Marc Leishman says being at home for his son's birthday was worth sacrificing a day of preparation as he readies for a "massive" five weeks featuring the PGA Tour's play-offs and the US Open.
Leishman leads a six-strong Australian contingent at the opening event of the PGA Tour's US$60 million play-offs series but delayed his trip to TPC Boston to be present for son Ollie's seventh birthday at his Virginia home.
Five-time PGA Tour winner Leishman now turns his attention this week's Northern Trust tournament, where he is the top-ranked Australian at 14th on the FedEx Cup points tally.
The Northern Trust fields the top 125 on the FedEx list and will determine the 70 who qualify for next week's BMW Championship before the final 30 advance to the Tour Championship finale in Atlanta.
"I like the cut-throat aspect of the play-offs. If you play well, you can make a big move and if you don't you can go backwards and be eliminated," Leishman told AAP.
"If they're going to call them play-offs, that's how it should be."
Leishman is followed by countrymen Cameron Smith (30th), Adam Scott (36th), Jason Day (45th), Matt Jones (86th) and Cameron Davis (91st) in FedEx points.
However Leishman is the only Australian all but assured of qualifying for the Tour Championship in Atlanta, Georgia where the eventual FedEx Cup winner will be determined.
No Australian has won the FedEx Cup title, which was introduced in 2007 and now awards the champion a US$15 million bonus.
“I like the cut-throat aspect of the play-offs. If you play well, you can make a big move and if you don't you can go backwards and be eliminated.” – Marc Leishman
Leishman's motivation for the first two play-offs events is to improve his position on the FedEx list and be within striking distance of the points leader at the Tour Championship.
"I'd love to win another trophy before then," said Leishman, who won the US Tour's Farmers Insurance Open in January.
"But I want to make sure I'm in a decent chance of giving that FedEx Cup title a run."
After the play-offs, Leishman will only have a week off before September's US Open at Winged Foot in New York.
"My results haven't showed it but I feel I'm really close to a good week or a good stretch of golf," said Leishman, whose best finish is 40th in the seven US Tour events he has played since a runner-up at the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March.
"It's a massive five weeks and I'm really excited."
Once a play-offs heavyweight with two post-season wins, Day will need at least a top-six result this week to lock up a Tour Championship berth.
"TPC Boston is a great course for me and I have had success here," Day told AAP of his top-three finishes at the course in 2010 and 2011.
"I feel very positive about my game and attitude lately; I would love to get off to a good start to set myself up for a FedEx cup opportunity," added Day, whose tie for fourth at the recent US PGA Championship was his fourth consecutive top-10 on the US Tour.
- Evin Priest, Australian Associated Press