A Charitable Twist of Fate for Allenby

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 18, 2006, 4:00 pm
135th Open Championship HOYLAKE, England -- Jarrod Lyle must have felt he was living a dream: walking down fairways framed by wispy grass and dotted with tiny pot bunkers and their sodden walls, the black-and-yellow scoreboards next to each green, fans lining every hole at Royal Liverpool.
This is his first British Open, so thats to be expected.
Walking alongside him was Robert Allenby, playing golfs oldest championship for the 14th time. And he surely felt the same way.
Jarrod Lyle
Jarrod Lyle is competing in his first Open Championship.
Awesome, Allenby said quietly, recalling when they met, still amazed that their paths would cross here.
Allenby has been involved with Challenge a Cancer Support Network in Australia for more than a dozen years, raising $8 million to help pay for treatments and look after families whose children are battling cancer.
Seven years ago, one of those kids in the program was Lyle.
He was an aspiring golfer, although he didnt have the pedigree of the some of the rising stars Down Under. Lyle was playing off a 2 handicap when he was diagnosed at age 17 with acute myeloid leukemia.
He was never told the odds of making a full recovery, and he didnt want to know.
I just wanted to fight it out with everything I had, Lyle said.
Inspiration came from Allenby, his favorite player. Lyle remembers seeing him at a golf tournament as a young teenager, and he recalled one time he saw Allenby in the parking lot at Victoria Golf Club, ran up to him and got his autograph.
They didnt formally meet until Lyle was in the hospital fighting for his life.
He had filled out an application to get involved with the Challenge a Cancer network, and mentioned his love of golf. Allenby always visits the hospital around Christmas, and this time made a special trip.
I was on my back in intensive care. I couldnt be bothered talking to anyone, Lyle said. I had a couple of mates at the hospital who had come to see me that day and I told them, I cant see him. I dont want to see him. I dont want him to see me the way I am.
I had no hair, I had pipes (tubes) in me. He walked in the door, I looked at him and perked up. It definitely brightened my day.
And it helped bring Lyle to the career he always wanted.
Meeting Allenby made him even more determined to beat leukemia, and he did so quickly. Feeling strong again, he poured everything into golf and qualified for the Australian Open in 2004. He turned pro later that year and really got fans to pay attention when he tied for third in the Heineken Classic a year later, missing a playoff by one shot.
And he keeps getting better.
The 24-year-old tied for fourth in the Volvo China Open in the spring, and followed that with a tie for 12th in the Irish Open. But the biggest victory was earning one of three spots to the British Open from an international qualifier in Singapore at the start of the year.
Allenby was among the first people he called to arrange a practice round.
Its a dream come true, Lyle said. If someone had said seven years ago when I was flat on my back with pipes and drugs coming through me that I would be playing a major, I would have laughed at them. Its a dream. Im just cherishing every minute Im out here.
Allenby has had his own difficulties.
Once the most promising young Aussie, his career was derailed in 1994 when he was seriously injured in a car accident. He has fully recovered, winning four times each on the PGA TOUR and in Europe, along with 12 victories in Australia. Late last year, he became the first player to sweep the three biggest events at home'the Australian PGA, Australian Open and Australian Masters.
Allenby, 35, is cocksure in his speech and fiery with his emotions. But when asked Monday afternoon about his practice partners, he was reticent to mention his history with Lyle.
Boasting about good deeds is not the Aussie style.
Only after he had no choice but to share the details did Allenby have to concede, Its a great story. Hes a great kid.
Allenby was 13 when a close friend died of leukemia, and after turning pro and winning immediately, he went looking for a way to give back. That led him to Challenge a Cancer, and he began holding a golf outing at Yarra Yarra, his home club in Melbourne.
It went from 40 people at that first dinner, and now we have 1,500, Allenby said.
Along with paying for treatment, Allenby has helped supply hospital wards with televisions, computers and video games. Every two years, he brings a dozen or so kids to the United States, a three-week trip in which they stay at his house in south Florida and on his boat.
And he always stops by the hospital in Melbourne over Christmas.
A lot of kids hear about Robert, but they never meet him, Lyle said. But around Christmas time, he comes by and hes like a kid. It brightens the day when hes there.
Christmas marked a couple of significant anniversaries for Lyle.
It was around the holidays in 1999 when he last had a problem with leukemia. He has been in remission ever since, and his visit to the doctor last Christmas brought the best news of all.
My doctor said, I dont want to see you again, Lyle said. That was a big day for me. I went home and sipped a few beers to celebrate.
Then he went out and qualified for the British Open.
And six months later, he was at Royal Liverpool, walking the fairways with Allenby'his idol, his inspiration, his friend and now, amazingly, his peer.
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    Kelly beats Monty with two-shot swing on final hole

    By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 3:21 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Jerry Kelly made an 18-foot birdie putt on the final hole, Colin Montgomerie missed a 6-footer for par and Kelly turned a one-shot deficit into a victory Saturday in the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    After Kelly drove it well right into lava rocks on the par-4 16th, leading to bogey and giving Montgomerie the lead, Montgomerie made a mistake with his tee shot on the last, finding a fairway bunker. Montgomerie's approach went over the green and after Kelly converted his birdie, the 54-year-old Scot jammed his par putt well past the hole.

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    It was the third win on the over-50 tour for the 51-year-old Kelly, who finished tied for 14th last week at the PGA Tour's Sony Open in Honolulu. That gave him confidence as he hopped over to the Big Island for his tournament debut at Hualalai. The limited-field event includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    Kelly closed with a 6-under 66 for a three-day total of 18-under 198. Montgomerie shot 69. David Toms shot 67 and finished two shots back, and Miguel Angel Jimenez was another stroke behind after a 66.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, closed with a 70 to finish at 10 under.

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    Rahm manages frustration, two back at CareerBuilder

    By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 1:21 am

    Jon Rahm managed the winds and his frustrations Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge to give himself a chance to win his fourth worldwide title in the last year.

    Rahm’s 2-under-par 70 on the PGA West Stadium Course left him two shots off the lead going into the final round.

    “I wasn’t really dealing with the wind that much,” Rahm said of his frustrations. “I was dealing with not being as fluid as I was the last two days.”

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    The world’s No. 3 ranked player opened with a 62 at La Quinta Country Club on Thursday and followed it up with a 67 on Friday at PGA West. He made six birdies and four bogeys on the Stadium Course on Saturday.

    “The first day, everything was outstanding,” Rahm said. “Yesterday, my driver was a little shaky but my irons shots were perfect. Today, my driver was shaky and my irons shots were shaky. On a course like this, it’s punishing, but luckily on the holes where I found the fairway I was able to make birdies.”

    Rahm is projected to move to No. 2 in the world rankings with a finish of sixth or better on Sunday.

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    Cook leads by one entering final round at CareerBuilder

    By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 12:51 am

    LA QUINTA, Calif. – Austin Cook hit a hybrid into the fairway bunker on the par-4 18th on a breezy Saturday afternoon at La Quinta Country Club, then chunked a wedge and raced a chip 20 feet past the hole.

    Kip Henley, the longtime PGA Tour caddie who guided Cook to a breakthrough victory at Sea Island in November, stepped in to give the 26-year-old former Arkansas star a quick pep talk.

    ''Kip said, 'Let's finish this like we did on the first day at the Nicklaus Course.' We made a big par putt on 18 there and he said, 'Let's just do the same thing. Let's get this line right and if you get the line right it's going in.'''

    It did, giving Cook an 8-under 64 and a one-stroke lead in the CareerBuilder Challenge going into the final round on the Stadium Course at PGA West. Fellow former Razorback Andrew Landry and Martin Piller were tied for second, and Jon Rahm and Scott Piercy were a another stroke back after a tricky day in wind that didn't get close to the predicted gusts of 40 mph.

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    ''I know that I wouldn't have wanted to play the Stadium today,'' Cook said. ''I think we got a great draw with the courses that we got to play on the days that we got to play them.''

    Cook played the final six holes on the front nine in 6 under with an eagle and four birdies.

    ''Starting on my fourth hole, I was able to make a birdie and kind of get the ball rolling and it never really stopped rolling,'' Cook said. ''Kip and I were doing really good at seeing the line on the greens.''

    After a bogey on 10, he birdied 11, 12 and 15 and parred the final three to get to 19-under 197.

    ''I think that tonight the nerves, the butterflies, all that will kind of be a little less,'' Cook said. ''I've been in the situation before and I was able to finish the job on Sunday. I think it would be a little different if I didn't play like I did on Sunday at Sea Island.''

    He's making his first start in the event.

    ''I came in from Hawaii on Monday, so I only had two days to prepare for three courses,'' Cook said.

    Landry, the second-round leader, had a 70 at the Stadium. Piller, the husband of LPGA tour player Gerina Piller, shot a 67 at La Quinta. Winless on the PGA Tour, they will join Cook in the final threesome.

    ''Piller's a good guy and we have played a lot together and same with Cookie,'' said Landry, the only player without a bogey after 54 holes. ''Hope the Hogs are going to come out on top.''

    Rahm had a 70 at the Stadium to reach 17 under. The third-ranked Rahm beat up the par 5s again, but had four bogeys – three on par 3s. He has played the 12 par 5s in 13 under with an eagle and 11 birdies.

    ''A little bit of a survival day,'' Rahm said.

    The wind was more of a factor on the more exposed and tighter Stadium Course.

    ''The course is firming up,'' Rahm said. ''I know if we have similar wind to today, if we shoot something under par, you'll be way up there contesting it over the last few holes.''

    Piercy had a 66 at the Stadium.

    ''I controlled my ball really well today,'' he said.

    Adam Hadwin had a 67 at La Quinta a year after shooting a third-round 59 on the course. The Canadian was 16 under along with Grayson Murray and Brandon Harkins. Murray had a 67 on the Nicklaus Course, and Harkins shot 68 at the Stadium.

    Phil Mickelson missed the cut in his first tournament of the year for the second time in his career, shooting a 74 on the Stadium to finish at 4 under – four strokes from a Sunday tee time. The 47-year-old Hall of Famer was playing for the first time since late October. He also missed the cut in the Phoenix Open in his 2009 opener.

    Charlie Reiter, the Palm Desert High School senior playing on the first sponsor exemption the event has given to an amateur, also missed the cut. He had three early straight double bogeys in a 77 on the Stadium that left him 1 over.

    John Daly had an 80 at La Quinta. He opened with a triple bogey and had six bogeys – four in a row to start his second nine - and only one birdie. The 51-year-old Daly opened with a 69 on the Nicklaus layout and had a 71 on Friday at the Stadium.

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    Phil misses CareerBuilder cut for first time in 24 years

    By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 12:48 am

    Phil Mickelson missed the cut Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge. It’s a rare occurrence in his Hall of Fame career.

    He has played the event 15 times, going back to when it was known as the Bob Hope Classic. He has won it twice.

    How rare is his missing the cut there?

    The last time he did so, there was no such thing as a DVD, Wi-Fi, iPods, Xbox, DVR capability or YouTube.

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    The PGA Tour’s Jon Rahm didn’t exist, either.

    The last time Mickelson missed a cut in this event was 1994, nine months before Rahm was born.

    Mickelson struggled to a 2-over-par 74 in the heavy winds Saturday on the PGA West Stadium Course, missing the 54-hole cut by four shots. He hit just four of 14 fairways, just nine of 18 greens. He took a double bogey at the 15th after requiring two shots to escape the steep-walled bunker on the left side of the green.

    Mickelson won’t have to wait long to try to get back in the hunt. He’s scheduled to play the Farmers Insurance Open next week at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, Calif.