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March 19, 2017

Marc Leishman

Orlando, Florida

JOHN BUSH: We'll go ahead and get started. We would like to welcome Marc Leishman to the interview room. He's the 2017 champion of the Arnold Palmer Invitational, presented by Mastercard. Congratulations on the victory. It was a wild ride out there, get some comments on another PGA TOUR win for you.

MARC LEISHMAN: Yeah, obviously unbelievable week. It was a wild ride out there. I played good all week, threw a bit of bad in there, but when I did that my putter saved me, which it did those last few holes. So, to make the save on 15, obviously that long putt on 16 was really important. I wasn't exactly sure where I was situated at that point, hadn't seen a leaderboard for awhile. Obviously that was nice when I got to 17 and saw that I was ahead. Nice up-and-down on 17. And then that tee shot on 18 got me again, but got out of jail again today. So it was, yeah, it's a huge honor to win this event. Especially on a year when we're honoring such a great man and the first year after his passing and it's sad not to have him up there walking off the 18th green, to be that first guy to walk off and not be greeted by Arnold Palmer. But he's left such a great legacy and I'm sure he will be proud of how everything's gone this week. The course was unbelievable. The crowds were amazing. Weather was perfect. It's been a unbelievable week for me.

JOHN BUSH: With the win you move up to number 11 in the FedExCup and this really sets you up now for an important stretch coming up over the next few months.

MARC LEISHMAN: It does, yeah. I slipped back 11 spots last week on the FedExCup, I did notice that, actually. And I knew that I needed to pull my finger out and managed to do it this week, which was really good. Not only that, to be up there in the FedExCup is really important, getting into the Playoffs, which I haven't been up there the last few years, but it's a Presidents Cup year, really important for me to be on that team and hopefully this helps me out with that, I'm sure it will. Then to win with Audrey and my boys there, and Matty and his family were here as well, so it's just so special to have your two kids and wife run out on to that green. I wasn't quite sure if I had won then or not, I knew it was a pretty good chance, but it's very special. Especially after everything we have gone through. And if I was ever wondering what an apple was, I now know, because my little fellow is showing me an apple, he's showing me, "Dad, I got an apple here. Apple." So, yeah, it was just a sensational day.

JOHN BUSH: Questions?

Q. If you could just take us through that putt on 16, what did you see there, what kind of break, what were you thinking, did you think you had a chance of making it. Take us through that hole there?
MARC LEISHMAN: I actually hit that putt on Tuesday and I missed it, I think, about three feet left. It doesn't break too much. So I was, actually, I read it and I was over that putt and I actually remembered that I hit that putt, so backed off, took another practice swing and adjusted my read, not like six inches, I adjusted it like two feet and then made it. So, practice pays off. That's a pretty good bail out for that pin. I didn't hit a very good iron shot in there. I hit a great drive and only had 9-iron in and to have 50 feet was a little disappointing, but obviously that putt to go in was a good momentum, really got momentum going, if it wasn't already going.

Q. Two things about this victory are very satisfying, the first, obviously, is that you now are in the Masters and you really only had the week left to get that spot. Second is, you've had a couple of chances to win this year, really good chances, how gratifying does it feel to get that off your back after that?
MARC LEISHMAN: Yeah, I have had quite a few chances to win this year. Going into Sundays I've been two, three, four back but basically every tournament except L.A., no, did I miss the cut at L.A.? Missed the cut somewhere. Yeah.

So, it is disappointing to do that, but you really learn stuff when you don't, when the outcome's not what you wanted it. And I felt like I learned a lot from those earlier in the year. I've been playing well, it's just a matter of putting four rounds together. The more you get your self into that situation, the better you get and luckily those experiences from earlier this year paid off and I was able to make the putts when I needed to and walk away with this (Indicating). It's very nice. And like you said, the Masters is another, it was certainly a goal of mine to, I knew that the cut off was after the Match Play and I only had two events left, so I need to get it done or sit at home and watch the Masters, which is not fun if you've already been there and played there, because you know how cool it is to be there.

Q. You mentioned having Audrey and the boys here with you this week. Obviously, it's been a difficult journey for you over the last couple of years for your family, can you kind of take us through that journey a little bit and how much sweeter is it with winning with them all her and everybody happy and healthy?
MARC LEISHMAN: Yeah, it certainly changes your perspective on life going through something like that. It's been -- I think the hardest part for me and the boys was that right around the time where it happened, that month I would say. That was the hardest part for us. But I feel like for Audrey it was the recovery, the year or year and a half after. So we sort of had, when she was in the hospital was when I was really struggling. And when she got out is when she had her problems. But, yeah, it's been a wild ride and it certainly makes, it makes golf and -- it's I want to do it well, but it makes it less important. It's not life and death. We have been in that situation and it's not fun. If you're missing a 4-footer it's not fun, but you can make a 40-footer on the next. So, yeah, it's been a wild ride and you certainly do appreciate the good times a lot more and appreciate just everything, your kids and your family and just having people around. It's just great to be able to share this with someone. If it was just me, it wouldn't be anywhere near as fun, if they weren't with me.

Q. Along those lines, two years ago, how far away did a moment like this seem for you guys?
MARC LEISHMAN: Oh, man, when it was all happening, I think Bud was there, it was terrible, I mean, I was ready to give it away. If Audrey had have passed away, I was going to be a dad and that was it. There was no other sort of -- it didn't cross my mind to keep playing golf. So, that first six months, just every time I was on the golf course I was just so happy to be on a golf course and be healthy and all that. Obviously, your perspective doesn't stay like that for a long period of time, I feel like I've still got a very good perspective, but yeah, it's, it can be life, it's life changing. Something like that.

Q. And then following up, what did you guys say to each other. It looked like an emotional moment there by the trailer.
MARC LEISHMAN: Yeah, I actually can't remember. Harvey, is my oldest boy, he keeps asking me, "Daddy, why don't you ever win the trophy?" And so I think we were laughing about that and just, you know, it was a just a really good moment to for her to be there and just that hug was extra special one, because she knows how hard I work -- and she works really hard, too. She gives up a lot of things for me to do what I do. So, this is for our whole family, for everyone, all my support, everyone who supports me, coaches, caddie, agent, just, it's family, it's friends, it's just everyone, we'll really enjoy this one.

Q. I was going ask you about that, Audrey said that Harvey has kind of been nagging you over the last couple years why you don't come home with the trophy. Curious if that's hard to hear as a dad, because you're obviously trying your hardest, but what's it like when you hear that constantly?
MARC LEISHMAN: It's funny. I mean, I don't take it too seriously. He's five years old. It does give me extra motivation though. There's a few putts that I'm over, especially that one on 18, some weird things go through your head, but I'm thinking -- because we had a putting green at home upstairs and I'm thinking, Harvey could make this putt. You've got to make it. So, it looked a lot longer on, it looked a lot shorter on TV than it was. It was a good solid three feet and yeah, obviously, people have missed those before and I certainly didn't want to be one of those people.

Q. What do you tell him each week when he asks you that?
MARC LEISHMAN: I just say, I got to work harder. Daddy's got to go out and practice more. Yeah, that's all you can do, really.

Q. And Kevin had a decent size lead most of the day, when did the possibility of actually winning enter your head?
MARC LEISHMAN: There wasn't too many leaderboards out there. Which is a good thing. I saw he got to 13 at one point. I can't remember what score I was on at that point. Yeah, on a course like this, it's hard, it's hard to just one bad shot can jump up and you can make a double very easily. I'm not sure what he did or whether he had bogeys or doubles or what, I don't know. But it's really easy to have a few string a few bogeys in a row, when the rough's as thick as it is, the greens are as hard and fast, and the wind was blowing, too. So it was a tough day and I'm just lucky that I played well and made the putts when I had to make them.

Q. When you're standing over the eagle putt on 16, there's a lot going on, you're not in the lead, in fact, I think you were at that time were probably two back. Didn't know what was going on behind you. Didn't know what Rory was doing in front of you. Probably saw that. How do you keep yourself in that moment without going, what the hell else is going on out here besides me? Is there a way, is there a trick to that?
MARC LEISHMAN: Yeah, I mean you just got to think about what you're doing and not think about what other guys are doing. I knew where I was -- well actually I didn't know where I was situated. I knew I was a few back, the last time I saw the leaderboard I think Charlie and Kiz were both a few ahead. But over that putt all I was thinking was, don't leave it short, because I knew the line. And it was uphill into the grain and I wanted to give it a chance. I didn't want to -- there's nothing worse than losing by a shot and having left a putt short in the jaws late in a tournament. So, to roll that one in, which when I wasn't expecting it, was pretty good. I probably wasn't even thinking about winning until -- well, at the start of the day you think about winning, but it wasn't until I stood on the 17th tee that I'm like, I'm probably in front now, you know, you just got to hit good shots. And I actually hit a really good shot on 17. Just the wind died a little bit and it went in that back bunker. Then I knew I had the tee shot on 18 ahead, which I've struggled with all week and struggled with again today. So, yeah, you just got to try and do as good as you can and hope it's good enough.

Q. After winning Rookie of the Year in 2009 and then getting your first victory in 2012, take me through what it's been like to go five years without a win and how much has that played on your mind every time you tee it up?
MARC LEISHMAN: Yeah, I mean that's why we play, to win. But I know there's 156 other guys out here that are wanting to do the same thing. So, it's a tough game, everyone wants to win and not everyone can. So, it's been, I feel like I haven't played as well as what I would have liked. This year's been different. I played really well and the results haven't been quite as good as I thought they might have been. I guess I threw that win at the Nedbank in a couple of years ago, which kept me knowing that I've still got what it takes to close out a tournament. But, yeah, you got to keep working, know what's right for you, whether work is practicing eight hours a day or whether it's practicing the right things for an hour. I'm on that one. But, yeah, you just got to know what's good for you and stick to that.

Q. You've had some good results in the Majors. How much does this give you confidence to maybe close out a Major especially especially after St. Andrews in 2015 and coming close to winning when Adam did in 2013.
MARC LEISHMAN: Yeah, it's great. It gets me into the Masters, which you got to be in them to try and win them. So playing like I did this week certainly gives me confidence. Those golf courses are on a different level. This was tough, but they're tougher. But, no, feeling good about where everything's at. This is a certainly a big step in the right direction, winning a tournament like this on such a special week as well I had a bit of extra special meaning this week.

Q. Is this your first time wearing a cardigan and do you have any good stories of first time -- you said you met Arnold a couple times at this tournament -- what it was like the first time?
MARC LEISHMAN: I have probably worn one before. I'm sure my mum would have dressed me in one or, yeah. Now I shouldn't have said that.


I'm very, very happy to be wearing this cardigan. This is, it's an honor to be, it really is a special -- it's going to take quite a place in my, as Audrey calls it, in my man cave. What was the second part?

Q. First time you recall meeting Arnold.
MARC LEISHMAN: Oh, first time I met him, yeah. It was in the dining room here. Just went over and said, thanks for having us all here at your place, it's an honor to be here and thank you. And then we would see him every year after that. This is my 8th year in row playing this tournament. I would always see him where his cart's parked there on the right-hand side of 16 tee. Always go over and say good-day. And so, you know, obviously, sad that he's not here, but I'm sure he's watching down today and loving the way the golf course was looking and loving the crowds. And he would have been proud of everything Sam and Mrs. Palmer have done for this tournament, too. Sam Saunders is, I know everyone was pulling for him to make the cut and I think he's going to be a unbelievable ambassador for this tournament, too.

Q. So, following that, with this idea of this whole week kind of celebrating Arnold Palmer and this idea of living life well played, on a day as big as this for you, what is that idea of life well played mean to you?
MARC LEISHMAN: Well, I mean, he's someone that you look up to, not just in golf, but he's obviously -- well they say "a life well played," because he's lived his life to the fullest. I don't want to be, I don't want to get 30 years down the track and wish I had spent more time with my kids or wish I had -- you don't want to be known as an underachiever. I feel like if you can be a good dad, good husband, good person, play some good golf along the way, I feel like that's a -- you know, enjoy yourself, enjoy a few beers, enjoy some good food. I feel like that's a life well played and that's how he lived his life. How highly his family speaks of him, he's so genuine. You hear some of the stories that Sam tells and you can tell that it's truly from the heart and that he's such a great man. So that's what it means to me and that's how I try to live my life is to be known as a great person who played good golf, not to be known as a golfer who was a decent player.

JOHN BUSH: All right, congratulations once again. Marc Leishman.

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