Leishman happy despite title miss

ST ANDREWS • A stroke of misfortune potentially cost Marc Leishman a first Major victory at the British Open.

But the Australian, who bogeyed the first of the four-hole play-off that was won by Zach Johnson on Monday, is just happy to be on a golf course.

A serious illness suffered by his wife Audrey earlier this year almost saw him quit the sport.

She was so ill three months ago with myopathy, a disease where the muscles cease to function, that he feared he might lose her and have to bring up his two young children alone.

"It was a huge possibility that I wasn't going to be playing golf any more," the 31-year-old told the Daily Mail. "Travelling with a one-year-old and a three-year-old by yourself - it wasn't going to happen. I wouldn't do that to the boys.

"At the time it was just, 'Right, you're going to have to give it away and stay home with the boys and be a dad', and that was the most important thing. I was all right with that.

"Obviously Audrey is all right now and it's a lot better. But it was pretty rough there for a while, thinking about everything, the boys not growing up with their mum, me not playing golf any more, not having a wife. We're just really lucky that she's on the mend."

He was not so lucky at the par-four first hole during the play-off, which also featured South African Louis Oosthuizen.

Leishman's tee shot on the fairway landed in a divot, all but ending his hopes of winning the Open.

"You couldn't see the bottom part of the ball," he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

"Which, if you could pick the one hole you didn't want to be in a divot, with where that pin was, it would be that one.

"So I didn't really have much of a chance there and then three-putted from about 60 feet which was disappointing. Both the other boys birdied it and I was behind the eight-ball straight away."

Leishman had got himself into that position with a final-round six-under 66 - two days after making the cut by a single shot.

Putting his tied-second finish in perspective will be easy.

"I feel like I've always had a pretty good outlook on life and now it takes a lot more to worry me," he explained earlier this week.

"I don't get annoyed about little things that I cannot really help. I feel like even if I do have a bad day I can still go home and give my wife a hug and cuddle my boys."

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 22, 2015, with the headline 'Leishman happy despite title miss'. Print Edition | Subscribe