Coming Back – Welcome Jarrod Lyle
Many of us tend to harbor some mythologies where professional golfers are concerned. Even though we know, on some intellectual level, that it isn’t true, we have a tendency to believe that they are all rich. Secondly, we tend to think that they lead glamorous, luxury-laden lives, and that they mix endlessly with the jet set and travel the world where a red carpet is always waiting.
In addition to that, there is a reality which makes it harder to feign belief. We have seen it in the many cases of breast cancer on the women’s tour, which have included some tragic looses, and from time to time, other ailments and misfortunes that befall members of the PGA.
Professional golfers are never off the hook for the same disasters that lay in wait for every human being. We have players that have recovered from broken bodies, organ transplants, and a variety of other assaults on this game that requires such physical finesse. Today, we can welcome one of them back into the fold, a survivor, and a certified, validated professional tour golfer, who has only to work out a quota of appearances on the Web.com tour in order to rejoin the best in the game on the PGA, European, and any other tour he might want to play.
Australian Jarrod Lyle was born in 1981, which would place him just shy of his mid-thirties – what a great time to be a golfer. He’s played his fair share of PGA events before losing his card in 2007, finishing at 164th on the money list. But, he came back, by winning the Mexican Open and the Knoxville Open. For this week, he didn’t get a sponsor exemption for the Frys.com Open, so he did what golfers do – he showed up for the Monday qualifying, shot a 66, worked himself into an 8 man playoff, then sunk a twenty-footer on the second hole to get into the event. Lyle says that although he tried to hold it together publicly, he “screamed like a little girl” on the way home. That description is deceptive. First of all, to scream like a little girl on the way home was absolutely the right thing to do for a human being, and second, little girls are some of the bravest humans on earth. What’s the problem?
Lyle, who is a close friend of fellow Aussie, Roger Allenby, was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia at the age of seventeen. It put him in bed for about nine months, and it was at least another year before he could walk a full regulation course again, much less play golf on it. But, he came back, and got his PGA card.
Losing it again in ’07, Lyle has also gone into a second attack from the disease – but he came back – and went into his second major period of remission. Now, he has the space of twenty events in which to reach the equivalent of 125th on the money list. He has to earn somewhere around 283,000, and he’s walking down the fairways again with Rory and the rest of the gang.
Lyle commented that he didn’t realize that he had such an extended family, when he received a DVD from the players cheering him on. He probably doesn’t realize, either, that as more of us learn the story, his family grows larger. He’s playing well, and looking like a fellow who has every intention of rising higher on that list. No one is going to go anywhere with his PGA card if he has anything to say about it. That’s part of the reason he’s come back – again and again, while the golf world, players and onlookers, salute him.