Jarrod Lyle is 32 years old, but his body has been through more than just 32 years would imply.
Lyle was diagnosed with leukemia in 1999 as a 19-year old aspiring golfer. His leukemia recurred in 2012. He is now cancer free and focused on making his return to competitive golf in the United States with three Web.com Tour events, beginning with the Midwest Classic on July 24-27 at LionsGate in Overland Park.
After that, the Australian golfer will compete in the Price Cutter Charity Championship from Aug. 7-10 in Springfield and the News Sentinel Open from Aug. 14-17 in Knoxville, Tenn.
“Feeling great,” Lyle said in a conference call on Tuesday morning. “Health’s got no issues at the moment. The only issue is the golf game, whether it’s going to be good enough or not to play again. It’s going to be a big challenge to get back out there.”
If not for his wife, Briony, Lyle says he would be sitting on his couch at home in Australia. Instead, Lyle, Briony and their daughter, Lusi, have relocated to Orlando, Fla.
“She really pushed me a while ago to really get back out there and play golf again,” he said. “I’ve struggled to find that motivation to go out on the range and hit balls and practice.”
Lyle is currently under a PGA Tour medical exemption. When the 2014-15 PGA season begins in October, he will have 20 events to earn $283,825, which coupled with his 2012 earnings of $363,685, would equal No. 125 on the 2012 money list and allow Lyle to regain his PGA Tour playing privileges.
“It’s obviously very exciting to get back out there and play, but it’s also scary,” Lyle said. “Not being able to play golf tournaments since February of this year, there’s a lot of unknowns there on how my golf game is going to shape up.”
Lyle played in February as part of his medical exemption, where the PGA gives five warm-up events. In the past, he has competed in Springfield and won a championship in Knoxville in 2008. But it all starts in the Kansas City area, where he has never been.
He hopes that this return will be like any of his others in the past — cancer free.
“Things couldn’t have been any better and then all the sudden, you sort of get that all ripped away from you with the bad news that your leukemia has returned,” he said.
Lyle added: “I’ve been lucky to have that time to go away and work on everything and make sure that the things that we’re doing with my coach and fitness coach and all that is going to make me a better player and better person out of it all. Now that things are going really well, I want to get back there and play as much as I can.”
There is no way for Lyle to know whether his stamina will allow him to ascend to the levels he dreamed of before cancer.
“Only time’s going to tell that, mate,” Lyle said.