Date: November 18, 2014
Author: Mark Hayes /

Go time for matter-of-fact Lyle

someone so liberal with the English language, Jarrod Lyle was strangely blunt.

“Yes,” came the reply to a question that has clearly inspired him for more than a decade and through two well-documented brushes with his mortality.

And after another round of questions about his comeback from leukaemia, it was a simple, “Can you win this Australian Masters?” that elicited the most noteworthy response.

Especially in his eyes.

Lyle paused. As he rarely does with microphone in hand.

“Everything I've been doing in preparation for this week and the PGA weeks (in the USA) and things like that, I've I'd like to think that I've got a very good chance of winning.”

And that was it.

No customary giggle. No throwaway lines.

Just a matter-of-fact resolve for a cause dear to his heart.

Lyle, 33, returned at this tournament last year with tears in his eyes and having had the gut-wrenching story of his personal life splashed about the country for months.

It’s not that he was upset about that – quite the opposite, in fact – but more that he wants to let his golf do the talking for a while now.

“If I ever won (another) golf tournament, I would want it to be in Australia,” he said.

“I've won twice on the Tour, but to be able to do it in front of your home crowd, in front of your family and your friends, would mean the absolute world.

“It's something that from the day I turned pro, is something I've always wanted to achieve is to win an Australian golf tournament.

“I'm still trying and I'll be trying this week and I'll be trying next week and the week after and the years to come.

“It will mean the world and I think everything that's happened to me over the last couple of years, it will be even sweeter.

“Obviously last year was a pretty emotional time for me to be back out playing golf. I can promise that there's going to be no tears on the first tee this year.

“It was a special thing and I was very fortunate last year to get that opportunity to come back and play.”

After an intense summer of rehab, Lyle played the Victorian Open at 13th Beach, then ventured midyear to the US where he played four times on the Web.Com Tour and twice on the US PGA Tour as he strives to find match hardening and whether or not he had the drive to push on into the full-time grind from next year onwards.

“It was a very successful trip and definitely answered a lot of questions on whether my golf game was going to be good enough,” he said.

“Last year to, make the cut, it felt like a victory for me but now I feel like I'm back to where I need to be to be competitive.  So you know, I want to be there every Sunday afternoon, every golf tournament and I'm trying to do everything I can to make that possible.

“I'm here to compete. “

I'm never going to lose that (cancer survivor’s) tag, but I now am a golfer again.  I want to be out playing golf.

“I want to be competitive. I want to win golf tournaments.”

Lyle insisted his ball-striking was finally “where it needs be to”.

“I'm hitting it as good as I've ever hit it.  Everything seems to be pointing the right direction.”

And that road is firmly in the US for the foreseeable future for he, wife Briony and daughter Lusi.

“Yeah, for how long, I don't know and obviously things will change with Lusi going to school.

“But it's something that at the moment, that's really what I want to do, and I've been lucky to have a very supportive wife who has kicked me in the arse when I've needed it to make me get back out there and do it.

“We're enjoying the life at the moment, and hopefully I can play some good golf and get some rewards for it.”

Game on.