Herbert Warms To The Sight Of His Photograph Up There With Tiger & Rory

….. Emirates GC, Dubai

Can there be anything more rewarding sight for a golfer than to see your photograph among those featuring Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy as fellow former tournament champions.

That was the scenario for Lucas Herbert as he worked on his putting ahead of this week’s Hero Dubai Desert Classic.

The Hero Motor Corp, and the world’s largest manufacturer of motor-cycles, has arranged here at the Emirates Golf Club for all 34 former Desert Classic champions photographs to placed in line from England’s Mark James in 1989 to Norwegian Victor Hovland a year ago on the huge corporate structure at the back of the ninth and 18th holes, and that at the overlooks the stunning Bedouin-style clubhouse and also the practice putting green.

There are images of Woods as the winner in 2006 and 2008, along with current World No. 1 McIlroy in 2009 and again in 2015 while if you look at the 2020 champion it was Aussie Lucas Herbert, winning in a play-off over South African Christian Bezuidenhout.

Herbert became only the second Australian-born winner since fellow Victorian Richard Green in 1997 when he shocked major winners Greg Norman and Ian Woosnam also in a play-off.

Herbert’s victory could not have occurred on a better day as it was January 26th – Australia Day – and while there was no champagne victory shower for Herbert, organisers took Herbert back to their offices where he celebrated with his caddy and friends over a glass of wine.

“Seeing my picture up there with all the former champs is a sight for sore eyes,” said Herbert.

“I naturally have some very fond memories playing here at the Emirates Club, and I always love coming back here.  I really love the golf course, and it’s always good fun.

“Looking back three years ago when I won, it was my putting that was key.  It was a special week being my first win while there is no feeling that matches anything like the emotions you have when you win for the first time.  There’s that ecstasy of winning a first golf tournament and that can’t be matched”.

Herbert was reminded of the bottle of white wine that was opened within the offices of the tournament organisers and also how nice it would be to win this week, with Australia Day being the first day of the record $US 9m event.

“The funny thing is that I seem to be winning on public holidays”, he joked.

Of course, since Herbert’s maiden pro career win in Dubai he’s won for a second time on the DP World Tour, leading from start to finish to win the 2021 Irish Open.

A month later, Herbert earned a place in the Korn Ferry Tour Finals in the category finishing inside the top 25, to earn a PGA Tour card for the 2021-22 wraparound season.

With a full 2021/22 PGA Tour card in his possession Herbert missed the cut in his opening two events, and in a third superbly won on the PGA Tour in capturing the Bermuda Championship.

He finished a maiden PGA Tour year 44th on the FedEx Cup standings earning a cool $US 2.5m from his 20 events.  Though he’s only played the two events on the 2022/23 schedule.

“It was always my goal to secure a PGA Tour card while my next goal is to establish myself on the Tour and then to start contending in the majors,” he said.

“Playing here in Dubai is my first event this year, so I’m looking forward to the New Year and the opportunities it will present”.

One of those is next week’s Asian Tour’s Saudi Invitational at the Royal Greens course laid out along the stunning Red Sea shoreline.

However, to tee-up in the event, featuring a field of just 126 players and with many of them LIV golfers and a dozen being major champions, Herbert needed a ‘release’ from both the PGA Tour and DP World Tour.

“I’ve had to secure a release from both tours that I am a member to compete next week in Saudi,” he said.

“I want to play next week given I am already over here in the Middle East while there are a lot of good players teeing-up, and it’s a great golf course that’s a good test of golf.

“So, both this week in Dubai and Saudi were easy events for me to enter”.

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