05 Jan 2022 | Professional golf |

Twist in Herbert's off-season cricket heroics

by PGA of Australia

Lucas Herbert Sentry image
Lucas Herbert won twice in 2021. Photo: Getty

By Tony Webeck

Lucas Herbert is happy to talk about his 2021 twin wins at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and the Butterfield Bermuda Championship.

But mention hitting the winning runs in Sedgwick Cricket Club’s Tuesday night Emu Valley Cricket Association T20 game in December and settle in for a ball-by-ball account of exactly how it went down.

Brought into the Sedgwick team while home in Bendigo, Herbert found the boundary with the final ball of the game to defeat bitter rivals Marong, ending his first game of competitive cricket in two years 39 not out off just 25 balls.

The winning swipe went exactly where you would expect of a part-time park cricketer – cow corner – yet to Herbert it was a moment to rival his two tournament victories on the European Tour and PGA Tour.

“To be honest, I have told more people about that than I’ve talked about any of the tournaments that I won last year,” Herbert admitted before leaving Australia on Monday to play the Sentry Tournament of Champions in Hawaii, one of the many perks that come with a PGA Tour win.

“People come up and say, ‘Oh, Bermuda was so awesome.’ It’s like, ‘Yeah, it’s a job, but have you heard about the ‘King of Sedgwick’?’

“It was so much fun. All the boys were like, ‘Oh, so you’ll come back and play next week?’ But that’s me done for two years. I don’t need to come back. Just ride off into the sunset and come back out when I’m ready.

“I don’t use my Twitter account anymore but I’ve got the link saved to Bourkey’s video that he posted of the winning runs and I will show anyone that I did that at any opportunity.”

Formerly nicknamed the ‘Run Machine’ for his ill-fated two-game stint two years ago that yielded the grand total of one run, Herbert’s self-proclaimed new moniker of ‘King of Sedgwick’ is yet to catch on, partly because Sedgwick was stripped of their competition points when Herbert was deemed ineligible to play.

“I’ve heard a few people try and discredit me because of that, but it’s not my fault,” Herbert pleads, pointing to the qualification stipulation he was unaware of that required him to have played eight one-day games for the club to be eligible for selection.

Herbert admits that his decision to play raised eyebrows among some who believed all he would get out of it would be a career-interrupting injury but it was part of his need to disconnect after a whirlwind 2021 in which he established himself as a top-50 player in the world.

In the space of just 119 days Herbert won a second European Tour title in Ireland, earned a PGA Tour card at the Korn Ferry Tour finals – including mistakenly flying to the wrong state for the second event – and won his first PGA Tour title in wild conditions in Bermuda.

The 26-year-old now has an invitation waiting for him at his apartment in Orlando to play The Masters in April, is exempt for the 150th Open at St Andrews and has his pick of the most prestigious and most lucrative events in golf.

He admits the past month in Australia is hardly ideal preparation for the Plantation Course at Kapalua this week but insists a game of cricket with his mates was crucial in preparing for the onslaught of golf that awaits.

“It’s not as if I’ve never played cricket before, so I don’t think it’s the dumbest decision I’ll make to do that,” Herbert said of his Tuesday night cameo.

“But if I’m going to wrap myself in cotton wool for the rest of my career, I’m not going to enjoy my life.

“I’m very fortunate with what I do to be able to experience a lot. And I want to experience things. I don’t want to get to the retirement home and have no stories to tell because I just buried my head trying to get better at golf.

“I played two games prior and made a duck and one run and I got that much s--t for it and I loved it. I live in a world where a lot more people are looking up to me than they are feeling like they’re on a similar level but you go back to a country town and you get brought back down to earth pretty quick.

“I think that’s so healthy and it’s one thing that I really like to do.”

Conceding that cricket and Christmas celebrations are unlikely to bring out his best golf out of the blocks, Herbert feels a sense of freedom entering 2022.

He has his pick of events across golf’s two biggest tours for the next two years, allowing him to carefully tailor his schedule to the tournaments he feels best suited and the ones that he dreamed of playing as a kid.

“I was talking to a buddy who is looking at coming out this year and he asked me what the best weeks on Tour are,” Herbert added.

“I just told him, ‘There aren’t any bad ones. Every event we’re playing is great.’

“You’re not looking forward to one or two weeks of the year anymore. Every single week you play on the schedule that I’m on now is a really good week.

“It’s a good time to be alive in ‘22.”

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