Date: August 07, 2018
Author: Mark Hayes

Comment: A great team effort

After a week of cold reality around Jarrod Lyle, Monday was heart-warming – or at least as much as it can be in the circumstances.

With help from the domestic golf community, Melbourne radio station SEN gave over much of its Monday broadcast to help raise funds for Lyle, who’s in palliative care and preparing to leave his wife and two children alone in a world that was once their collective oyster.

Astonishingly to me, stumps were drawn with more than $178,000 donated by people from around Australia, including a series of super impressive corporate contributions – and there were even more early on Tuesday, presumably as people caught up with podcasts and social media coverage.

I was on air with the social powerhouse that is Andy Maher and, as his afternoon show wound down, his producer took a call from Adam Gilchrist offering to help out because he’d been moved while listening.

This was after Shane Warne speaking on air and then offering his time for a prize that generated in excess of $10,000 alone. It came before Allan Border spoke glowingly and ended his interview by reiterating his availability to help Lyle’s cause if needed.

Full credit, therefore, to the cricket community – and others, such as footy which offered emotional words from Nathan Jones, Nick Dal Santo and Danny Frawley (complete with awesome donation) among others.

And then, naturally, there was golf.

The emotions and tributes flowed all week from Fiji where the Australian PGA players and officials who’ve been so important to Jarrod for years. Fiji Airways flew an emergency batch of Leuk the Duck pins to the locker room as every player rallied for their mate.

The same applied in Ohio where everyone, up to and including Tiger Woods, donned a yellow ribbon in support of their ailing colleague even during a WGC event.

Former US PGA Tour player turned TV analyst Tripp Isenhour, a long-time close mate of Lyle, was all the while rallying people to a go-fund-me page that became the epicentre of fundraising in the States.

A handful of elite PGA Tour players threw their considerable social media weight behind Isenhour’s campaign and conveyed brilliantly the sympathy from the locker room in Akron.

Naturally, his Australian mates on tour, including Adam Scott, Marc Leishman and Jason Day were stunned with the news and shared their stories and dismay, primarily through the work of US-based Aussie journo Ben Everill, another friend of Lyle who scurried about to play his part.

That work continued on Monday when Everill and his PGA Tour colleagues were the driving forces in linking SEN to Woods, Leishman, Robert Allenby, Greg Norman and Cameron Smith, not to mention tournament champion Justin Thomas delaying his celebrations to grab Everill’s phone and chat live about his thoughts on Lyle and his family.

In short, a great team effort.

Which, with my 9-5 hat back on again, really got me thinking …

How good was it to see athletes acting of their own accord to rally around a mate?

How amazing that golfers are accessible when the cause warrants their time?

What a powerful force the golf industry’s peak bodies are when the sport and/or a great cause over-rides day-to-day activities that are sadly – and all too often – driven by unhelpful player managers.

There’s too much else going on that’s way more important than starting a player manager rant at this poignant time in the Lyle story.

And if there’s one thing that Jarrod’s trials and tribulations should teach us all, it’s to keep a little perspective.

We – the SEN effort, the golf community and, most importantly, the Lyle lovers – were rapt to see such great support from the big names.

It helps the cause, it helps the sport’s public image, it helps shape golf’s appeal to key decision makers in the media world and is largely just the right thing to do.

Very little good is going to come out of Jarrod Lyle’s current plight.

But if we can remember the emotions and the positive vibes we all felt in helping a family in their hour of crisis, then surely we can work through far lesser issues when next they arise.

It’s the least we can do.