Lucas Herbert has to get a back injury right for the Australian Open after making a mid-round decision to pull out of the PGA last week.
It wasn’t just that the Stonehaven Cup is a must-win for every Australian player, and a sandbelt victory added to that made it crucial he tees it up after injuring himself in Queensland last week.
But for Herbert every tournament he plays, here or in the US where he’s a PGA Tour winner, is another chance to “get my head on TV” and give his mother Meredith something to cheer for as she battles through breast cancer and the chemotherapy sessions she has coming up.
The shock diagnosis only came a couple of months ago, with Herbert, who hails from Bendigo in country Victoria, on the road as he so often is and will continue to be.
For the 26-year-old, who is also a two-time winner on the DP World Tour, family “is everything” and the new challenge for his family is weighing heavily on his mind.
But his mum’s desire for him to make sure he’s playing well enough to be front and centre on TV broadcasts is all the motivation he needs to fire up this week.
“It’s sad to sort of watch your parents go through that kind of stuff, but she’s more stubborn than me,” Herbert said on Tuesday at Victoria Golf Club, choking up talking about his mum.
“So I know that she’ll get through everything and get there at some point.
“My dad’s a great support for her and I know he will do more than she wants him to do at home, so that sort of takes a bit of the pressure away from me and makes me feel a little bit more 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 gives her something to watch, you know, early in the mornings or late at night, sitting at home, rather than being able to travel with me.
“So if that’s what she wants to do, I’m gonna have to go and work on that for her.”
Herbert knows there will be moments when he’s away, with tournaments to play for the world No.57 to break back inside the top 50 and earn a ticket back to the Masters.
But with the sacrifices his family made, in particular his father Lyndon, to ensure he made the most of his talents, playing as well as he can is how he’ll serve them best.
“I’ve looked at the schedule to see when I can get back next and it’s just tricky,” he said,
“From January to August it’s gonna be flat out, so I don’t know whether we’ll get back.
“But I know that dad will be looking after her better than she needs, basically. I know that she’ll get through everything.”