Cancer claims Australian golfer Jarrod Lyle at age 36

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 27: Jarrod Lyle of Australia walks the 11th fairway during day one of the 2014 Australian Open at The Australian Golf Course on November 27, 2014 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images) Getty Images

Cancer claims Australian golfer Jarrod Lyle at age 36

PGA Tour

Cancer claims Australian golfer Jarrod Lyle at age 36

Shortly after Jarrod Lyle was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia for the second time, in March 2012, Lyle’s peers on the PGA Tour donned pins on their hats at the Arnold Palmer Invitational featuring Leuk the Duck, the mascot for Challenge, an Australian organization that supports kids with cancer, including Lyle during his first battle with the disease at age 17.

When Tiger Woods put the finishing touches on his victory that Sunday at Bay Hill in Orlando, Fla., he raised his hat – and Leuk the Duck – into the air.

“Tiger doesn’t do that kind of stuff for anyone, so to see that was incredible,” Lyle told Golfweek back in July 2014. “Those guys did something insignificant to them, but it meant the world to me.”

Tiger Woods is shown wearing the “Leuk the Duck” pin in support of Jarrod Lyle, when he won the 2012 Arnold Palmer Invitational. Lyle says he was overwhelmed and appreciative of the support.

Of course, Lyle meant the world to all of them.

He still does, and will continue to, even after his death Tuesday evening in Torquay, Australia, at age 36 and after three hard-fought battles against the cruel disease that is cancer.

“It is with a heavy heart and a mountain of tears that I say a final goodbye to my friend Jarrod Lyle,” wrote Golf Channel’s Tripp Isenhour, who started a GoFundMe page for Lyle’s family that has raised more than $100,000. “For 20 years he fought this disease like no one could. Thank you for touching us all in so many wonderful ways! RIP to a champion of a human.”

Tweeted fellow Australian golfer Greg Chalmers: “It is through a river of tears I say goodbye to my friend Jarrod Lyle. A wonderful father, friend and golfer. Quick with a joke, didn’t mind a beer, and just a pure joy to be around every day.”

Said another Aussie pro, Marc Leishman: “With a young family myself I can’t imagine what Jarrod and the Lyle family are feeling now. It’s hard enough saying bye for a few weeks let alone goodbye forever. Hope you find peace, and know you’ll be remembered as the bloke who brought life into every room you entered.”

And Ernie Els: “Life is very precious and you have been so strong. We are thinking and praying for you and your family now more than ever.”

Jarrod Lyle of Australia walks the course with wife Briony and daughter Lusi during previews ahead of the 2013 Australian Masters at Royal Melbourne. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

Lyle leaves behind his wife of seven years, Briony, and their two daughters, Lusi, 6, and Jemma, 2. The three, along with other close family and friends were by Lyle’s side when he died at their home at 8:20 p.m. local time.

“It breaks my heart to tell everyone that Jarrod is no longer with us,” Bri Lyle wrote. “… 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.

“At the same time, we have been blessed and overwhelmed with the messages and actions of support from around the world and feel comforted that Jarrod was able to happily impact so many people throughout his life. Our humble thanks to you all.”

Like they did at Bay Hill back in 2012, Lyle’s fellow Tour players showed their support at last week’s WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, wearing yellow ribbons on their hats after it was announced that Lyle had stopped his treatments, which had taken a toll on his body, and begun palliative care.

Bri Lyle said Wednesday that her husband was able to see all of the support in his final days and “was overwhelmed by the emotional outpouring.” He also asked his wife to provide a message to everyone.

“Thanks for your support, it meant the world,” the message said. “My time was short, but if I’ve helped people think and act on behalf of those families who suffer through cancer, hopefully it wasn’t wasted.”

Lyle turned professional in 2004 and won twice on the Web.com Tour. He made 121 career starts on the PGA Tour, notching five top-10 finishes. After beating cancer for the second time, Lyle returned to pro golf, competing in 42 more tournaments, including 20 Tour events.

Jarrod Lyle of Australia gestures during a press conference during previews ahead of the 2012 Australian Masters at Kingston Heath. (Scott Barbour/Getty Images)

His last tournament was the Western Australia PGA Championship in May 2017, where he tied for 45th.

Lyle’s leukemia returned for a third time last year. He underwent a haploidentical transplant and stem cell therapy last December. However, in June, the Lyles announced that Jarrod had lost his vision, and that doctors were puzzled as to why.

“I realize no matter how bad it gets there is always that light at the end of the tunnel, and I’m looking for that light, and while I just can’t see it at the moment I know it is there,” Lyle said last year. “And I know I have to keep fighting to get there.”

Lyle put up a courageous fight and along the way inspired many with his infectious humor and positivity. He was mischievous and quick witted, often playing pranks on his golf buddies, but also kindhearted and generous.

In 2015, he made two aces in a charity golf match for children with cancer. A year later, he made a hole-in-one at the Australian PGA. The video clip is enough to give anyone chills and shows just how happy Lyle was.

“I feel like I am the luckiest golfer going around because so many people took an interest in me and took an interest in my fight,” Lyle recently told Golf Australia’s podcast, “Inside the Ropes.”

“To have that kind of support to go to every tournament is a great feeling and it is going to be hard to leave that behind. But they know that I love them, they know that all the fighting I did do was to get back out and play golf again and to have the support from all those people was just a tremendous feeling.

“It is going to be hard but at some point, it is going to happen and they will get on with their lives and I just feel very, very lucky.”

Lyle might have felt like the luckiest guy in golf. But those who knew him might feel luckier.

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