Australian hope Marc Leishman has had to overcome a pre-British Open scare after his golf clubs got lost in transit from the US and his equipment sponsors were forced to create an emergency set for him.
Former runner-up Leishman, who’s fancied to make another run at the Claret Jug at Royal St George’s this week, was left deeply concerned when he arrived in London on Sunday morning only to discover his clubs, including his precious driver, had gone AWOL.
He was without them for 36 hours before they finally turned up late on Monday night and he was able to begin his preparations in earnest for the 149th edition of the great event the following day.
In what he admitted was the oddest preparation for his latest tilt at winning his first major, the 37-year-old from Warrnambool also had buy some new clothes from one of the shops at the course near to where he is staying.
“It’s been a little bit strange, I have to say,” Leishman told AAP on Tuesday after a practice round with his old faithful clubs.
“I didn’t have any golf clubs until last night. I got here on Sunday morning and had no golf clubs until 8pm last night. Or clothes,” shrugged the player who’d flown in from his home in Virginia Beach in the US.
“Callaway (his equipment sponsors) were on top of it and they made me a special new set yesterday. So I was all set to do some practice yesterday as well, just in case they got lost for good.
“You never know; I’ve had golf clubs go missing for ever before. If that was going to happen, I wanted to be prepared. But I’m back to the normal ones now.”
Did the whole episode panic Leishman, who’s a phlegmatic sort of bloke?
“I would’t say I was panicking. The biggest thing was my driver. I love my driver and that was the thing I was worried about having to replace,” he said.
“When the clubs turned up, there were so many baggage tags on the bag, they must have been on a journey – from Virginia Beach to Boston back to New York, on to somewhere else….
“I had to buy a shirt and some jeans at the course yesterday. They’re grey jeans, so they kind of look like pants!”
Now that he’s reunited with his beloved driver, Leishman reckons he’s good shape to finally win his first major after six top-10 finishes, the best of which was his second place in the 2015 Open at St Andrews.
That playoff loss, he says, has not lived with him. “I wouldn’t say it gnaws away at me. I think about it occasionally and I’d love to have a Claret Jug sitting at home on my mantle,” he shrugged.
“But I’d left myself too much work to do, got myself into the playoff but couldn’t close it out.
“But you never know this week. My game is where it should be – as good as it has been coming into a major for quite a while,” he said.
“There’s a lot of things that have got to go right – dealing with the bad breaks, taking that momentum running as long as you can. I feel good – but it’s a long week.”