sports gazette

Leishman Leads Charge for FedEx

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Published: 21 Sep 2017

Marc Leishman the 33-year-old Australian golfer is enjoying life at the moment. But things could have been very different.

 It could be even better for Marc Leishman, winning the BMW championship last week gave him $1,575,000, and a chance of winning a bumper $10million pay-out at the season ending Tour championship. He was two shots clear with nine to play at the preceding Dell Technologies Championship, and he could easily be coming into this week looking for three wins in a row at the most lucrative time of the year. It could much more easily be a lot worse.

In April 2015 while preparing for the Masters, Leishman got a call; his wife was ill, very ill. Audrey Hills had been placed in an induced coma and had at one stage been given a 5% chance of survival. She was suffering from Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) and Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS).

Leishman flew from Augusta immediately. Earlier this year he admitted to Golfdigest after securing his first win since 2012, that if Audrey had not come through, playing golf wouldn’t have been a factor in his life. His primary concern would have been to be a father and that was it.

In a sport played predominately by wealthy men from wealthy country clubs, seeing Leishman’s two boys Harvey, five, and Ollie, three, run onto the green and excitedly embrace a leg each of their dad was a supremely touching and uplifting image. They were swiftly followed by a beaming Audrey, gently cradling one-month old Eva their new-born baby girl, showing just how far this young family had come since those terrifying days only a couple of years ago.

The FedEx Cup series that provides the culmination of the PGA tour season still struggles for prestige, despite the vast swathes of cash to be earned. The majors are all done and dusted and the casual golf fan has likely going into hibernation until Augusta next April.

This week, with the exception of Leishman, the top five in the FedEx cup rankings, who can all claim the FedEx Cup by winning this weekend, are all ranked in the world’s top five. Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Dustin Johnson and Jon Rahm are the men who populate the top of both lists.

It might not be a major but there are only 30 players on show at East Lake Golf Club, and the players with the best chance of winning are also the very best players in the world. When there are $10million to be won, there is a story no matter who wins. There could be no better story, though, than if Leishman were to make it two from two and his children where charging out onto the green come Sunday evening.

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