Saying Goodbye to Jarrod Lyle

Australian Golfer Lyle Goes into Palliative Care after Fighting Leukemia

Thinking back to all the times in which we lost icons of the golf world, each one of them hurts all over again by being revisited. It doesn’t matter how far back it goes. There is something so incapacitating about losing someone you admire in a manner that shouldn’t have happened. Wayne Westner of South Africa, Erica Blasberg, the Payne Stewart and Seve Ballesteros stories point to the emptiness of illogical losses. Losing someone we feel close to because of age is difficult enough, but the young who haven’t gotten their full chance yet – it doesn’t make sense. Jarrod Lyle is an Australian golfer born in 1981, in Shepparton, Australia. He is turning to face the end of his life at the age of 36, to be 37 this month. He is the husband of Briony, and the father of two. He has a killer smile that could change a person’s life.

I have never forgotten the age of 36. Whatever I am able to do on this earth, I was able to do it best around that time. It was a time of default joy on a daily basis, the magical time in the brief transition of “young enough to do it, old enough to know better.” If there was anything to be won, that was a good age at which to win it. Aches and pains were few, nagging injuries were not yet on the horizon, and all things were possible. That’s what we get to bring with us from youth, the belief that all things are possible. However, Jarrod Lyle never got his allotment of carefree time. He did the joyful thing anyway, but it never got to be as easy as it should have been. His first major battle with leukemia came as a teenager. Through the years, Lyle has beaten it, only to see it relentlessly return. The last time, the disease robbed him of his vision after an attempt to employ stem cell therapy.

I did some reading up on stem cells and leukemia, knowing full well that the entire field is brand new, and experimental in nearly all cases. Those of us who hope for a magic solution to all such diseases through stem cells will be mind-boggled by how intricate the whole thing is, and by how many different directions the results can go. In looking at Lyle’s case, we would be heartbroken at how one positive action causes so many problems somewhere else, and at the horrible toll such a regimen, year after year, takes on the human body.  Jarod Lyle doesn’t want to fight anymore. As Briony explained in her public statement his “poor body can’t take anymore.”

Lyle became a pro in 2004, and progressed through his country’s tour to Asia, the Nationwide Tour, and on two occasions, the PGA. He won twice on the Nationwide at the Mexico Open and the Knoxville Open. He didn’t win the Masters or the Open, but the importance of that is paltry. He is loved by many, and most of all at home. He loved playing the game, and even surprised himself with some great scores in a weakened condition.

We all know how difficult hitting a golf ball really is as players. Every part of the body is so important to the swing that an injury almost anywhere is a serious detriment. The same goes for weakness. The game may appear fluid and poetic, but core strength is required, especially if one is going to walk the distance. It doesn’t bode well for people in Lyle’s condition.  It is important to note that he is not quitting. The majority of us have no earthly idea how well he has fought, and for how long. He is making peace with nature’s reality, and all our good wishes go with him


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