Adelaide’s punt has legitimised LIV Golf: Herbert

Steve Larkin |

Lucas Herbert (left), with Ripper GC teammate Marc Leishman, says he’s thrilled to be with LIV Golf.
Lucas Herbert (left), with Ripper GC teammate Marc Leishman, says he’s thrilled to be with LIV Golf.

Because of LIV Golf, Lucas Herbert won a global tournament and “none of you gave a s**t”.

On April 23 last year, Herbert won the ISPS Handa Championship in Japan, his third win on the DP World Tour. Barely a ripple.

Three days later, LIV Golf debuted in Adelaide. Raucous waves.

“I won the opposite week in Japan last year and none of you gave a s**t what I did that week,” said Herbert, now on Cameron Smith’s Ripper team on the LIV circuit.

“I was thrilled myself to win. But I was also very thrilled to see the Australian public embrace the LIV Adelaide event the way they did.

“I don’t think I was really upset or annoyed that I was getting attention taken away from me up in Japan.”

Ahead of the second LIV Golf tournament in Adelaide, which starts on Friday at The Grange, Herbert – who replaced Jed Morgan on the Ripper roster for this season – still senses the impact of the first.

“The Adelaide government took a big risk in bringing a LIV event here,” the Bendigo-born golfer said.

“With the whole political environment around this tour, it could have gone either way really with how the public embraced the event.

“But to see it come out the way it did, to see Australia embrace the golf tournament the way it did, I was just really proud that we had done that.

“We created such a golfing spectacle.

“Realistically, it was a turning point in the whole LIV discussion, legitimising LIV as a tour … I was proud to see that on Australian soil.”

Lucas Herbert
Guy Sebastian (l), Lucas Herbert (c) and Port Adelaide AFL boss Matthew Richardson at LIV’s Pro Am. (Michael Errey/AAP PHOTOS)

Herbert, also a winner on the US PGA Tour, tees off on Friday in a field headlined by Smith, Spain’s Jon Rahm and American drawcards Phil Mickelson and Brooks Koepka.

The 28-year-old Herbert has heard stories of the Adelaide vibe from his Ripper teammates and fellow Australians Smith, Marc Leishman and Matt Jones.

“There’s never been a bad comment about it,” Herbert said.

“If you look at something like (US PGA Tour’s Phoenix) Waste Management Open, there’s a few guys that think that goes too far, there’s some people think that it gets too crazy.

“Whereas, as insane as this event was last year, no one said anything bad about it.

“Everyone said it was just a great time – the fans were amazing but still respectful, everyone had an amazing time, somewhat of a party.”

The Rippers rank eighth in LIV’s season-long standings, which are topped by Bryson DeChambeau’s Crushers GC.

Chile’s Joaquin Niemann heads the individual race while American Talor Gooch is the defending champion in Adelaide after shooting 20-under in the initial two rounds last year to set up victory.