Luke Elvy: Jarrod Lyle Monday qualifies for Frys

It’s official, the comeback is complete, Jarrod Lyle will make his PGA Tour return at this week’s season opener – the Open in California. But just like his life, it was through sheer guts and determination.

Originally the two-time cancer survivor had been ridiculously overlooked for a sponsors invite, but that disappointment was replaced by joy as he secured one of the four remaining spots at the event’s Monday qualifier. Lyle was one of eight players who shot a 6 under 66 then survived a playoff for four spots.

Jarrod Lyle Jarrod Lyle (Credit: Getty Images)

Countryman Mat Goggin snatched the first spot with a birdie at the first then Lyle sunk a 25 foot birdie putt a hole later to grab another, sadly Greg Chalmers missed out.

Fighting for everything, it’s a metaphor for Jarrod’s life.

I spoke to the 33-year-old late last week as he was wrapping his comeback preparations with coach Sandy Jamieson at TPC Summerlin in Las Vegas, the host venue of next week’s Shriners Hospitals for Children Open. Understandably the Aussie is anxious about his return.

“I’m nervous, it’s exciting, I can’t wait for it to get here, I can’t wait for it to disappear…I don’t think it’s going to be as emotional as it was when I made my comeback in Australia.” said Lyle.

That was at Royal Melbourne in last year’s Australian Masters and his performance was not dissimilar to his recent return where he fared better than expected. But a tie for 11th was followed by three missed cuts, which shows he still has to get the rust off his game.

“I’ve been given another opportunity to play on the PGA Tour and it’s an opportunity I don’t want to waste by not doing the right things.” added Lyle, who admits he needs to spend more time on his health and fitness.

Lyle has 20 events to make about $280,000, but those starts aren’t necessarily guaranteed, he will sometimes have to earn them. And while the money doesn’t seem like much by PGA Tour standards, it is when half of the past two and a half years was been spent in hospital fighting a deadly disease.

Now though the Aussie is free of the Acute Myeloid Leukaemia, which had ravaged his body and is enjoying life back in the United States. He recently bought an RV (motor home) to make his travel with wife Briony and two-year old daughter Lusi more comfortable.

“Absolutely love it. We’ve had a ball travelling around the country meeting friends along the way. It’s great to have all the creature comforts…it’s basically our home on wheels.”

It hasn’t been all smooth sailing though, Lyle went through four new cars before finally finding one that the bus could tow. That is the least of his concerns now as he’s teeing it up this week in the PGA Tour season opener.

“It’s the whole unknown, ‘am I going to be good enough anymore?’ Lyle said, almost questioning himself. Apart from a bit of rust, which from the Monday qualifier result appears gone, the 33 year-old has a whole new lease on life.

For a man who has now conquered cancer twice, his comeback to the PGA Tour will seem a breeze. Even if he has to Monday qualify.