Marc’s 2015 season ended after missing the cut at the Deutsche Bank Championship, the 2nd playoff event. It was a disappointing end to a turbulent season…but the only emotion I feel is pride. Let’s take a little trip down memory lane.
The beginning of this year was met with questions of confidence. After two missed cuts in Tampa and Orlando the questions were “Will I ever play good golf again?” “What is wrong with my game?” “Am I going to be able to pay for the house we are building?” “Am I going to have a job next year?”
Fast forward to only two weeks later and the questions changed. “Will I lose my wife?” “Will my boys grow up without a mother?” “Will I ever play professional golf again?” His dreams changed from playing and hopefully contending in the Masters to the idea of me waking up even one more time so he could speak with me again.
In another two weeks the questions changed again. “How can I leave my family to play again when they need me right now?” “Will they be okay when I’m gone?” “What kind of golf can I play when half of my heart is at home?” He answered those questions with a fighting spirit and a T28 finish at the Zurich Classic and a T9 finish at the Cadillac Match Play.
Three months later the question was “Am I going to win the British Open?” On one hand you had most of Marc’s hometown, Warrnambool, staying up all night in support of him. On the other you had Alan Shipnuck’s questionable comment, “Marc Leishman is a nice fellow, and clearly a good player. But with this leaderboard it will be a monumental letdown if he wins this thing.” He answered that question with a second place finish, job security, great memories, and a little bit of disappointment.
And then less than two months later we lost Marc’s uncle, Ray, to a 32 year battle of several different cancers. He is the Ray in #ollieray and you could not have met a man with more strength, courage, positivity, and love in his heart. We know he is shining down on us but his loss has left this world with just a little less beauty. Two weeks after this loss Marc injured his back.
If I can be blunt, in our personal lives, 2015 has been a bitch of a year. I will be happy to bid this one farewell.
Even under the best of circumstances golf can be an absolutely brutal sport. The only guarantee you have is that you will have to put money into it. There is no promise that you will gain anything in return. You will have to pay for your flights, accommodation, and caddie regardless of whether you make the cut. Add in families to support and you can start to imagine the pressure. If you don’t know what the cut means here you go: tournaments run from Thursday-Sunday and after Friday only the top 70 and ties move on to the weekend. The rest go home without a paycheck. Imagine missing cut after cut after cut. Imagine what that will do to your confidence and your bank account. As the season progresses you watch your rank fall lower and lower and you worry about whether you will even have a job for the next year. This is the less glamorous side of golf that most don’t understand. You know why they call it golf? Because all of the other four letter words are taken.
Golf is a game of inches. One inch forward on the green and your ball is in position for a birdie putt. One inch short and it rolls down the hill and stops at your feet. One inch to the right in the bunker and it sits on top of the sand. One inch to the left and it is buried. One inch to a birdie putt that could cost you a cut made or a tournament won. The cut that you just missed could cost you making it into the playoffs and therefore cost you your job for the next year. People often ask me if I want our boys to play competitive golf. The answer is that I will support them whether they want to be a golfer, surgeon, or writer. The answer is also that this is not a lifestyle I would wish for them. It is one that can come with amazing rewards, more rewards than you could ever dream of. It can also come with more disappointment than you could ever imagine. Talk to any golfer about those that make it and those that don’t. It is not about talent. They are all talented. With the exception of those few extraordinary players the difference between the talent in the rest could be measured in inches.
So when I look back at Marc’s year all I can say is that I am so, very proud of him. Much prouder than he is of himself but, then again, his humility is one of the things I love most about him.