Leishman to bring noise in Cup debut

Tiger Woods said silencing the Royal Melbourne crowds in 2011 was one of the keys to winning the Presidents Cup on foreign soil.
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But Australian Marc Leishman is happy for the American fans to make as much noise as they like as he prepares to tee off for the Internationals for the first time.

The 29-year-old Presidents Cup rookie insists he won’t be intimidated by the fiery American galleries as he lines up beside fellow Australians Jason Day and Adam Scott in Ohio next month.

He said he would be fueled on by the crowds and use the intimidating atmosphere as motivation to prove he belongs among elite company after being selected as a captain’s pick by Nick Price.

“I’m sure the Americans will be passionate. They definitely won’t be barracking for us,” said Leishman, one of the major signings for the Australian PGA Championship on the Gold Coast in November.

“For me, I’m going to use that as motivation. I like to win those one-one-one contests, or any week really. I’m going to use the crowd as motivation and see how that goes for me.

“It’s the first time I’ve played in that sort of format with those sort of crowds. I’ve never played anything like this with thousands and thousands of people out there. We’ll wait and see how the crowds are.”

Leishman comes in to the event on the back of an impressive year on the PGA Tour, capped off with his fourth place in the Masters, famously won by Scott in the long-awaited Australian breakthrough at Augusta.

He was made to sweat for a day before finally taking a late call from Price, who gave him the green light to join the 12-man international squad. Zimbabwe’s Brendon de Jonge was the other captain’s selection.

Leishman partnered Scott in the final round of the Masters, featuring in some dramatic imagery as he pumped his fist in jubilation as Scott sank a putt on the 18th green.

He’d love to reprise that combination in the Presidents Cup, saying it would be ideal to play next to good mate Scott, although Price has yet to decide on the all-important combinations to be deployed on the Jack Nicklaus-designed Muirhead Village course from October 3.

“He’s an awesome player, awesome bloke. I’d definitely love that pairing. We get along well – there’s no reason why not,” Leishman said. “I don’t know what Nick’s thinking at the moment. I don’t know who the other guys want to play with yet but I’d love to play with Scotty.”

Leishman’s year will be remembered for his charge at Augusta, where he almost led all the way only to endure some late blemishes in the final round to drop back to fourth.

He finished the tour ranked 59th and banked almost $US1.5 million, highlighted by four top-10 finishes and eight top-25 finishes across 23 tournaments.

But he’s never attacked anything like the Presidents Cup as a professional and has been leaning on Scott for advice as he enters the lion’s den against an American team with Phil Mickelson and Woods at the vanguard.

“They said it’s a big week, almost like the back nine of a tournament on Sunday – every shot. It’s given me an idea what to expect, off the course as well. But they said it’s an awesome week.” Leishman said.

“Once you get on one team, they said you never want to miss one again. This is my first one but all the guys that have been on the team the past few years are hoping to get a win and play well.”

Leishman will return to Australia in late October to spend time at his native Warrnambool before heading to the Gold Coast to play the PGA at Royal Pines from November 7.

“The Gold Coast is one of my favourite places in the world. I’ve played Royal Pines before. I like the golf course – it’s going to be exciting for the crowd,” Leishman said.

“I’m guessing there will be a fair few birdies on offer. Unless they have changed the course a lot, there’s going to be birdies. But it’s in a great area of the country and the world.”

The PGA will be the only tournament Leishman plays in the Australian summer unless his schedule changes between now and November.

USA Tiger Woods, Brandt Snedeker, Phil Mickelson, Matt Kuchar, Jason Dufner, Keegan Bradley, Steve Stricker, Bill Haas, Hunter Mahan, Zach Johnson, Webb Simpson, Jordan Spieth

Captain: Fred Couples

International Adam Scott (AUS), Jason Day (AUS), Charl Schwartzel (RSA), Ernie Els (RSA), Louis Oosthuizen (RSA), Hideki Matsuyama (JPN), Branden Grace (RSA), Graham DeLaet (CAN), Richard Sterne (RSA), Angel Cabrera (ARG), Marc Leishman (AUS), Brendon de Jonge (ZIM)

Captain: Nick Price (ZIM)

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