Young Australian pro Lucas Herbert has revealed he was on the verge of quitting golf this year as his European Tour campaign stalled and loneliness kicked in.
Herbert was so struggling with living away from home, friends and family that he returned to Melbourne after the Scottish Open in July and pondered his future.
The 23-year-old has come to the realisation that he needs to recapture his love of the game in 2020.
“Halfway through the year when I came home from the Irish and Scottish Opens, I didn’t even know if I wanted to play golf anymore,” he told the Australasian PGA Tour’s podcast. “Because I didn’t enjoy the game. I was playing great, didn’t enjoy it at all.
“Didn’t enjoy the grind, didn’t enjoy the many sacrifices you have to make to play well. I just was not in a place where I wanted to make them. Everyone wants to play well. But (I was thinking) ‘if I lose my tour card this year, I’ll happily go home and get a job as a chippy, or as a carpenter or something like that.”
Herbert’s revelation is instructive in a world where it is assumed that playing golf for a living is all fun.
Herbert, who had his breakthrough year in 2018, said it was quite common for players to regress in the second year on tour.
“If you keep going on that upward trend, it’s got to go backwards somewhere. You can’t keep trending up on the graph, otherwise you’d be No. 1 in the world at 19 years old. You’re going to have setbacks,” he said.
The Victorian, ranked 188th in the world, is on a break before returning to Europe, but has already mapped out a schedule that includes some visits from family and friends. He said work-life balance was his focus. “When you don’t love golf that much, that’s when your job sucks,’’ he said. “So If you make sure you’re enjoying golf, that’s a pretty good starting point.’’