Monday, December 21| Australia’s Marc Leishman has received the perfect Christmas present: a Rookie of the Year award on the US PGA Tour as announced by Commissioner Tim Finchem on Friday.
For at least a day, the Warnambool boy shared the golf media headlines with embattled Tiger Woods, who was awarded his 10th Player of the Year award and his first since 2007. Leishman became the first Australian to receive this honor since it was first awarded in 1990.
“Congratulations to Tiger and Marc for their accomplishments in 2009,” said Commissioner Finchem. “Both players enjoyed outstanding seasons capped off by success in the Playoffs. The recognition by their peers is the one of the highest compliments a PGA TOUR member can receive.”
For 26 year old Leishman, competition for the award came from fellow rookies Jeff Klauk and Webb Simpson. However, having been the only rookie to qualify for the Tour Championship, which was the final event of the FedEx Cup Playoffs, he was always going to be tough to beat.
Leishman had 3 top 10 finishes including the Valero Texas Open (T5), the HP Byron Nelson Championship (T8) and probably his most memorable one when he tied for second at the BMW Championships in the third leg of the FedEx Cup Playoffs.
His coach Denis McDade from Bann Lynch Golf in Melbourne has worked with him since his amateur days, and was understandably thrilled with the way his season turned out: “Marc has adjusted so well to playing on the world’s biggest stage and is only going to get better. To be able to produce his best golf under that sort of pressure in your rookie season is really impressive and that kind of confidence is something you can’t teach. I’m really looking forward to seeing him develop into an even stronger player next season“.