Jarrod Lyle is zeroing in on his comeback to the US PGA Tour and he play his first tournament on his road back at the Midwest Classic in Kansas on July 24.DAMEN FRANCIS July 10, 2014 3:05am
Two-time cancer survivor Jarrod Lyle is closing in on a highly-anticipated US PGA Tour return.
Lyle, 32, last played on the tour in March, 2012, when he was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia for the second time.
Just as he did when he was 17, Lyle beat the disease and made an emotional comeback to tournament golf at last year’s Australian Masters.
Lyle was unable to predict how he would cope with the increased attention and emotional and physical toll of returning to the US tournament circuit, but was prepared to give it his best shot.
‘‘It is going to be very emotional for me getting back there and seeing all these guys that have supported me and let me know that they’re thinking about me for the last two years and wishing I could come back and play golf,’’ Lyle said.
‘‘It’s going to be difficult to put that all aside and go out there and play golf, but it’s something that I’m going to have to make a pretty tough choice and go, ‘well, sorry, boys, I can’t catch up today, I’ve got to go and practice’.
‘‘I’m sure they’ll be the first people to say ‘go for it, mate, you need to practice, go out there and do it’.’’
Lyle received a medical exemption from the US PGA following his cancer diagnosis, but has a maximum of 20 events to make at least $US28
The Shepparton-raised golfer carefully selected the remaining three warm-up events he’s permitted under his exemption, starting with the Midwest Classic in Kansas on July 24, before he tackles the main tour.
‘‘The hardest thing through this whole ordeal is I haven’t been able to play golf tournaments because of how it would affect my medical exemption over here in America,’’ Lyle said.
‘‘I always said that I wanted to leave some events up my sleeve to come and play when I got back to the States, and we’ve targeted these three events purely because they’re close together.
‘‘Knoxville was a tournament that I’d won at before; Springfield you need to shoot about 24-under to win, so it’s going to be a good test to see. It’s almost like a shootout, so you can be a little bit more aggressive and see where your golf game is at a little bit more.’’
Lyle’s first confirmed start on the US PGA Tour is the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in Las Vegas, Nevada starting October 16, but he is also hoping for a sponsor’s invite to the Frys.com Open in Nappa, California the week before.
A slight cough aside, Lyle boasts a clean bill of health and thanked his family, friends and legion of fans for their ongoing support.
‘‘It’s been absolutely incredible, moving to Torquay and having the support of the fans, the golf club down there and the people of Geelong, the people of Melbourne, the people of Shepparton, everybody has been so supportive to not only myself but Bri and Lusi, as well,’’ he said.
‘‘I can’t say thank you to everybody personally, but for them to be able to sit there and watch me play golf and just to let them know that they’ve had a part in some way, shape or form of me getting back out there, and whether it’s been a text message or an email or a phone call or a message via a friend’s friend or something like that, it’s meant the world to me to know so many people care about what’s happening.
‘‘The only way I can say thank you is me getting out there and playing golf.’’
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