On this day last year, Marc Leishman heard arguably the best words he’ll likely ever experience.
“Sorry about the Masters,” his wife Audrey uttered when she awoke from an induced coma.
Days earlier, the gentle giant had been at Augusta National preparing for his fourth tilt at a green jacket when he took a phone call that changed his family’s life.
In the ensuing hours, the Victorian learnt Audrey had toxic shock syndrome and doctors told him she had a five per cent chance of survival.
Suddenly, to miss a tournament, even the Masters, seemed absolutely irrelevant and a golf career might be entirely scrapped to take care of their young boys, Harvey and Oliver.
“When it was at its worst, a lot of things go through your head,” Leishman told Scott Michaux of the Augusta Chronicle this week.
“I was thinking my boys need me. I couldn’t imagine travelling as a single dad with two kids.”
Today, in one of the most heart-warming moments of the annual par-3 contest, Leishman shared the moment with Audrey and his boys — a moment he once thought impossible.
A year ago and by the time Leishman reached the Virginia hospital, his wife was already in the intensive care unit. Doctors needed to put her into a coma to fight the infection, and there was no time to grant her request to wait for her two young boys to come to say goodbye. Her last delirious words to her husband before falling unconscious were: “Please look after my cats and take the kids to get their Easter bunny photos.”
“No ‘I love you’ or anything like that; it was quite funny,” said Leishman, noting that she left no instructions for their two dogs. “It was a last resort putting her in a coma. If they didn’t do that, she was going to die. If they did do that, she was probably going to die. It was her best chance. We said our goodbyes basically thinking that was going to be it.”
His mind raced for days as Audrey lay motionless. He told Michaux that by the time he first left the hospital, he’d lost a lot of weight and was discombobulated.
“I backed the car into a pole,” he said. “I saw it and I knew I was going to hit it. I hadn’t eaten or slept. I couldn’t react. I shouldn’t have been driving.”
It was the morning of last year’s par-3 contest when Audrey awoke from her coma.
“She got pretty upset,” he said. “I told her not to worry about it, it’s just golf. She and the boys are more important than golf.”
Visit www.augusta.com/masters/story/news/wifes-health-scare-gives-leishman-new-outlook-golf to read the full story.