Pro makes driver change 12 minutes before his tee time, shoots 65
Above all, this week’s Bermuda Championship will likely be remembered for being difficult. Difficult to reach, particularly for the dozens of PGA Tour pros who pulled out of the event due either to travel difficulties or to the island’s stringent Covid protocols, which mandated strict testing-and-vaccination rules. Difficult to compete in, particularly during the gale-force winds earlier in the week that were unlike anything most players had ever seen. And for Lucas Herbert, difficult to believe altogether, when his third-round Saturday was nearly derailed by a driver change was necessitated a little more than 10 minutes prior to his tee time.
The story begins on the range for Herbert, who was teeing off near the top of the leadboard for Saturday’s third round. With winds still gusting, flighting the ball was at a premium, and Herbert got to work on the range practicing his low-flighted drives.
“I was just kind of hitting a couple low ones, obviously sort of get ready for playing on a windy day,” Herbert said. “Hit one that felt weird and I hit another one that felt weird. I looked at the driver and it sort of looked a bit suspicious.”
A quick inspection revealed something wrong with the face of the club — a surprisingly common issue for PGA Tour players, who swing at such high speeds, they’re prone to mangling their equipment. Quickly, Herbert and co. scrambled into action to find a new head, but there was just one problem: it was 10:51 a.m. Herbert was due to tee off at 11:03.
“With probably 12 minutes until we teed off, it was back to the locker,” Herbert said with a laugh. “Get a new driver head.”
A few seconds later, Herbert recovered a replacement head, and hustled to get it attached and into his bag. Almost immediately, it was off to the first tee to begin his round.
“Luckily, we had spares in the locker room,” Herbert said. “Yeah, had to run with that on the fly, but it turned out all right.”
Actually, it turned out more than alright. The 25-year-old Australian shot 65 with the brand-new driver in his bag, capping off a brilliant third round to enter Sunday’s final round just two strokes off the lead.
For Herbert, 12 minutes were all he needed to get his new driver in shape to compete in one of the biggest tournament rounds of his life (a win on Sunday at the Bermuda Championship would be the first PGA Tour win of his career, and only the third professional victory). Which raises the question: how long would it take you to adjust to a new driver?
The pros … just like us!