As part of his road back to the US PGA TOUR, Victorian Jarrod Lyle will play the upcoming Oates Victorian Open on the PGA Tour of Australasia from February 20-23 at Thirteenth Beach Golf Links. The event will be Lyle s second Tour event back after being away from the game for almost two years due to a battle with Leukemia. Lyle was one of the stories of the year in 2013 as he returned to play his first comeback tournament at the Talisker Masters at Royal Melbourne in November. Having exceeded his own expectations at Royal Melbourne by making the cut and finishing tied for 57th with rounds of (72, 71, 70 & 79), the Oates Vic Open will be just the second time he will endeavour to compete over four days since his return. I exceeded all my expectations at the Masters. I went there not really with the best golf game and thinking I might not play the weekend but to be able to play the four days was a huge step forward. Now looking at the Vic Open, my expectations are a little bit higher. I m going to go there and give it everything I ve got to try to win the thing but all I need to see is a bit of improvement from how I was at the Masters to how I am now. I want to know that all the work I m doing in the gym is paying off, said Lyle. It’s going to be a bit of a feel tournament for me to see where everything is situated but also at the same time I want to compete and there d be nothing better than to bring the trophy back here. If that doesn’t happen I just want to give it everything and see where everything s at, and hopefully be there Sunday afternoon which would be a dream. With a lack of tournaments under his belt for the past few years, Lyle is relishing the competitiveness of being back on the golf course. Seeing all your mates out there again is great but the competitive side of it is what I miss the most. Getting out there and trying to shoot as low a score I can every day. I ve gone low a couple of times but then there s those days when things don t go right and you get frustrated but that s what golf’s all about, getting yourself back from three or four over to even par which I ve done too many times in pro-ams lately. It’s the competitive side of things that I ve missed the most. Born and raised in Shepparton, Lyle s passion for the game grew from his time as a kid following his Dad around playing local courses and caddying. My Dad was a golfer, growing up I used to go out on a Saturday and caddy for Dad. I would caddy the first seven holes at Shepparton then my Grandma used to sit under a tree behind the 8th tee and sell beer and chocolate to all the guys. I would sit with her until Dad came back around on the 15th which ran alongside it, then I d pick up with Dad again and caddy the last three and a half holes with him so that s how it all originated. Now a resident in Torquay with his wife Briony and daughter Lusi, Lyle will enjoy sleeping in his own bed throughout the tournament and loves his new home. I love it in Torquay. Challenge (Cancer charity) has a house on the esplanade down here and through my treatment they said if you re well enough to leave the hospital, go down and stay at the house for a weekend. As you do when you go to a new place you might have a bit of a look at the real estate in the newspaper to see what s around and how much it d cost to live here. We came back the following week and looked at a house that we really loved and we bought it the following week and that s the reason we stayed in Torquay. It’s just one of those places, we didn t know anybody there and we decided we wanted to start fresh and enjoyed the three days we had here so decided it was the time to do it. Close to Lyle s heart and prevalent within the golf community, Challenge will be the official Oates Vic Open charity partner for the 2014 event. Challenge is a charity that supports kids with cancer with Lyle a proud ambassador having been impacted by the organisation throughout his life. It’s always nice to have the backing of golf tournaments that have been pretty close to me over the years. Obviously being a Victorian golfer and Victorian amateur growing up, and utilising the former VGA for different things and representing Victoria at State level, it s nice to have the support for my charity. It’s just nice to know that those people behind the scenes care enough and are willing to get on board and help Challenge out. Lyle has played many Oates Vic Opens previously as both an amateur and Professional with the last one being at Spring Valley in 2010 as a male only event. Lyle says he is looking forward to experiencing the combined gender format at Thirteenth Beach. I think the concept is fantastic. There s not too many facilities around that could handle such a tournament and to have the men and women at the same time is great. Judging on the crowds from last year, I think a lot of people enjoyed it where they can come and watch the men and women together. I ve probably played three times on the Creek Course and two on the Beach Course. I was at the Vic Open last year following my brother [Leighton] around and the Beach Course is pretty cool. It’s a good links style course where you ve got to position your ball well off the tee with the greens and surrounds being difficult. You ve got to be prepared for a bit of a breeze and bring your a-game. While Jarrod is intending to make a return to the US later this year, it s a requirement of his current PGA TOUR medical exemption that he only plays a maximum of five 72-hole professional events on other Tours before returning to the world s most lucrative circuit.
Author: Golf Victoria