Look at the stars
Look how they shine for you
And everything you do
Yeah they were all yellow
Lyrics from the song “Yellow”, by Coldplay
The golfing world has taken the Jarrod Lyle story to their hearts in recent weeks, and it has been warming to see the outpouring of support for this now iconic Australian golfer, who lost his battle with cancer on August the 8th, at the young age of 36. What Jarrod has done in his short life is a true testament to his courage, but the legacy he has built will live on for generations; such is the way that the golfing world has embraced Jarrod’s journey.
In the first week of August, Jarrod’s wife Briony broke the heartbreaking news that Jarrod could no longer take the chemotherapy for his ongoing battle with Leukaemia, because his body was simply not strong enough. The decision was made to take Jarrod home, where he spent his last few days with Briony and his two beautiful daughters, Lusi and Jemma, in their home in Torquay, Victoria – a place that Jarrod loved.
Originally from Shepparton, Victoria, Jarrod was a gun junior who was diagnosed with Leukaemia when he just 17 years old. He won that first battle, and then joined the Commonwealth Golf Club (Melbourne) in 1998 and was down to scratch by the age of 19. Jarrod represented the club with distinction, playing Pennant for the Colts team in 1999 and the Men’s Team from 2001 to 2004. He won the prestigious Lake Macquarie Amateur in 2003, and defended the title in 2004. Also in 2004, Jarrod captained the Pennant Team to their first Division One flag in 21 years and was one of only two players to go through that season undefeated. Jarrod won the Junior Club Championship in 2000 and was Men’s Club Champion in 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2004. He then turned professional. In a career interrupted by illness, Jarrod won the Mexico Open and Knoxville Open in 2008 and held his US PGA Tour Card from 2007, notching five top 10s. He reached the biggest golf tour on Earth, despite his health battles, and continued to battle throughout. The US Tour awarded Jarrod their ‘Courage award’ in 2015 and the Golf Writers Association of America named Jarrod the organization’s Ben Hogan Award winner, presented to a person who continues to be active in golf despite a physical handicap or serious illness.
World famous for his Aussie sense of humour and kind nature, Jarrod, after beating cancer as a teenager had a sense that ‘a bad day on the golf course is better than any day in hospital’ and he carried that sentiment everywhere he went. His enthusiasm for life and helping other families who had sick kids with cancer is his true legacy. In fact, it wasn’t about Jarrod, for he always made it about someone else. As The Golf Show’s Paul Gow said; “He had this uncanny ability while fighting this ugly disease to turn the conversation back onto you and not him. He was an amazing, amazing human. He was always about other people rather than himself.”
The sheer volume of support that has rallied around Jarrod Lyle in the last few weeks is the biggest story in golf. Bigger than any of the major championship victories. World Number 2, American Justin Thomas dedicated his WGC Bridgestone victory (5th August) to Jarrod, while all the best players in the world wore the yellow ribbon on their hats to raise awareness for ‘Challenge’ during both the WGC tournament and the PGA Championship. Challenge is the charity close to Jarrod’s heart, and the support from America has been noted and admired by all of us here in Australia.
“We are just overwhelmed by the support that has come to Challenge in the last two weeks,” says Olivia Canning, from Challenge.org.au. “We simply cannot keep up. We are getting orders for Leuk The Duck merchandise from all over the world. Countries like Portugal, China, Japan, America and countries we didn’t even know existed. It is just incredible. We are only a small group here, but every day at the moment we have 10-12 volunteers packing up boxes to ship these orders around the world. Thanks to everyone in Australia for what they have done to help spread the news about Challenge and helping kids with cancer. R.I.P Jarrod, you were one of a kind.”
In the week of the 100th staging of the US PGA Championship, Bryson DeChambeau won the long driving contest and donated his $25,000 winnings to Jarrod’s family. Earlier in 2018 there was a US Tour-driven crowdfunding campaign, ‘January for Jarrod’ and more recently a gofundme campaign set up by Tripp Isenhour and another from his good friend Chris Tan; they have all aided Jarrod’s fund immensely. Melbourne-based SEN radio ran an auction fundraiser on August 6th that raised nearly $200,000 for Jarrod’s family…the outpouring of affection and love for Jarrod has been a story that will be hard to forget, just like the man himself. The ‘big fella’.
There is hardly a name in world golf that has not penned something on social media about this incredibly humble and lovable Australian. Perhaps the best of those was by his good friend Robert Allenby, who showed us all his real self with his heartfelt tribute on The Player’s Voice website. “All the emotions. I haven’t been myself for quite a while. But here’s what I do know: In life, you don’t have too many top-quality friends, ones you can trust, ones you can call upon. You can count them on one hand. Jarrod’s on that hand for me. There’s a bond and a trust that I will cherish forever. I love him like a brother and count myself fortunate that I have had him in my life for this long. He’s a top bloke and an inspiration to millions. He is loved and admired all around the world. I hope he is pain-free and at peace. He is, and will always be, my hero.”
At Inside Golf we posted on our Facebook page to ‘wear yellow for Jarrod’. The results speak for themselves, with a sea of yellow gracing the fairways across Australia at clubs including Byron Bay Golf Club, Ocean Shores Country Club, Keperra Golf Club, Maroochy River Golf Club, Wantima Country Club, Redcliffe Golf Club, Port Macquarie Golf Club, Mount Coolum Golf Club, Darwin Golf Club, Carbrook Golf Club, Coffs Harbour Golf Club, Windaroo Lakes Golf Club, Bonnie Doon Golf Club, Yarrawonga Golf Club, Emerald Lakes Golf Club, Harbour Town Golf City, Sandy Gallop Golf Club, Oxley Golf Club, Wynnum Golf Club, RACV Royal Pines, Pelican Waters Golf Club, Gailes Golf Club, First Swing Golf,Canberra Pitch & Putt, Boomerang Farm, Noosa Springs and others.
Perhaps 2019 will see a dedicated Jarrod Lyle ‘yellow day’ across Australia, or even the world.
It is hard to gauge the effect that this Aussie battler from Shepparton has had on the golfing world and what his legacy will truly be, but if you read what American superstar Rickie Fowler says, you get the sense there will be something that is ongoing and that is truly a wonderful thing for Jarrod’s family and golf in general. “Jarrod…thank you for letting me be a part of your life… thank you for showing us how to go about life and how to treat others… you will be greatly missed but not forgotten… I will do my part in making sure of that…I am a better person because of you. THANK YOU and I LOVE YOU MATE.”
Vale Jarrod Lyle: 21 August 1981 – 8 August 2018
For more information about donating to the various funds mentioned above, visit: