Article by RACV Golf Coordinator, Tom
During August, I travelled to Fiji for the Fiji International hosted at Natadola Bay Golf Course.
Co-Sanctioned with the European Tour, PGA Tour of Australasia and the Asian Tour, the field featured highly ranked players including Scott Hend, Ryan Fox and major champions, Vijay Singh, Angel Cabrera & Mike Weir.
I travelled to Fiji to caddy for good friend and Australian touring pro, Lucas Herbert who was set for his second assault at the Fiji International.
Natadola Bay Golf Course is incredible. Although it is set right on the beach with stunning views, it has an unforgiving side with thick bush lining most fairways meaning all drives must be kept central to the fairway.
After 2 practise days in less than ideal weather, it was tournament time. Lucas was feeling good, hitting some ridiculously long drives and putting it well.
The first round saw the sun come out and Lucas take advantage of the par-5’s making 3 birdies on them. However, a late double bogey allowed him to open with an even par 72.
The second round was a bitter pill to swallow. After opening with a triple bogey 8 thanks to a stray drive into the long grass, his round was never on track. 3 mid round birdies made the walk a little easier but all his good work was undone with a painfully unlucky quadruple bogey 9 on the par 5 11th. After 2 rounds, Lucas was cut from the field allowing for some sightseeing around Fiji.
After spending a week inside the ropes at an elite golf tournament, it is clear that professional golfers are under immense pressure both to perform on course but also remain calm off course.
It can also be easy to underestimate just how much a caddy can contribute to a round of golf. For Lucas, he doesn’t like to talk about golf between shots instead feeling like he is talking to a mate about football or music. However, once he gets to that ball, giving him the right yardage is imperative.