Virginia Beach's Marc Leishman not moping over missed Masters

Bay Hill Golf
Posted at 10:25 PM, Apr 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-07 22:41:33-04

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - It's Masters week. But, it's not.

77 years after it was canceled due to World War II, The Masters golf tournament - scheduled to start Thursday in Augusta, Georgia, has been postponed for the first time. Like most major events, the tournament is on hold due to the coronavirus.

While many sports fans will miss the tournament, one local professional knows what it means to really miss The Masters.

"This is a big perspective week for me," Marc Leishman, the number 15 ranked golfer in the world, told News 3 Tuesday.

Leishman, who lives in Virginia Beach, has played in six of the last seven Masters. The one he missed? Five years ago this week.

"It has been a little more emotional this year than in the past," Audrey Leishman, Marc's wife, admitted. "Because these patients that are dying with COVID-19 are actually dying from Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome - which is what nearly killed me."

Marc withdrew from the 2015 Masters to be with Audrey, who was in a coma with a five percent chance to survive.

"It can happen to perfectly healthy people," Audrey, who was 31 years-old and without any health issues when she became sick five years ago. "So it really is important to protect yourself and your loved ones.

"It makes me a lot more grateful to have our health, and that makes us want to be even more careful," Marc, who will also miss an opportunity to represent his home country of Australia this summer after the 2020 Tokyo Olympics were postponed due to the virus.

Through the Leishmans' Begin Again Foundation, launched after Audrey's near-death experience, they are committed to helping those who help - and those who need help. They have provided meals to hospital workers and also offer financial support for patients.

"The treatment team that saved my life, all of them right now, are at various hospitals right now across Hampton Roads supporting our patients," Audrey noted. "They're on the front lines."

"It feels really good to do something that's not just for you," Marc admitted. "We love helping people and seeing the look on their face. It makes us feel good, too - really good."

The Masters is an event famous for its vivid and vibrant colors. And the Leishmans know what it's like to miss the tournament for reasons bigger than golf.

So while it won't be with azaleas or green jackets, they're finding ways to brighten things up at home while we wait for golf's return.