Marc Leishman, 2019 Emirates Australian Open, Tuesday 3 December
KATHIE SHEARER: Really terrific to have you here. It’s been a few years since you played The Open?
MARC LEISHMAN: It has been, yeah, 2015. Actually it was here, so yeah, happy to be back; love it here at The Australian, love Sydney, excited to be here again.
KATHIE SHEARER: How would you rate your year. You had a great start to the year, was it not what you claimed after your terrific start?
MARC LEISHMAN: Probably a little disappointing. Won early in the season in Malaysia and then I think I had four out of my first five events, I think I had four top 10s, and then I had a couple of decent events after that, but yeah, not what I was after. I had a few back issues and got pneumonia during the play-offs and just little stuff. It was disappointing but I think I’ll learn from it. I think if you don’t learn from your bad finishes or your mistakes or whatever, you’re not going to get any better, so I think that’s hopefully a stepping stone and I’ll get better from what I learnt.
KATHIE SHEARER: And you love this course?
MARC LEISHMAN: Yeah, I really do. I played it, I think this is my fourth Australian Open that I’ve played here. Two before the redo. I played in 2015; I played poorly but I really like the golf course. It’s in probably the best condition that I’ve almost ever seen a golf course. The layout’s good, the condition’s good, I mean it’s going to be a good week.
Q. I don’t want to harp on your body shape, but you’ve actually dropped a fair bit of weight. I was just wondering how much and whether it was actually a thing that you were trying to do? My source tells me that after the British Open you thought you might need to lose a bit. Are you doing anything different? Is it a thing or has it just happened?
MARC LEISHMAN: I don’t think it ever just happens, well not to me anyway. No, I just wanted to change my eating habits a little bit. Like I said before, I’ve had a few back issues popping up. I’ve lost, I think it’s eight kilos, so not a whole lot of weight, but a good eight kilos in a suitcase, carry that around all the time, it makes a difference. So, it took a little bit of time to adjust, for my body to adjust golf-wise, but yeah, I feel better for it now. I mean, I just try to cut out sugar and bread really, that’s about it, and cut down a little bit on the beer. But that’s going to be easier said than done while I’m home in Australia, so yeah. It was a conscious thing that I did and I’m glad I did it.
Q. Two big weeks, two totally different forums, both very important to you, the International and the President’s Cup, how do you deal with that mentally as well as physically and is there going to be a cost to that extent?
MARC LEISHMAN: Yeah, it is, I think managing time well, both weeks really is important and then switching on and off between shots, you know, not stressing about what might happen or might not happen. That’s a bad habit for me or it has been in the past. So, doing that will help just conserve energy. I think that’s a big thing and maybe making sure I don’t swing at it too hard and do something that I don’t really need to. Yeah, that’s probably the biggest thing, but just time management and I think that’s the biggest thing, where I can save energy and prepare. But yeah, it is a big two weeks; two Tournaments that I really want to win. Every Australian golfer wants to win the national Open and then I’ve been on three losing President’s Cup teams and I don’t really want it to be four.
Q. In shedding eight kilograms was it, how many shirts and pair of trousers have you had to buy?
MARC LEISHMAN: How many what?
Q. How many pairs of pants and shirts?
MARC LEISHMAN: I had enough where I didn’t have to get rid of any. I had enough – eight kilos is not that much on me, really. Waist size might have gone down an inch maybe, so it’s not really a full pants size, shirts are a bit loser so it’s not a problem. I’m sure I’ll take care of that in the next month or so.
Q. One more question out of this field, you mentioned beers, really you started making your own beer, how did that come about and how good is the beer?
MARC LEISHMAN: It’s great.
Q. Where is it?
MARC LEISHMAN: So, we’ve got a full strength beer in America, Leishman Lager and we’ve had that for about three and a half years. We’re bringing out a mid-strength beer in Australia. It’s going to be coming out middle of December. That’s also going to be called Leishman Lager but they’re two different products but both good products. Good beer. Like I said, mid-strength. I’ve found that the Australian beers are a fair bit stronger than what a lot of the stuff in America is, so to have a mid-strength – I think more than half the beer market is mid-strength in Australia now. We want to try and get into that market and hopefully we get a fair share of it.
Q. Firstly, would you like a taster for that beer, I’m volunteering? How do you rate your game at the moment and how do you rate your chances over the week? Is there anything you need to work on as you go into this week?
MARC LEISHMAN: I’ve been working pretty hard on my driving, I feel like that let me down a fair bit this year. I spent some time with Denis, my coach Denis McDade in Florida last week. I flew down to Florida to get some warm weather, worked out what was happening. I feel like I’m driving it well but I need to make sure I drive it really well this week. I think that’s a big key for me and then distance control with my irons. I think that’s going to be important with the wind, if it gets up, not leave myself in any bad positions. Putting’s always a big one. You’re not going to win an Australian Open if you don’t putt well.
Q. I know you’re probably in Tournament mode, but I wanted to ask you about golf broadly. This week there’s the All Abilities Championship happening as well. I know you’ve travelled everywhere, go to so many countries and tournaments. What does it mean as an Aussie coming back to play at home and seeing this kind of thing going on in Australian Golf, sort of embracing everyone?
MARC LEISHMAN: Yeah, I think it’s awesome. I remember at the World Cup last year at Metropolitan, there was a similar event. I’m not sure if it was the same event, but it was a similar event and I think it’s amazing. Being able to interact with those guys and girls and how good their golf games are, it’s really impressive. Like I say, it’s great. I’d like to take any opportunity I can to learn. The talent that they have is pretty impressive and it’s great that they’re going to be out here playing amongst us, I believe. I’m excited to see some of them play again, watch them on the range. I’m sure they’ll have a great time. It’s a good opportunity and I think it’s great what Golf Australia have done.
Q. How far do you think golf has to go to be fully inclusive, even men v women?
MARC LEISHMAN: I mean, I think it’s got a long way to go but I think they’re quite different products, not in good or bad ways, I just think they’re very different. I mean, it’s got a fair way to go, but I think they’re doing a lot of things to go in the right direction.
Q. You talked about your desire to win at home, in reflecting back on what’s happened in the past to you in The Open and other Australian Tournaments, have you come across anything that strikes you that you did wrong? Do you think that you chased too hard almost or what exactly has it been do you think?
MARC LEISHMAN: Yeah, I think over the last couple of years I’ve done a better job of it. I’ve had chances the last two years to win tournaments in Australia. I think before say, 2015, 2016, I think I was either going too hard or relaxing too much, I didn’t have that balance. So, I think now I treat most events pretty evenly, whether it’s the Bays of Limitation or The Masters or The Australian Open or whatever it might be. I try and prepare as well as I can to win that event and that’s what I’m doing this week, preparing as well as I can to try and win it. You don’t want to put any event on a pedestal, but it’s hard not to put these big Australian events on a pedestal, like Majors as well, you want to try a little bit harder but sometimes that’s not very good for your golf game, so you’ve got to work out how to do what’s best for you.
Q. Do you get experience from when you do the WPC into a Major, is that overreaching to say the least, a field like that, a big event to big event?
MARC LEISHMAN: Yeah, it is close, to that. You said WGC and the Major?
Q. Greg Stone into the PGA, you guys don’t usually do that, but you had experience doing that before.
MARC LEISHMAN: It’s definitely similar to that, because I mean, I don’t know if there are two events that I want to win more than this event and the President’s Cup. Like I said, I’ve played this a lot of times and never won it and I’ve played the President’s Cup, three, soon to be four times and haven’t won that. So, I’ve just got to play good, do what I can to play well, because I know that I’m not going to win this week if I don’t play well and certainly we’re not going to win as a team next week if we don’t play well as a team.
To have two weeks in a row where you really want your game peaking for the whole time is a little different, but like I said, every event you want to try and win. I know you’re not going to win every event but this is a little bit unique in that respect.
Q. You’re owning up like a typical Aussie, you’ve done great things. When you come back, do you feel at all like the big guy in the room out there? Do people treat you higher on the pedestal? Can you feel that? I know you don’t react that, but can you feel that?
MARC LEISHMAN: Not really, I mean, we’re just all out there trying to do a job. Early in the week you’re trying to prepare for a tournament, Thursday, Friday you’re trying to get into a good position to win the Tournament and then hopefully you’re on the range late Sunday. That’s what you want to do, try and be that last bloke off the range Sunday. No, I don’t think I get treated any differently to what I have in the past.
Q. You think you might have an aura down the stretch against someone with less experience?
MARC LEISHMAN: I mean, it’s a great field this week, but maybe, I don’t know, I don’t like to think of it as that, because I mean, I’ve played against better players and beaten them and I’ve played against so-called players that may not have the name that I do and they’ve beaten me, so I feel like, I try and not think like that. You’ve got to try and get the ball in the hole quicker than everyone else.
Q. There’s a real buzz about the field and rightly so this week. The best Australian Open field we’ve had for some time, does that add a little bit of extra spice? If you were going to win an Australian Open, would this be a good one to win?
MARC LEISHMAN: I mean, they’re all good ones to win, but yeah, this is a great field. Maybe that’s a good thing for me because it takes the spotlight off me a little bit and puts it on the other guys, because we’ve got a great Australian contingent and a great international contingent. It’s a great field all around. Every Australian Open has great players. Like I said, you’ve just got to do what you can to play well and hope you do, because at the end of the day it’s golf. It can be a funny game. I mean, you think you’ve got it one day and nothing can go wrong and then the next day you think you’re never ever going to break par again. So, yeah, great field, it’s just awesome for the Tournament. I’m so happy for the Tournament that they’ve got a field like this.
KATHIE SHEARER: Thank you ladies and gentlemen. Thank you Marc for coming in.