19 Nov 2012
Victorian Jarrod Lyle is continuing his recovery.
Wasn’t it great to see Adam Scott take down Ian Poulter to win the Australian Masters. World-class players going shot for shot on world-class courses is always a treat but my favourite moment of the week happened on Tuesday, just before lunch.
Leukaemia sufferer Jarrod Lyle sat in front of about 40 people, made up mainly of family, friends and the media and poured his heart out. There wasn’t a dry eye in the place. In my 20 years of covering sport, I’ve never seen anything like it - it was courageous to say the least.
It was the first time he’d faced the media since doctors discovered Acute Myeloid Leukaemia had returned for the second time. It wasn’t to tell us he’s out of the woods, he’s far from it, more to explain the living hell his life had become since early March.
For those not up to speed with Jarrod’s plight, he’s lived through an 8-month nightmare, which included countless sessions of chemotherapy, a Double Cord Transplant and more days in hospital than most of us will endure in our lifetime.
But that was the easy part…
This all took place just as he and new wife Briony welcomed their first child Lusi into the world. Fathom this - he was fighting for his life, just as they had created another. He would get one moment to hold his new child before undergoing six weeks of hell. It was a cruel twist of fate.
“I got to spend a whole 12 hours with Bri and Lusi.” Lyle recalled. “When she popped out, I just lay on the bed next to her. I just stared at her all night, I didn’t sleep. I just wanted to spend that time with her.”
“It’s probably the hardest moment of my life. Going through the chemo and the transplant was nothing compared to knowing I only had 12 more hours with my brand new daughter.”
“Obviously, there was a lot of unknown for me, whether I’d be able to see her again. I was just… I wanted to make those very few hours with her special.”
“My parents and Bri’s parents were there, Bri’s family, and not one of them got to hold her. I wasn’t letting her go.”
However, his baby girl has become his reason to live, his inspiration to fight the deadly disease, which exists in his body. Simply put, Lusi Lyle is helping to save her daddy’s life.
“Without a doubt.” he said. “Every day I wake up and whether it’s me or Bri getting her out of her cot, that smile, watching her laugh and kick around on the floor, grab onto your finger, all that stuff, it’s what dreams are made of.”
“It’s what keeps me going.”
Ask anyone who knows Jarrod Lyle and they’ll tell you he has a huge heart.
I lived in his Orlando home when I was in the States this year and I was surprised by the stray cats that lived in his community. Most of us would try to get rid of them, not Jarrod, his neighbours told me he kept them alive by providing food and water… now they’ve made their home in his front garden.
It’s also why almost every single player, caddy and person associated with the PGA Tour has reached out and offered their support. They miss the big, jovial guy who always had a kind word to say or simply smiled and said “hi” when crossing paths on the course.
And while golf fans want to know when Lyle will be back playing on the PGA Tour, he confirmed it won’t be until at least 2014 but don’t hold your breath, it may never happen at all. But he’s come to terms with that.
Instead, his focus remains on getting better and being around to be a husband and a father. If that’s the pinnacle of his life going forward… it’ll be the greatest victory he’ll ever have.
Luke Elvy has spent time in the United States covering the PGA Tour. He will host the Australian PGA Championship coverage for ONE HD in December and writes exclusively for Golf Australia. His views do not necessarily represent those of Golf Australia. Follow him on Twitter - @elvisgolf