I Was At 'Breaking Point' - Herbert Shoots 63 On Return From Seven-Week 'Mental Reset'

Lucas Herbert says golf had made him a "bitter and spiteful person" as he returned from a seven-week break to shoot 63 at the Fortinet Championship

Lucas Herbert at the Fortinet Championship
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Lucas Herbert shot 63 on his return to golf following a self-imposed break from the game to get a "mental reset" after feeling he'd become "a bitter and spiteful person" on the course.

The Australian missed the cut at The Open and then took seven weeks off, sacrificing the rest of the season in order to deal with things both on and off the course that had been bringing him down.

After returning to the PGA tour with a fine opening round at the Fortinet Championship, Herbert opened up on his struggles and why he felt he needed a complete break away from golf.

"I felt like heading to Europe for the Scottish and The Open, if I wasn't probably inside the top 100 after those two events, I wasn't going to try and bother chasing the Playoffs. I just knew that I needed that mental reset," said Herbert.

"From the outside it doesn't look like the greatest decision to make, but I really needed the reset. Yeah, I was just able to get away from golf for a while."

Herbert says disappointment on the golf course, coupled with issues off it, just piled on the pressure so much that he let it get the better of him - culminating in him being disappointed with his own actions at Royal Liverpool.

"Golf's been getting me down pretty hard this year," Herbert added. "It was just a tough stretch there where I had a lot going on both in my life and on the golf course as well.

"It was a lot of stuff. I just think a lot's happened for me this year. I've had to deal with a lot off the golf course and it felt like I was kind of idling at 80 percent when I did get on the course.

See more

"I think I'd become probably a bitter and spiteful person. Not over the top, but I didn't like the version of myself I look back on and see at The Open Championship. I think I was wound up pretty tight and kind of lashed out at people around me too quickly, too easily.

"The break was a good chance for me to be able to get away and reset, just get away from this life. I just think you're under the pump so much, so much pressure on you externally and internally to play well. Yeah, to be able to get away from that, you're sort of able to kind of find yourself a little bit again."

Slippery slope led to breaking point

Lucas Herbert hits an iron shot

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Herbert had some immediate success on the PGA Tour, but says the pressure of trying to stay at the top when his game wasn't quite clicking led to him reaching breaking point - with it being so hard to take a break during the season.

"You're into the biggest events against the best players, I think it was just whether it's pressure from external or there's just expectations internally that you're just going to keep going up.

"It doesn't take much for you to be off out here. When you don't get a few of those results, it just compounds and it compounds and you put more pressure on yourself, and it gets worse and very quickly you can go down a slippery slope.

"It's pretty hard to take any time off in the middle of the season. Go and tell me to miss Memorial, I'm never going to do that, it's such an amazing event, but it was probably what I needed at the time. I just didn't have the ability to go and do that. 

"It sort of got to a point, a sort of breaking point, I just had to do it. Didn't really watch a lot of golf. It was just lovely to get away from the game, to be honest."

Paul Higham

Paul Higham is a sports journalist with over 20 years of experience in covering most major sporting events for both Sky Sports and BBC Sport. He is currently freelance and covers the golf majors on the BBC Sport website.  Highlights over the years include covering that epic Monday finish in the Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor and watching Rory McIlroy produce one of the most dominant Major wins at the 2011 US Open at Congressional. He also writes betting previews and still feels strangely proud of backing Danny Willett when he won the Masters in 2016 - Willett also praised his putting stroke during a media event before the Open at Hoylake. Favourite interviews he's conducted have been with McIlroy, Paul McGinley, Thomas Bjorn, Rickie Fowler and the enigma that is Victor Dubuisson. A big fan of watching any golf from any tour, sadly he spends more time writing about golf than playing these days with two young children, and as a big fair weather golfer claims playing in shorts is worth at least five shots. Being from Liverpool he loves the likes of Hoylake, Birkdale and the stretch of tracks along England's Golf Coast, but would say his favourite courses played are Kingsbarns and Portrush.