Marc Leishman says a text message exchange with idol Greg Norman is one of the driving forces behind his quest to break Australia’s hoodoo at the US PGA Tour’s rich FedEx Cup playoffs.
The obvious incentive for Leishman to win the FedEx Cup is its $US10 million bonus cheque, but a rare correspondence with golfing great Norman has given the Victorian native a spring in his step at this week’s Tour Championship finale.
With Australian perennial FedEx contenders Jason Day and Adam Scott unable to claim the series during its 10-year history, Leishman has a hot chance as one the top five seeds in the Atlanta decider, courtesy of his wire-to-wire win at last week’s BMW Championship.
The 33-year-old Leishman is guaranteed the FedEx title with a victory in the 30-man event at East Lake Golf Club.
Leishman says he was chuffed with encouragement from World Golf Hall of Fame member Norman.
“Yeah, (Norman) has been a massive influence. I’ve always idolised him; he was such a successful bloke on and off the golf course. An inspiration, really,” Leishman told AAP.
Leishman said he first received a text from 62-year-old Norman on Saturday night, urging him to convert his five-shot lead in the final round of the BMW Championship.
“Then he sent a text to congratulate me on Sunday night,” said Leishman.
“Getting a text from Greg Norman is a pretty cool feeling … it had been a few years (since the last).
“I had a cardboard cut-out of Greg in my bedroom growing up.”
Looking to ice a breakout season that includes a win at the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March and seven top-10 results, Leishman says he’ll draw on a previous win at a 30-man event.
Leishman won the 2015 Nedbank Golf Challenge, whose field has since grown, in South Africa by a whopping six shots over big gun Henrik Stenson.
“Winning the Nedbank by six is good to have in the memory bank. Hopefully I can make this number two,” Leishman said.
MARC LEISHMAN AT THE FEDEX CUP
FedEx standing: Fourth
Tour Championship results: Tied 28th (2009; only appearance)
How he can win the FedEx Cup: In the top five seeds, Leishman wins the FedEx Cup with a Tour Championship victory.
He also has a solid chance of winning with a second-place finish and can finish as low as a tie for third and still have a chance.