Jarrod Lyle, Australian Golfer, Dies at 36


Jarrod Lyle, an Australian professional golfer who had five top-10 finishes on the P.G.A. Tour only to have his playing career interrupted by recurring bouts of cancer, died on Wednesday, a year after his latest relapse. He was 36.

His death was confirmed by his wife, Briony Lyle, in a statement issued by Golf Australia, the sport’s governing body in the country. It comes just over a week after she announced in a post on Lyle’s Facebook page that he was entering palliative care.

Lyle turned professional in 2004 and first appeared on the P.G.A. Tour in 2007. In 2008, he won two events on the Web.com Tour, a feeder for the P.G.A. Tour. In all, he played in more than 120 P.G.A. tournaments.

Lyle, who was first treated for cancer as a teenager, became a popular figure in the golfing community, recognized for his persistence in returning to play after facing health challenges. In 2015, he was the second player to receive the P.G.A. Tour’s Courage Award, which is given to golfers who play despite physical disabilities or serious illnesses. (It was first awarded two years earlier to Erik Compton, who has had two heart transplants.)

“Jarrod was a true inspiration in the way he faced cancer with a persistently positive attitude and he carried himself with incredible grace, dignity and courage through the recurrences of this relentless disease,” Jay Monahan, the commissioner of the P.G.A. Tour, said in a statement. “Despite facing such adversity, Jarrod maintained his passion for golf and continued to pursue his professional career and we were fortunate to have him on the P.G.A. Tour and Web.com Tour.”

Lyle was born on Aug. 21, 1981, in Shepparton, Australia, about two hours north of Melbourne. Though he started caddying for his father at age 7, he called himself a late bloomer compared with other professional golfers.

When he was 17, he learned he had acute myeloid leukemia. The cancer returned in 2012, when he was 30.

“He just got his whole life where he wants,” Robert Allenby, an Australian professional golfer who had known Lyle since he was a teenager, said after the diagnosis in 2012, according to The Associated Press. “He’s married. He has a new baby coming. He’s playing great golf. And now this.”

Lyle returned to competition in late 2013 and tried to resume a full schedule the next year. But after 10 starts, and three made cuts, he returned to Australia, citing mental, physical and emotional exhaustion. Lyle resurfaced in 2015 when he qualified to play in the Frys.com Open. He played in about 20 tournaments in 2015 and 2016.

His third leukemia diagnosis came last summer. His wife had documented his treatment in recent months, including his pride at taking his first steps in a hospital hallway after weeks without walking, the smile on his face after a visit from his daughter, and a carefully arranged visit outside. She also noted the complications that arose as his condition declined.

“He has given everything that he’s got to give,” she wrote on July 31, announcing Lyle’s decision to end active treatment, “and his poor body cannot take any more.”

The golf community had been monitoring his condition and offering support. Last week, at the World Golf Championships in Akron, Ohio, players wore yellow ribbons on their caps and visors in Lyle’s honor.

“I could tell from the start that this third cancer battle was going to be tough,” Allenby wrote in a tribute published last week on Players Voice, an Australian sports website. “There was a confidence in him the first two times, an I’m going to beat this’ attitude. 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.’”

Lyle’s survivors include his wife and his two daughters, Lusi, 6, and Jemma, 2. In her statement, his wife said that he had spent his final days in Torquay, the seaside town near Melbourne where he had lived.

She added that Lyle had asked her to pass along a message. “My time was short,” he said, “but if I’ve helped people think and act on behalf of those families who suffer through cancer, hopefully it wasn’t wasted.”

Original Article


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