Just over twelve hours after his 4th PGA Tour victory at last week’s CIMB Classic in Malaysia, Marc Leishman was up early in Kuala Lumpur this morning to front a wide-ranging teleconference with Australian golf journalists.
Still a little jaded following the demands of his five-shot victory and an enjoyable celebration with colleagues at his tournament hotel last evening, Leishman was his typical candid and likeable self as he answered a series of questions on his win, his summer of golf in Australia, his career and what lies ahead.
Ten years on from joining the PGA Tour in 2009, a season in which he was named Rookie of the Year and made it all the way to the Tour Championship, Leishman was asked how what he had achieved thus far (US$24 million and 4 titles) compared to the expectations he held when first graduating to the PGA Tour.
“The first couple of years on the PGA Tour I just wanted to keep my card. Obviously I wanted to win tournaments but I was thinking about how to earn enough money to keep a card and have a job for the following year.
“Obviously it was always a dream of mine to win on the PGA Tour and win a major but now having won four times and the amount of money I have won I have probably exceeded my expectations to be honest but knowing what I am capable of my expectations have changed from the first couple of years on tour.
“It’s a lot easier now not having to play for my livelihood I guess. It is my job but I don’t think about the money at all. I am lucky to be in that situation that if I have a chance to win I am going to play to win rather than playing to not mess up and finish second or third.”
One of those changed expectations he now carries is to win a major and having recorded two top tens at Augusta National and three at the Open which of the majors does he see as most likely the one he would win.
“Probably one of those two”, he said referring to the Masters and the Open. “I am capable of winning any of them but I would think certainly the Masters or the Open. They both suit me in different ways but I will take whatever I can get (laughing).”
Leishman revealed that during his win yesterday he had learned a lot about his game and approach. “I think you learn more when you don’t win but this one I think I learned about my game and myself which I can out to good use in the coming months.
“I don’t stress too much but yesterday I learned even more. A lot of people put pressure on themselves and that’s not something I do. I practice hard and so when I got in a situation like yesterday that is how you test yourself as to whether you are doing the right thing and I enjoy that.
“It is not so much pressure to win the tournament in as much you have to win this tournament but pressure to do the things you need to do the best you can to win. Obviously, it is nice to be able to take a trophy home to the family but you realise that there a lot of good players out here and that you can’t win them all.”
With both Jason Day and Adam Scott missing the key events this summer on the PGA Tour of Australasia Leishman was asked whether there should be concern over the Australian Open given that essentially three of Australia’s four leading players are not in the field.
“As far as the Australian Open is concerned I don’t think there is anything to worry about. For me I don’t spend more then two weeks away from my kids so that’s the reason I’m not playing (he is committed to the World Cup and PGA the following weeks)”.
“As far as the other boys Jason’s wife is having a baby and am not too sure about Scotty circumstances but there are still plenty of good players.
“I hope to get back to play it in future years but the reason I am not playing and the same reason I am not playing in China next week is because of the fact that I like to be away from the family for only two weeks at a time.”
Leishman plays the second of two PGA Tour events in Asia this week when he tees it up at the CJ Nine Bridges event in Korea.