us for a Thursday for two years of school and that kind of felt like nothing.  He’d do that kind of stuff all the time,” Herbert said.  

“Aussie Masters in 2014, I finished 11th and didn’t get the invite to the Australian Open, so he goes, I’ll drive you to Sydney tonight, because we couldn’t get a flight. He drove me overnight to Sydney to get to the Monday qualifier, then caddied for me when we got in.

“He was doing that sort of stuff for me all the time when I was a kid, so I think he’s going to love stepping into that role again of caring for Mum and looking after Mum again.  That sort of puts me at ease a little bit more to go travel a bit.”

As for his own physical condition this week, Herbert admitted he may not have teed it up if his injury concerns had arrived at a different time of the year.

“I want to win the Australian Open,” he said. “I don’t want to sit on my couch and watch someone else win it this week and we’ve got a lot of time off after this week as well. 

“I think if this was going to be the first event of a seven in nine week stretch, something like that, you’d probably look at whether this is the right time to come back, just to give yourself the most time to recover, but I think being the last event of the season, it’s in a good enough position where I feel like I can play this week and not do any more damage. That’s where I feel like I’m at.”

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