Victoria’s Jarrod Lyle is looking forward to stepping up his game after a setback in his bid to earn his full PGA Tour card.
Lyle missed the cut on his return to the circuit at the Humana Challenge in La Quinta, just outside Palm Springs in California, as part of his attempt to regain full playing status on the tour.
He has already banked $58,000 from his first two tournaments late last year but now needs almost $250,000 in prizemoney from his following 17 starts to secure complete playing rights.
Lyle also is fighting minor health problems. The leukaemia survivor had an adverse reaction to a scheduled inoculation but says he will fight through the issue to continue playing.
"I’ve been crook as a dog these last few weeks but I am looking forward to getting out there ……for the start of what is hopefully a big year as I have one last big crack at the Tour," Lyle said.
"I’ve been given this chance and I want to give it everything I’ve got. I had some inoculations as part of my treatment and the two live viruses got me so I’ve been struggling a bit but, with everything I’ve been through, I’d have to lose one arm and one leg to pull out of a golf tournament."
A trimmed practice session had been put in place for the California event but the Australian was unable to force his way through to the final groupings.
"I just have to make sure it is really good practice and work out the best ways to have enough energy to be there competitively on Sundays," he said.
"I have to be ruthless on myself, practise and play at the right times, and pick my events carefully.
"My game feels like it is all there and falling back into place. The two events last year were huge for me and making the cuts showed me the game is still there and it is burning inside me to keep going.
"Now it is about building on that and I’m excited for it."
Robert Allenby, the subject of a violent and confused incident in Hawaii recently after missing the cut at a tournament recently, withdrew from the Humana event, confirming he has undergone a CT scan in Florida to check for any further damage.
"On the advice of my personal doctor, I have decided to withdraw from this week’s Humana Challenge," Allenby told AAP.
"This will enable me to ensure I am fully recovered prior to rejoining the PGA Tour. I anticipate a full recovery and look forward to returning in the near future."
Meanwhile, Lyle has been named recipient of the Ben Hogan Award, given annually by the Golf Writers Association of America to a person who remains active in golf despite a physical handicap or serious illness.
The 33-year-old battled leukemia as a teenager, recovered to become a professional golfer and then won twice on the Web.com Tour and earned PGA Tour status. The cancer returned, however, and he was sidelined from February 2012 to July 2014.
Lyle will be presented with the Hogan Award during the 43rd annual ISPS Handa GWAA awards dinner April 8 in Augusta, Georgia.
“To be awarded the Ben Hogan Award is a huge honor,” said Lyle. "To be placed among some of the game’s greatest is something I will cherish forever.”
By: Robert Grant