As expected, the tears flowed down Jarrod Lyle’s face as he walked up to the first tee at Royal Melbourne to hit his opening drive at the Australian Masters. It didn’t matter where the ball went — just the fact that Lyle was present and able to play professional golf again — for the first time in 20 months — have been incredible feats in itself.
Twenty months ago, Lyle was diagnosed with myeloid leukemia for the second time in his life. He first contracted the disease when he was 17 and beat it, but I remember not so long ago when the prognosis wasn’t looking too positive this time around. However, if anyone could could beat the odds, though, it was Lyle.
Lyle, who fought back tears on the first tee, hit his opening drive, and then couldn’t hold it in any longer as he sobbed while playing partner Geoff Ogilvy teed off. (I mean, I’m tearing up just writing this post.)
The 32-year-old Lyle parred the first hole easily and then seemed much more relaxed on the second hole as he chatted with Ogilvy, according to the Australian.
Lyle shot a respectable one-over 72, putting him in a tie for 38th place after the first round.
He was touched by the scene on the first tee, which was something he wasn’t expecting, according to the Herald Sun:
“It was nice to get out there and see everybody that I love standing around the tee. And even people that I’ve never met before, the crowd on the first tee was something I wasn’t expecting,” Lyle said after shooting a one-over 72.
“To hear Luci call out Daddy and I turned around and thought I’ve got to find her to give her a cuddle. That was it, that was the end of me, I was an absolute mess.
“I hit that first tee shot with tears all through my eyes. Normally I would’ve backed off, but I said no, I wanted to get it over as quickly as possible.
“I tried to keep the emotions in check, but I also wanted to let them out a little bit as well. I didn’t want to keep them in the whole day. A few tears walking off the first tee after we all hit was enough to let it all go and go and play golf.”
Lyle’s goal is to make the cut and another one-over 72 will probably do the trick. I’m pretty there’s noting more we’d like to see and he has the support of every single person in the golf industry (unless you’re just a terrible person).
Lyle has a medical exemption to return to play on the PGA Tour when he’s ready:
“Twelve months ago at this exact tournament, I was saying I didn’t know whether I would ever play golf again. To stand up on the first tee and hit that first shot and see what has happened over the last 20 months with my life and my wife’s life and my daughter’s life, everything was there and it was, I guess, just a happy place I was in at the time. Just glad to get that first one away,” he said.
“I’m limiting myself to see what happens come Sunday afternoon and then I’ll reflect for a moment and enjoy being able to play golf again and then sit down and really think about what needs work, what need attention, what do I need to do to get myself back to being PGA tour ready.”
Speaking of the Tour, they put together a nice tribute video for Lyle’s return:
Here’s another video via Golf Channel: