Time can quickly get away from you, with each year that passes and the question remains as to when Marc Leishman will solidify his place in Australian golf with a win in one of our major events, the pressure of time continues to build.
At this week’s Australian PGA Championship that begins on Thursday morning at the RACV Royal Pines Resort, Leishman is more elder statesman than precocious young talent.
It doesn’t seem that long ago that the now 35-year-old arrived on the US PGA Tour and claimed Rookie of the Year honours in 2009 yet he is now entering his 11th season with four wins to his name, his most recent coming at the CIMB Classic in Malaysia a few weeks ago.
Repeatedly this week he has recycled the sound bite that a win in a major Australian tournament is a missing piece of his resume and he has begun to look over his shoulder at the young brigade shaping up for a tilt of their own.
“That pressure definitely grows, for sure,” Leishman said of the opportunities that have passed him by.
“I don't know if I feel pressure to win, but I'm definitely a lot more determined to do the right things and try and give myself the best chance to contend when I'm at home.
“The first few years that I came back when I was on tour, it was almost a bit of a holiday. Like a bit of a deep breath and all right, we're done for the year, let's enjoy this week, hopefully we play well.
“The last few years I’ve gone through the correct process that I do on tour. Really make sure I'm doing the right things because I don't want to get another five years down the track and still be getting asked the same questions.
“I'm determined to do very well. I feel like last year was a big step getting off to the start I did. Last year was a big step in the right direction in terms of doing the right things and hopefully I can improve on that this year.”
Since Leishman finished fourth behind World Cup teammate Cameron Smith at Royal Pines 12 months ago, Cameron Davis and Curtis Luck have played their way onto the PGA Tour and Lucas Herbert and Deyen Lawson earned European Tour cards as Dimi Papadatos narrowly missed out.
Anthony Quayle enjoyed a successful rookie season on the Japan Golf Tour, Jake McLeod broke through for a maiden professional title at the NSW Open and Jason Scrivener produced his best season in Europe.
Throw in the likes of Brett Coletta, Harrison Endycott, Brett Rankin, Zach Murray and amateur David Micheluzzi and there are a bunch of youngsters Leishman is eager to help usher in to golf’s highest level.
“I definitely feel like I'm one of the older guys now,” conceded Leishman.
“It's been a few years since there's been a batch of guys come on to the tour like that.
“Seeing those guys come through, it's motivating for us as well to try and lead the way, I guess.
“If they've got any questions, it's just nice to bounce them off someone that's been there. This is my 11th year on tour now, and it doesn't even have to be anything big. Just talking to someone about something helps, whether it's about where to stay or a tactic on a certain hole, why you hit a certain club off this tee rather than another one, just little things like that.
“For those boys it's just a matter of realising that they're obviously great players to get to the tour, they don't have to change anything to keep improving. They'll do that naturally over time by learning.
“It's a fun process. You'll have good weeks and you'll have bad weeks. One of the best bits of advice that I ever got was actually from Nathan Green. He said, ‘You'll make the 90 per cent of your money in 10 per cent of your weeks.’
“I always think about that when you're having a bad week. As long as I keep doing the right things, the good weeks are going to come.
“Just on those weeks where you are near the top of the leaderboard, you need to really make sure to make hay on those weeks.”
Perhaps in terms of Leishman’s Aussie quest, this will be that week.
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