22 Jul 2022 | Professional golf |
Lucas Herbert's summer homecoming
by Martin Blake
Lucas Herbert is making a homecoming for the Australian summer of golf in 2022 as he strives to win the glittering prize of his first big championship in his native country.
Following his second top-15 finish in a major this year at the Open Championship at St Andrews, the 26-year-old Australian will play the Fortinet Australian PGA Championship at Royal Queensland from 24 to 27 November and the Australian Open at Victoria Golf Club and Kingston Heath in Melbourne from 1 to 4 December.
Both tournaments are co-sanctioned by the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia and the DP World Tour, formerly known as the European Tour, which is making a swing through Australia over the summer to launch its season.
The Fortinet Australian PGA Championship has a prize pool of $2 million AUD, the richest prize on the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia, following a successful 2021 event that offered plenty of fun and action at Royal Queensland where the event will remain for at least the next two years.
The Australian Open has a different look in 2022 after a two-year absence, with men’s and women’s Opens vying for a combined purse of $3.4 million AUD, as well as the Australian All Abilities Championship all being played at the same time on the same courses on the Melbourne Sandbelt.
World No. 52 Herbert said he had no hesitation about his decision to return home and play.
“I am definitely looking forward to the trip home,” he said, “I have been fortunate to spend most of the season in the United States and I certainly miss being home in Australia with my family and friends. I also really enjoy playing golf in Australia and am greatly looking forward to that as well.”
Herbert has won on the DP World Tour (twice, in 2020 and 2021) and the US PGA Tour in 2021, but through ill fortune and the pandemic, he has not yet put a top-level Australian tournament on his curriculum vitae. His best result in the big events was tied-sixth in the Australian Open at The Australian in 2017, when he led through two rounds and ended up in the final group with Jason Day on the last day before succumbing to Cam Davis.
The Victorian’s best golf has been played overseas, but that is something he aims to change. “It would mean the world to me,” he said. “Australian golf is so important to me and to be able to win at home is something I have always dreamed of doing – it is a huge goal of mine.”
Gavin Kirkman, Chief Executive of the PGA of Australia, said: “This is great news about Lucas coming home again. He’s become a world-class player and we’re delighted with what he’s done on both the DP World Tour and the PGA Tour, winning on both continents. I have no doubt that the crowds will get behind him at Royal Queensland and in Melbourne. He’s great to watch and a terrific ambassador for our sport.”
James Sutherland, Chief Executive of Golf Australia, said: “Lucas is a great success story for golf in this country. He’s graduated from country Victoria to the state High Performance programs to become a really confident and competitive professional player with wins on both sides of the world. We’re pleased to see him coming back for the big events and we see this as only the beginning of what we hope to be a string of really positive announcements about the summer of golf in Australia.”
Victorian Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events Steve Dimopoulos said: “We can’t wait to welcome some of the world’s best golfers to some of the world’s best golf courses, right here in Victoria, Australia’s sporting capital.”
“Fans are in for the ultimate golfing spectacle as the Men’s and Women’s Australian Opens are played side by side, a world first for the sport.”
Queensland Tourism and Sport Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said after a huge weekend for Australian golf, fans will be looking to the Royal Queensland Golf Club for a world-class line-up of golfers.
“As one of the world’s best on the fairway, Lucas Herbert’s appearance at the Australian PGA makes Brisbane the perfect getaway destination for Australian golf fans this November,” Mr Hinchliffe said
“It’s exciting to have Australia’s Lucas Herbert confirmed as one of the first of many great golfers to lock in an appearance at the Australian PGA.
“I know many fans also have their fingers crossed for a certain world No. 2 from Queensland to make a triumphant return to Brisbane for an Australian PGA homecoming at the Royal Queensland.
“For golfing fans, November’s Australian PGA is a great opportunity to stay longer and explore Brisbane’s many world-class visitor experiences.”
Brisbane Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner said after Australia's incredible feats at the British Open, it was fantastic to lock in high profile player Lucas Herbert.
“From Cam Smith’s legendary win at the Open to Lucas’ outstanding placing of 15th, our Aussies are on fire ahead of the PGA Championship in Brisbane this November,” he said.
“With the world’s greatest golfers swinging into the city, we are expecting 40,000 spectators for the Championship, delivering a $16 million economic benefit that will flow into businesses and bolster our local economy.”
The Fortinet Australian PGA Championship is proudly supported by the Queensland Government, through Tourism and Events Queensland and Brisbane City Council, through Brisbane Economic Development Agency. Tickets, Hospitality and VIP Experiences are on sale via Ticketek now.
The Australian Open is proudly supported by the Victorian Government through Visit Victoria. Tickets, Hospitality and VIP Experiences are on sale via Ticketek now.
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