Golf

Leishman in for PGA, hopes for Open start

Marc Leishman
Marc Leishman celebrates his Greg Norman Medal at the Gold Coast last year. Picture: PGA of Australia

Marc Leishman is coming back home to play the Australian PGA Championship on the Gold Coast in November.

The world No.16 announced today that he had committed to the PGA Tour of Australasia’s season-ending event, but he also has hopes of playing the Emirates Australian Open at The Lakes and the World Cup of Golf at Metropolitan.

Leishman is currently the second-ranked Australian player behind Jason Day (No. 14), but he said in his ideal scenario he would play well in the remainder of 2018 to give him the option of not only playing the World Cup but selecting a partner.

The Victorian said his appearance at The Lakes for the Australian Open was “up in the air’’ for now, depending on how his program panned out.

“It would be good to play all three,’’ he said. “But nothing’s confirmed yet, with a young family, all that. The second half of the PGA Tour schedule’s out either yet. Obviously (playing) the PGA, I’d love to be there for the World Cup and the Australian Open’s up in the air. I’d love to be there for all three. It would be great.’’

World Cup selection is based on world ranking, with the top-ranked player for Australia to choose his own partner for Metropolitan from November 21-25, the week before the Australian PGA at Royal Pines. The Open is in Sydney from 15-18.

He has not spoken to either Jason Day or Adam Scott about the event, although he played alongside Scott the last time the World Cup was played in 2017 at Kingston Heath.

“Ideally that’s what I’d like to happen. There’s so much golf to play between now and then. It would be great to go there with either of those guys and Cam Smith’s making a big run for selection as well. Hopefully we all play well and make it a tough selection for whoever has to choose.’’

Leishman is on a break at home in Virginia Beach after finishing ninth at the Masters, but there is a huge run of golf coming with the Players Championship at Sawgrass in Florida next week. He calls the Players “probably one of the hardest tournaments we play all year to be honest. If you play well, you can make a lot of birdies and if you don’t play well, it just punishes you’’.

Beyond that there is the US Open at Shinnecock, a famous course which he has never seen or played before. “From everything I’ve heard, as far as US Open courses go, I feel it’s going to be a pretty good one for me. More ‘linksy’ style, exposed, things like that. I haven’t seen it but I’m excited about that.’’

For Leishman, winning a tier one tournament in Australia is a gap in his curriculum vitae, particularly since he used to watch the Masters at Huntingdale as a boy.

“Yes it is definitely a missing piece. I feel like I’ve done enough stuff around the world … I wouldn’t say it would validate that, but yes, it’s frustrating to have not won it. Growing up watching those events as a kid, seeing all my idols win those events, I haven’t even really contended to be honest in any of them. That’s something I would definitely like to change.’’

He said he would take a slightly different approach into this summer’s events.

“I feel like I’ve got a bit impatient at the Australian events in past years. I just need to stay in it and almost treat it like a major. Be patient and not let little things worry you. It sounds stupid but it’s easy to not do that.’’

Tickets for the Australian PGA Championship are on sale now at Ticketmaster.

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