He wasn’t a top-flight golfer on the PGA Tour. His only two professional wins came while he was playing on the Nationwide Tour in 2008. What Jarrod Lyle was, however, one of the most respected golfers in the world for his unmatched character and will to overcome anything.
Australian golfer Jarrod Lyle died Wednesday night after going into palliative care and ending treatments for his third battle with cancer. He was 36.
Lyle is survived by his wife Briony, and his two daughters, Lusi and Jemma.
“Lusi, Jemma and I are filled with grief and now must confront our lives without the greatest husband and father we could ever have wished for,” Briony Lyle said.
Golf is game that challenges yourself mentally at every turn. You’ll be hard-pressed to find anyone who was more headstrong than Jarrod Lyle.
The first diagnosis of acute myeloid leukemia came in 1999. Only 17-years-old at the time, Lyle overcame his diagnosis after nearly two years of treatments and recovery. He went on to win a Victorian Institute of Sport golf scholarship before turning pro in 2004.
Lyle’s performance on the Asian Tour and Web.com Tour earned him his tour card to compete on the PGA Tour for the first time during the 2007 season.
His child-like enjoyment for the game, evidenced by this hole-in-one, earned Lyle a reputation as one of golf’s most well-liked personas.
He actively played on the Nationwide Tour and PGA Tour until 2012, when Lyle was diagnosed for the second time with leukemia. Another round of treatments couldn’t stop the Australian, and he was back playing professional golf in 2013.
Incredibly, Lyle earned his way back onto the PGA Tour once again, entering 20 more PGA Tour events between 2015 and 2016.
His tenacity to return to the top level of golf in the world, beating cancer twice, and playing with a child-like appreciation for the game elevated Lyle to become one of the PGA Tour’s favorite sons.
Close friend and pro golfer Robert Allenby wrote an article in the Players Voice about hearing his friend’s cancer had returned for a third time.
“I could tell from the start that this third cancer battle was going to be tough. There was a confidence in him the first two times, an ‘I’m going to beat this’attitude,” Allenby wrote. “It was different this time. We were at the Australian Open in November and he said to me, ‘I’m really scared. I don’t think this is going to be a great outcome.’”
The impact that Jarrod Lyle had is tough to estimate. For Allenby, putting into words what Lyle brings his life full circle.
“In life, you don’t have too many top quality friends – ones you can trust, ones you can call upon. You can count them on one hand.
“Jarrod’s on that hand for me. There’s a bond and a trust that I will cherish forever.
“I love him like a brother and count myself fortunate that I have had him in my life for this long.
“He’s a top bloke and an inspiration to millions. He is loved and admired all around the world.
“I hope he is pain-free and at peace. He is, and will always be, my hero.”
Following the news of Lyle’s death, the greatest members of the PGA Tour took to social media in an incredible emotional outpouring of support for their fellow professional.
A GoFundMe page started by Tripp Isenhour, public displays of the yellow ribbons worn by golfers during the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, as well as at this weekend’s PGA Championship, and outpouring of support validate the impact of Lyle’s life on the golf community.
There will be a public memorial service for Jarrod Lyle at The Sands in Torquay at a date to be annouced later.