Jarrod Lyle

By Rex HoggardFebruary 10, 2014, 9:07 pm

SHEPPARTON, MELBOURNE – If, as philosophy professors claim, life is no more than a collection of moments large and small, Jarrod Lyle’s tale is one of emotional riches.

Lyle’s ride begins in a nondescript room on the third floor of the Royal Melbourne Children’s Hospital just before the turn of the century. Every day for nine months Lyle’s mother, Sally, would greet each morning and fill the room with the same simple question.

When I sat with Jarrod in the hospital for nine months the whole time I’d walk in and say, ‘Have you beaten it today?,’” said Sally Lyle, the prototypical matriarch of a strong Australian family. “And he would say, ‘Yes.’ That’s what we said every day for nine months.”

The battle raging within Jarrod’s body was far more merciless and menacing than anything he’d ever faced growing up on the playing fields of sleepy Shepparton. In 1999, at age 17, Lyle was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia.

A few days earlier, Lyle had taken a fall playing football with some friends. A bruise almost immediately emerged on his shoulder and continued to grow. The next day as Sally was dropping Lyle, his brother Leighton, and sister Karly, off at school, Jarrod nearly passed out from the pain and the two rushed to see their local doctor.

It was the first glimpse of the helplessness and horror to come.

As I took my shirt off to show (the doctor) this bruise you could see something in his eye that sort of clicked and I thought that’s not a very good look in his eye,” Lyle recalled.

Before the sun set, Lyle and his family were on their way to Royal Melbourne Children’s Hospital some 100 miles to the west where doctors confirmed the onset of leukemia and immediately began treatments.

The blow to the entire family was immediate. Lyle, described by family and friends as quiet and accommodating with a mischievous side, was already well over 6 feet tall and had easily taken to golf over cricket and football.

At 7 years old, Lyle would wait for his father, John, on the 15th tee at Shepparton Golf Club and would caddie down the stretch before heading back out onto the tree-lined layout with his father’s clubs.

He set the course record at “Shep” as a junior – a mark that was later bested by his brother Leighton – and was a regular on the country teams that make up the core of amateur golf in Australia. It was this love for the game that became his singular focus on May 13, 1999, as he made the long, silent drive to Melbourne to begin his nine-month bout with leukemia.

Predictably, fear set in following the initial diagnosis; Fear of the unknown; Fear of a disease that had just one connotation – death.

I burst into tears and thought I didn’t even really know what leukemia was,” Lyle said. “You associate cancer with death because it’s all you ever hear. You know, such and such died from cancer.”

But then Sally Lyle doesn’t tolerate negativity. If you’re not looking forward, you’re wasting valuable time and energy. It is a trait that likely led Jarrod to confide in John Lyle in the dark moments immediately following the initial diagnosis. “Why me?” Jarrod asked his father.

It was a moment of self-indulgent wallowing that would set the standard not just for the next nine months but for a lifetime filled with equal parts adversity and achievement.

That was probably the only time he said anything like that through the whole nine months of his treatment,” John Lyle said. “It was just one little instance and the rest of it was just he was looking forward to beating it.”

With time Jarrod’s resolve to win each day’s battle strengthened and within a month doctors had declared him “cancer free.” There were more debilitating bouts with chemotherapy and sleepless nights, but it was always golf that drove him to the next day, to the next battle.

Even while he endured the ravages of chemotherapy, Lyle not only continued to play but his game improved. He won a junior event while still in treatment and even represented his district in an annual “Country Week” event the day after a particularly debilitating bone marrow test and a lumbar puncture.

I actually dropped my handicap from 4 to 1 while I was in treatment,” Lyle boasted.

That singular devotion was nurtured even more when Lyle’s idol, four-time PGA Tour winner Robert Allenby, visited him in the hospital. When Allenby, who had been an ambassador for the Challenge support network for children with cancer, arrived announced Lyle’s reaction was priceless. “Oh shit,” Lyle stammered.

From that meeting a friendship was forged and Lyle’s drive was focused even more. Beating cancer was no longer the ultimate goal, replaced instead by a more profound desire to join Allenby on the PGA Tour one day.

Jarrod always had a good swing,” Allenby said. “But he had a mind that was the strongest part of his game and because of what he had gone through with the cancer that enabled him to have a strength that could make him not just a good golfer but a great golfer.”

For nine months Sally Lyle’s daily message gave her son a reason to remain resolute, but it was the 17-year-old’s desire to continue down a suddenly clear path, an avenue that would ultimately lead him to the game’s grandest stage, that made each day worth fighting.

His love of the game came out of that and every chance he got he was out here at the golf course playing and practicing and doing those sorts of things,” John Lyle recalled.

He wanted to win each day not for the sake of the victory, but for the chance to fulfill his dream of playing on Tour. It was a distinction and a direction that would ultimately define all the moments to come.

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Sergio starts season with 66 in Singapore

By Associated PressJanuary 18, 2018, 12:56 pm

SINGAPORE – Sergio Garcia opened his season with a 5-under 66 and a share of the clubhouse lead on Thursday in the first round of the weather-interrupted Singapore Open.

Playing his first tournament of the year, the Masters champion rebounded after making an early bogey to collect four birdies and an eagle at the Sentosa Golf Club.

He was later joined by American qualifier Kurt Kitayama in the clubhouse lead. Still on the course, Tirawat Kaewsiribandit was at 6 under through 16 holes when play was suspended for the day because of the threat of lightning.

Louis Oosthuizen, the 2010 Open champion, was at 5 under through 16 holes when he also had to stop his round because of the weather.

Of the players who did finish their opening rounds, only three were within two strokes of Garcia and Kitayama. One of them was Casey O'Toole, who aced the par-3 second with a 7-iron.



The 38-year-old Garcia dropped his only shot of the day on the par-4 15th, his sixth hole after teeing off on the back nine, when he missed the fairway and was unable to make par. But he made amends when he birdied the par-3 17th and then eagled the par-5 18th to go out in 33.

''I was 1 over after (the) seventh but it didn't feel like I was playing badly,'' said Garcia, who made birdies on each of the two par 5s and one of the par 3s on the second nine. ''But then I hit two greats in a row for holes 17 and 18. I got a birdie-eagle there, so that settled me a little bit and I could play solid in the back nine and it was a great round.''

Garcia made the shortlist for the Laureus Sports Awards in the Breakthrough of the Year category after claiming his first major at Augusta National last year and is hoping for more success this season.

He credits the Singapore Open as having played a part in toughening him up for his Masters win because he opted to start his 2017 campaign in the stifling humidity of Southeast Asia to prepare himself for the bigger tournaments ahead.

Although he finished tied for 11th in Singapore, Garcia won the Dubai Desert Classic the next week and was in peak form when he won the Masters two months later.

Kitayama only secured his place in the $1 million event on Monday by finishing at the top of the qualifying competition, but he made a strong start with birdies on three of his first five holes. The 25-year-old Thai was 6 under through 13 holes but spoiled his otherwise flawless round with a bogey on his last.

''I started with a birdie and I just let it roll from there. I had some good tee shots, which I think, is the biggest thing for this course,'' Kitayama said. ''I'm a little tired, but I'm hanging in there. Whenever I have time off, I'll try not to think too much about golf.''

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13-year-old beats DJ in closest-to-the-pin contest

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 18, 2018, 12:26 pm

Dustin Johnson didn’t just get beat by Tommy Fleetwood and Rory McIlroy on Day 1 of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

Even a 13-year-old got the best of the world No. 1.

Oscar Murphy teed off on the 177-yard 15th hole as part of the tournament’s Beat the Pro challenge during the opening round. The Northern Irishman, one of the HSBC’s Future Falcons, carved a 3-wood toward a back-right pin, about 25 feet away, closer than both Johnson and Fleetwood.

“An unbelievable shot,” Fleetwood said afterward, “and me and Rory both said, ‘We don’t have that in our locker.’”



Johnson still made par on the hole, but he mixed four birdies with four bogeys Thursday for an even-par 72 that left him six shots back of Fleetwood and Hideto Tanihara after the opening round.

Johnson, who tied for second here a year ago, is coming off a dominant performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, where he won by eight shots to strengthen his lead atop the world rankings. 

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McIlroy 'really pleased' with opening 69 in Abu Dhabi

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 18, 2018, 12:10 pm

It was an auspicious 2018 debut for Rory McIlroy.

Playing alongside world No. 1 Dustin Johnson for his first round since October, McIlroy missed only one green and shot a bogey-free 69 at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. McIlroy is three shots back of reigning Race to Dubai champion Tommy Fleetwood, who played in the same group as McIlroy and Johnson, and Hideto Tanihara.

Starting on the back nine at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, McIlroy began with 11 consecutive pars before birdies on Nos. 3, 7 and 8.


Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


“I was excited to get going,” he told reporters afterward. “The last couple of months have been really nice in terms of being able to concentrate on things I needed to work on in my game and health-wise. I feel like I’m the most prepared for a season that I’ve ever been, but it was nice to get back out there.”

Fleetwood, the defending champion, raced out to another lead while McIlroy and Johnson, who shot 72, just tried to keep pace.

“Tommy played very well and I was just trying to hang onto his coattails for most of the round, so really pleased – bogey-free 69, I can’t really complain,” McIlroy said.

This was his first competitive round in more than three months, since a tie for 63rd at the Dunhill Links. He is outside the top 10 in the world ranking for the first time since 2014. 

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Hadwin returns to site of last year's 59

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 11:04 pm

Adam Hadwin had a career season last year, one that included shooting a 59 and winning a PGA Tour event. But those two achievements didn't occur in the same week.

While Hadwin's breakthrough victory came at the Valspar Championship in March, it was at the CareerBuilder Challenge in January when he first made headlines with a third-round 59 at La Quinta Country Club. Hadwin took a lead into the final round as a result, but he ultimately couldn't keep pace with Hudson Swafford.

He went on to earn a spot at the Tour Championship, and Hadwin made his first career Presidents Cup appearance in October. Now the Canadian returns to Palm Springs, eager to improve on last year's result and hoping to earn a spot in the final group for a third straight year after a T-6 finish in 2016.

"A lot of good memories here in the desert," Hadwin told reporters. "I feel very comfortable here, very at home. Lots of Canadians, so it's always fun to play well in front of those crowds and hopefully looking forward to another good week."

Hadwin's 59 last year was somewhat overshadowed, both by the fact that he didn't win the event and that it came just one week after Justin Thomas shot a 59 en route to victory at the Sony Open. But he's still among an exclusive club of just eight players to have broken 60 in competition on Tour and he's eager to get another crack at La Quinta on Saturday.

"If I'm in the same position on 18, I'm gunning for 58 this year," Hadwin said, "not playing safe for 59."