The world of golf is united with sadness today following the terrible news overnight that PGA Tour player Jarrod Lyle passed away having ceased treatment and began palliative care in recent weeks amid a third battle with acute myeloid leukaemia.
Lyle, a 36 year old Australian who won twice on the PGA Nationwide Tour and played on the PGA Tour on and off from 2006 was often proclaimed as one the nicest guys on tour. Jarrod’s story would bring a tear to your eye and having played with him I have always followed his life and career with great interest.
My memories began in 2005 at the final stage of Tour school. At the time, and I think for the last time, Tour school was being played around San Roque old and new. I was drawn with two Australians, David Bransdon and Jarrod Lyle. I had never heard of either of them and I’m sure they’d never heard of me.
The final stage of Tour school is a selfish place. Everyone there is worried about themselves but there is also a strange feeling of unity. Everyone has the singular goal of winning a tour card. You meet your playing partners on the first tee, you have your own caddie and you don’t expect much conversation during the day. You are in your own bubble. I can safely say I have never experienced pressure anything like it.
As you play you do get to know your playing partners but conversation is functional rather than cordial. Safe to say you don’t meet friends for life at Tour school. Jarrod was slightly overweight back then, with a bucket hat and was a very happy looking chap.
We played our first round, nothing exciting we played ok. I don’t really remember the scores but what happened on the 2nd hole during round two is what always made me remember Jarrod Lyle.
The 2nd hole on the new course in San Roque is a shortish par 5, a hole that you should always pick up a shot on. Once you hit the fairway your second shot was a fairway wood hit at a cork tree just at the front left corner of the green and let it cut back and feed the ball up the green. Easy really.
Jarrod hit his second perfectly but it just clipped the edge of the tree at the green. None of us saw the ball bounce but presumed it was either on the edge of the green or just of the left edge. Down we go to the green and there is no sign of Jarrods ball, we look around no sign. There is nothing within 70 yards of the green where you could lose a ball. It could only have stayed in the tree. With so much at stake many players, myself included would be cursing their luck. Not Jarrod. He just walked back down the fairway as if he was out for a stroll, hit another ball onto the green and walked back cool as you like. I was shocked how calm he was. He made 6.
A few holes later I built enough courage to say, “Fair play to you, you have a great attitude, I think I would have broke a club”. Jarrod told me his story about his first bout of acute myeloid leukemia. He was just happy to be at Tour school after a close brush with death at the age of 17. His attitude was amazing and I never forgot it.
Since then I followed his career with great interest. He had a second bout of the disease in 2012 and finally in July 2017 a third bout.
Jarrod leaves behind a wife and 2 small children and the post by his wife Briony last week made very difficult reading. A guy that has achieved so much in such difficult circumstances needed a miracle. Robert Allenby a close friend of his since they met when Jarrod was sick the first time posted an article about their friendship. It was a very tough but amazing read. A friend losing a friend to a terrible disease.
I’ve prayed that Jarrod would get the miracle he so richly deserved but unfortunately it didn’t happen.
RIP Jarrod Lyle – I’ll always have a memory of you playing with a smile on your face.