ONE of the endearing moments of Marc Leishman’s golfing career was at the 2013 US Masters when he was pictured in the background showing his obvious delight and enthusiasm when playing partner Adam Scott sank a birdie putt on the 76th hole in regulation for what appeared to be the first ever win by an Aussie.
As it turned out Scott had to go a further two playoff holes before defeating Angel Cabrera, donning the Green Jacket and etching his name in the history books.
But what impressed so many that day apart from Scott’s victory was Leishman’s ultimate display of sportsmanship and national pride, even though he had been first round leader and was in serious contention all week and no doubt inside somewhere was regret of what might have been for him personally.
On that day, as seems to have been so often the case in recent years, the attention of most of our local media was on Scott and Jason Day. Even though Leishman was in the field because he was the only Aussie to win on the US PGA TOUR in 2012, he was still, as he himself noted numerous times recently, flying under the radar.
He has still been flying under the radar in the US, despite winning the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March, and just a fortnight ago being in strong contention for the second event of the FedEx Cup playoff series, the Dell Technologies Championship, before blowing his lead on the back nine and being run down by a fast finishing Justin Thomas.
Well, after his inspiring wire to wire victory at the BMW Championship at the Conway Farms Golf Club in Chicago to take the third playoff event by five strokes, he will be under the radar no longer.
The 33 year old from Warrnambool in rural Victoria will go into the final 30 man playoff at East Lake next week sitting at number four in the FedEx standings.
That gives him an excellent chance of not only winning the Tour Championship, but of also taking home the US$10 million FedEx bonus.
But whatever is the outcome next week – and this week’s US$1.5million victory is the biggest win of his career – one thing is for sure is that Leishman will go about his business quietly and unruffled. The man ain’t a showboat.
As the US commentators acknowledged over the week in Chicago, Leishman is one of the most determined yet unflappable characters on the tour.
Perhaps one of the reasons for that is that after his win today Leishamn was able to celebrate greenside with his wife Audrey and their three young children.
Two years ago Audrey almost died of toxic shock and was delighted this week when all the players welcomed her suggestion to wear ribbons at Conway Farms promoting awareness of Sepsis syndrome.
Such things help set your priorities in life.
Leishman aptly put his life philosophy on show for all to see at the World Cup at Kingston Heath last year.
The big Victorian and his playing partner Adam Scott had a comparatively poor first round and at a greenside media interview the questions were full of gravity and seriousness. Things were looking decidedly grim for the pair, and for Australia’s chances in the all-important event.
“C’mon guys,” a smiling Leishman said. “We still have our health.”
Now Leishman can afford to enjoy and even bigger smile.
“Well, there was probably a few little scars from a few weeks ago at the Dell, and I was really, really determined to not let that happen again and try and give myself a big enough buffer that I could get it done, and I got it done,” he said after his win.
“It has been an amazing season for me winning the Arnold Palmer near the start of the year and now winning the BMW Championship, so it has been a very solid year.
“To have also played so well in Boston was a great experience and it was just nice all week here in Chicago to be standing over the putter and seeing the line, and then being able to hit it on the line.
“It’s even better when they go in and got me the win today.
“The good thing now is that I am in the top-five on the FedEx Cup standings so I am now very much in control of my own destiny going to the Tour Championship.
“And I will get to Atlanta on Tuesday feeling great about my chances.”