Date: April 01, 2016
Author: Mark Hayes

Demoralised Lyle returns home

A “demoralised” Jarrod Lyle has put his US PGA Tour comeback on hold as he comes home desperate to find form – and for his second shot at fatherhood.

Lyle, 34, will return to Torquay this week after firing the equal worst round of his professional career in last week’s Puerto Rico Open – a far cry from his original intentions as he battles to keep his card while using a medical exemption.

“(That 79 and missed cut) was definitely not part of the masterplan,” Lyle wrote on his website today.

“I went into that event with lots of confidence and felt that I’d done plenty of positive preparation in the weeks prior.

“So to say I was disappointed with the outcome is an understatement. I was completely shattered. I just could not get my head around how badly I had played when the time has definitely come for me to be pulling out some great golf.”

Having played 17 events on his exemption after a second life-threatening fight with leukaemia, Lyle now has just three tournaments left to make enough money to keep his card.

But with just one cut made from seven tournaments this US PGA Tour season, the affable Victorian knows the task ahead is daunting.

“It’s no secret that I have barely made any money at all. It is incredibly frustrating and demoralising to feel as though my career is slipping away,” lamented Lyle who said a lack of continuity had hurt his consistency.

“I just can’t quite get any momentum happening, nor can I tweak my performance from week to week under tournament conditions to try and bring the best out of my game.

“This was always going to be the biggest battle after my return to the Tour – how to stay on top of my game when I was facing lengthy breaks in between events.

“I have continued to request sponsors’ exemptions to every event that I’m not able to play, in the hope that it might help me string several weeks together in a row. But I know that I’m not a ‘big name’ in the world of professional golf, and I don’t draw the crowds in, so I’m never surprised to hear that my request has not been accepted.”

The upside of Lyle’s earlier than expected return to Australia is he can share the final weeks of wife Briony’s pregnancy with their second child.

“I refuse to miss out on that experience,” Lyle said.

“Right now my family needs me more than ever, and I need to be with them, too. If there’s one thing I have learnt through my various life experiences these past few years, it’s that some things are more important than golf/work/career/money.

“And right now, being on hand to help out during the last few weeks of pregnancy, and knowing that I won’t be missing the birth of our child, is my priority.

“My experiences of parenthood in the early days were clouded by illness when Lusi was born. I was in hospital soon after her birth, so I have no idea what those first few weeks of life with a newborn are actually about.

“This time, however, I plan to be front and centre and very hands-on with all of it. If only the doctors could excuse me from the dirty nappies again,” he joked.

Lyle said being home would help formulate his plan for his final tournaments under exemption.

“I will still be working hard and practising as much as I can while I’m home. I still love the game … and it’s still the only thing I really want to do,” he said.

“I’m really not sure what life looks like without golf, and I’m not ready to find out.

“There is a very good possibility that those events may all be in a row, some time in July, so that will really help me to focus and give me a very specific goal to achieve.”