Marc Leishman has earned a reputation for being one of the most affable guys on the PGA Tour. He’s also becoming one of the most giving.
On Wednesday afternoon, Leishman took a couple hours away from his preparation for the Tour Championship to be a judge for the FedEx Junior Business Challenge event. He was part of a four-person panel that listened to a series of business-like presentations by high school students who were competing for a $US75,000 prize.
“The enthusiasm, the motivation involved,” Leishman said afterwards. “They’ve got such good ideas and present themselves unbelievably well. It’s nice to be able to help out.”
After each group of students went through their well-honed presentations – similar to what can be seen on Australian television’s “Shark Tank” program – Leishman asked each group a similar question: What sort of challenges have you had to overcome?
The question reveals the personal genesis of Leishman’s charitable giving. His “Begin Again Foundation,” which helps families experiencing medical and life issues, was inspired by the near-death experience of Leishman’s wife, Audrey, in April 2015. She was placed in a medically induced coma, the result of toxic shock syndrome, on the eve of the Masters. After 96 hours and a variety of treatments, she was able to recover.
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The Leishmans stated the “Begin Again Foundation” to help survivors of sepsis, a life-threatening condition that occurs when a body’s response to infection causes it to injure its own tissues and organs. Sepsis can be signalled by fever and increased heart rate and can cause organs to break down or malfunction. If not diagnosed quickly and treated properly, it can lead to death.
The problem is heightened among women who are experiencing homelessness, many who choose feeding their children over purchasing safe feminine products. At their home in Virginia, Audrey Leishman actively arranges the monthly delivery of organic pads and new underwear to help protect women against toxic shock syndrome.
Leishman, a native of Warrnambool, Victoria, helps fund one-time grants of $1,000 through LEISHLine Financial Aid Awards. More than 100 survivors of sepsis, toxic shock and Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome have received assistance.
“It’s a huge crisis,” Leishman said. “This helps them not have to worry about whether they’re going to lose their house or be able to pay their electricity bill. It’s nice to help families going through that. It shows how lucky we are. It makes you feel good about helping people.”
This week, Leishman is one of 30 players in the elite field for the Tour Championship in Atlanta. He is No.29 on the FedExCup points list and has only a mathematical chance to win the FedEx Cup. As such, he’s focused on a simpler goal.
“I’m just trying to win the Tour Championship,” he said. “(The FedExCup) is probably beyond my reach.”
Leishman’s record in the Tour Championship isn’t great. He tied for 28th in 2009 and tied for 24th in 2017. His best round at the East Lake Golf Club is a 69.
“But I like the golf course. The golf course is good,” he said. “It’s a good mix of tough holes and getable holes. It’s very important to hit the fairway. If you do that, you’re looking at birdie. Off the fairway in that Bermuda rough, you’re looking at a bogey.”
Leishman has enjoyed another solid year on Tour this season. He hasn’t won a tournament, but did finish second at the AT&T Byron Nelson and lost in a playoff at the CJ Cup @ Nine Bridges. He also finished ninth at the Masters.