Jarrod Lyle heads back to America
As you find yourself watching the US Open this weekend, be mindful something significant is happening here in Australia. Two-time cancer survivor Jarrod Lyle, with wife and daughter in tow, is flying back to the Unites States to re-commence his PGA Tour career.
His comeback story is one of the greatest the game has ever known, it’s bigger than when David fought Goliath, because unlike Jarrod, David didn’t have to beat Goliath twice. In Lyle, we have a courageous and proud Australian heading back to a place he thought he’d never return.
Jarrod Lyle (Credit: Anthony Powter)
“I’m excited about going back there and seeing everyone again, but more importantly to have the chance to thank everyone personally.” said Lyle. “I’ll never forget what they did for me, all the Leuk the Duck pins and the video messages at Bay Hill…I’m looking forward to being a part of the PGA Tour family again.”
While he baulks at being labeled inspirational, he understands his story has touched countless lives, but that’s not why he’s still alive. “Being Lucy’s dad and Bri’s husband is the reason why I’m still here, that’s what makes me proud.” Lyle admitted emotionally.
In the depths of his battle with Acute Myeloid Leukemia, Lyle had little chance of survival so playing golf professionally was basically a write off. However, in a little over a year since getting a clean bill of health, the Victorian has got his game back to the stage where he feels he can compete alongside the world’s best again.
Insistence from wife Briony that Lyle reconnect with his old coach Sandy Jamieson at Commonwealth Golf Club almost a year ago was a smart call. Because Jamieson teaches more by feel compared to the technical analysis you often get these days. It suits Jarrod’s style and he’s got his game back to a high level.
“We did something different the other day, we went out and played some holes… about six holes in I basically hit every shot he asked me to hit it and he turned and said ‘you’re ready, you’ve got all the shots’.”
Lyle has always said there’s a big difference to being ready and being PGA Tour ready. That’s the fine line on the most competitive tour in the world so to hear those words from his coach is “a big endorsement”. He’s put in the hard work so he’s happy to see the results.
The PGA Tour is arranging a media conference soon after he arrives so can get some of the fanfare out of the way before he begins playing. First up are three warm up Web.com events starting July 24 in Kansas, he’ll have a week off before heading to Missouri then Knoxville, Tennessee where he won in 2008.
When Jarrod returns to the PGA Tour in early October, the scenario under his major medical exemption is 20 starts to make about $280,000, and while that seems pretty straight forward his schedule is not.
Because he was a Web.Com Tour graduate before he got sick his status is so low he’s not guaranteed any starts so he’s relying mostly on sponsor invites.
“I’m not disappointed in the system, it’s a fair system and everyone plays by it.”
He has, quite appropriately, been confirmed to play in the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in Las Vegas, but at this stage that’s it. However, it’s most likely his incredible story will ensure another start at the Frys.com Open, but he’s not concerned about it.
“Its all a bonus. If I play 20 events over the next two years and I miss 20 cuts so be it. In saying that, I’m going to give it my best shot.”
If there’s anything we’ve learned about Jarrod Lyle over his two bouts with cancer, he’ll never give up the fight. Go well JL, you’re already a champion in our eyes.