Gold Coast, Australia: World number 13 Marc Leishman has been bestowed Australian golf’s most prestigious individual honour, the Greg Norman Medal.
Australia’s best performing golfer on the international stage in 2017, Leishman won the coveted award following in the footsteps of Jason Day who won the Greg Norman Medal in 2015 and 2016.
“To win the Greg Norman Medal is an incredible honour. Like all Aussie golfers, Greg was a hero of mine so to have earned an achievement in his name makes it that much more special,” said Leishman.
“2017 has been an incredible year for my family and me with the birth of our daughter and winning the Greg Norman Medal certainly tops it off.
“It’s a massive honour. I think about all the things Greg Norman has done for me, he’s been such a role model.”
In 2017, Leishman stood up and made the world take notice. Long heralded in Australia as one of the county’s brightest talents, Leishman has often been overlooked by the international limelight.
But the boy from the ‘Bool created a name for himself winning twice on the PGA Tour in 2017, at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and the BMW Championship.
In addition, he recorded four further top-10 results, including a tied sixth at The Open, in 23 tournaments played this year. These results have seen Leishman reach his highest ever world ranking.
Leishman was an integral member of the International Team for The Presidents Cup and also represented Australia in the World Cup of Golf at the end of 2016.
Norman couldn’t be at the Awards Ceremony but sent Leishman a video message.
“The Greg Norman Medal is presented each year to the Australian golfer who has had the best season. However, it’s about more than just performance,” said Norman.
“It is also about recognising an individual who had proudly represented Australia, who has shown true Aussie spirit, who has been determined and dedicated to their craft. The 2017 recipient personifies all these traits.
“Not only has he won twice on the PGA Tour, represented his country on the International Team at the Presidents Cup and climbed the world rankings, he has also been a dedicated family man, has shown true determination under pressure and above all else grace when things haven’t gone his way.
“I’m honoured to announce Marc Leishman as the 2017 Greg Norman Medal winner. Marc is an incredible talent but as a laidback Aussie, has often flown under the radar. However, this year he’s made the golfing world take notice.”
The other highlight of the evening was PGA Life Members Alex Mercer and Charlie Earp being elevated to Immortal status.
A true character of Australian golf, Earp nurtured many of the greatest Australian golfing talents the world has seen. Having coached Norman, Wayne Grady, Karrie Webb and Adam Scott, among many others, Earp is one of Australia’s most recognised golf coaches but his contribution to the game goes well beyond this.
Having completed his PGA Traineeship at Coolangatta Tweed Heads Golf Club and joining the association in 1945, Earp has more than 59 years of experience within the golf industry.
A PGA professional since 1956, Mercer completed his PGA Traineeship under Eric Cremin at Roseville Golf Club before going on to forge a successful career coaching some of Australia and New Zealand’s greatest players, including Major champions David Graham, Steve Elkington and Michael Campbell as well as counting Peter O’Malley, Brendan Jones and Jan Stevenson among his pupils.
During his career, Mercer was Head Professional at Royal Sydney Golf Club for 15 years, State Coach for the NSW team, NSW colts, South Australian ladies team and Queensland team. Mercer was also the New Zealand National Director of Coaching from 1976 to 1996 which was highlighted by his New Zealand team winning the 1992 Eisenhower Cup.
At 83 years of age, Mercer’s joy for the game has not dulled. He continues to work actively as a coach casting a watchful eye over his clients’ games.
The evening also saw members of the professional golf circuit, corporate world and golf community gather to celebrate the achievements of both tournament and vocational PGA professionals.