Call me parochial but Warrnambool’s Marc Leishman doesn’t get the recognition he deserves outside his home town.
Leishman finished tied for fifth at last weekend’s British Open alongside world number one, Queenslander Adam Scott. Predictably Scott, as golf’s flagbearer, received most of the press, television time and radio grabs.
During the television coverage on pay-tv provider Foxtel, the BBC commentary was regularly interrupted for Australian updates. At one stage, despite Leishman being two shots ahead of all the Australians, his name appeared on the leaderboard flashed on the screen but he was not even mentioned. Scott and Day, Australia’s two highest ranked and much-hyped players, dominated discussions along with a little-known Aussie, 579th ranked Bryden MacPherson, who finished at 26 over and missed the half-way cut
It was interesting scanning social media Twitter during the coverage. Hawthorn footballer Jordan Lewis, a fellow Warrnambool boy, summed up the frustration of many in their loungerooms across the south-west. “Apparently Leishman is in the lead at the British Open, any danger of showing him @FOXSportsAUS.”
My point, not to disparage other players, is that Leishman is taking giant strides on the international stage.
He is now Australia’s third highest-ranked player in the world, behind Scott at number one and Jason Day at number eight. His course-record equalling 65 in the final round at the Open lifted him to a career-high 51, leaping ahead of countrymen John Senden and Matt Jones.
On the lucrative US PGA Tour, the most competitive circuit in the game, Leishman is 38th in the standings, narrowly behind Australian number two Day, who is 30th. Scott is 17th.
In terms of results, Leishman has produced his finest year. While Scott and Day have each won once on tour this year, Leishman’s best result is second. Scott has been ultra consistent with seven top-10 finishes so far but Leishman has five and Day, who has played half the events Leishman has because of injury, three.
He has finished in the top-five at both the US Masters and British Open, two of golf’s majors, in the past two years, and at more than three years younger than Scott is yet to reach his prime.
Leishman, a laconic, humble boy from the bush, merely flies under the radar compared to Scott and Day. Perhaps it is a blessing because he doesn’t have the media and sponsor distractions his fellow Australians contend with. But you sense that is about to change.