By Ray Sizer
It is with a sad heart and tears in my eyes that I write this after hearing the news of the passing of my friend and hero Jarrod Lyle.
It is not often that you look up to someone that is much younger than yourself, but the fight that Jarrod put in on and off the golf course was an inspiration.
Jarrod was always a great golfer, but he was always a better bloke. He was the big Aussie larrikin with the yellow hat who never tried to be anyone else. This is why people loved him so much. He could talk to a US president or a child who idolised him on the golf course and he would treat them the same.
Through his battles with leukaemia and his fight to get back to the top level of golf, he inspired thousands of people across the world. Over the years I have read messages from so many people who were dealing with the same thing and told Jarrod he was an inspiration in their own battle. There were also many messages of support from people he’d had a brief encounter with while passing and who just wanted to say thank you and God bless.
There were so many people who would never normally watch golf, but would watch Jarrod. My mum, who died recently, was one of them. She was always interested in how he was doing and where he was. When cleaning out her room we found a large folder with clippings of stories and photos of Jarrod.
I was lucky enough to follow Jarrod across the world to many tournaments. The one that stands out was Jarrod’s comeback to the US PGA Tour after beating leukaemia for the second time in 2014. The tournament director would not give Jarrod an invite so he had to go to Monday qualifying. He not only qualified for a spot in the tournament, but made the cut and went on to finish 31st. This showed his true fighting spirit.
I was lucky enough to be able to say my goodbyes to Jarrod last week with a group of close friends. We laughed and cried together telling stories of the past. We said goodbye and walked out singing the Melbourne Football Club song that Jarrod cherished so much.
Love you mate.
Ray Sizer is The News’ pictorial manager and a close friend of Jarrod Lyle.
NEVER FORGOT WHERE HE LEARNED TO PLAY
By Tyler Maher
Hearts will be heavy at the Shepparton Golf Club for a long time after the death of much-loved member Jarrod Lyle.
After reaching the heights of the professional golfing circuit during his career, Lyle always had time for the place where he first learned to swing a club.
Ian Bull, a committee member at the club and a long-time friend of Lyle’s, remembered his mate as a true man of the people who never forgot where he came from.
‘‘Jarrod and I have been friends for 25 years and I am lucky to have spent a lot of quality time with Jarrod during those 25 years,’’ Bull said.
‘‘He was certainly the most inspirational person I have met and developed a friendship with.
‘‘As a member of the Shepparton Golf Club, Jarrod was an inspirational man and an inspirational golfer.
‘‘He was universally loved by all the members and all the staff at the Shepparton Golf Club.
‘‘He very much put the Shepparton Golf Club on the map in many ways as a result of not only his exploits on golf courses around the world, but also in the way he conducted himself — he was a very proud Shepparton man.
‘‘Jarrod would always speak to anyone, he was always generous with his time and always ready to lend some advice or a helping hand.’’
Lyle, 36, battled acute myeloid leukaemia for much of his adult life, but never let his fight against cancer dampen his spirits.
‘‘Not one story in particular (stands out), but he was a fella who didn’t take himself too seriously,’’ Bull said.
‘‘(He) was always happy to share stories of himself, not particularly about his golfing exploits, but of himself as a person.
‘‘He was always happy to share a joke and a laugh.’’
Bull said Lyle’s death would be felt across the globe — a testament to the impact the boy from Shepparton had wherever he went.
‘‘He’ll be missed the world over, such was the influence of his life and his character,’’ he said.
‘‘Jarrod’s passing is a huge blow to his family, the golfing fraternity and obviously the Shepparton Golf Club where he is very highly respected.’’
JUNIOR EVENT TO CARRY ON LYLE'S LEGACY
By Tyler Maher
Jarrod Lyle’s legacy will live on at Shepparton Golf Club in many more ways than one.
The Shepparton-raised golfer impacted everyone at the club on and off the course during his 36 years, and his name will endure in the form of the Jarrod Lyle Junior Classic.
There have been five editions of the junior tournament, but it will take on greater meaning in the wake of Lyle’s death.
Mark Washington, who was one of the main drivers behind establishing the classic, said Lyle’s influence at the club would never be forgotten.
‘‘I started (the tournament) five years ago and it was just to... celebrate Jarrod’s achievements in golf and around the community,’’ Washington said.
‘‘It (began) around the time of the second bout of cancer, and we were lucky enough to have Jarrod at (a couple) of the tournaments.
‘‘Last year in December he couldn’t be there because he was back in hospital receiving treatment, but he sent through a video message and that was great to have.
‘‘Last year the winner got up and said how proud he was to win the trophy because he had followed Jarrod’s journey and that was great.’’
The tournament is growing each year and Washington hoped to continue the event for many years to come in order to celebrate the life of a man who had time for everyone, no matter who they were.
‘‘We’re really proud of the tournament and we’re building it every year, it’s got great support,’’ Washington said.
‘‘We’re mindful not to clash with too many other tournaments in order to attract as many juniors from the Goulburn Valley and across the state as possible.
‘‘It will certainly change a bit now, but we’ll keep it going and celebrate Jarrod and what he did for the community.
‘‘He didn’t forget about where he came from. He didn’t forget about Shepparton and the golf club and the kids, and he spent a lot of time out on the practice fairway and greens and was always giving up his time to stop and chat to everyone.’’
The tournament will certainly serve to remember Lyle as a golfer and as a Shepparton export, but above all it will help celebrate Lyle as a friend and mate.
‘‘Jarrod has been a great friend, but a great ambassador for Shepparton as well,’’ Washington said.
‘‘He was just a happy bloke and was prepared to spend time with everyone.
‘‘It was more than just golf with Jarrod. He taught plenty of us a lot, and it wasn’t just how to swing a golf stick.’’
JARROD LYLE DIES, AGED 36
Shepparton golfer Jarrod Lyle has lost his long battle with cancer, passing away on Wednesday night, aged 36.
He is survived by his wife Briony, and daughters Lusi, 6, and Jemma, 2.
Briony released the following statement to Golf Australia:
“It breaks my heart to tell everyone that Jarrod is no longer with us.
“He passed away peacefully at 8.20pm last night, having spent his final week in Torquay among his family and close friends.
“Lusi, Jemma and I are filled with grief and now must confront our lives without the greatest husband and father we could ever have wished for.
“At the same time, we have been blessed and overwhelmed with the messages and actions of support from around the world and feel comforted that Jarrod was able to happily impact so many people throughout his life. Our humble thanks to you all.
“Jarrod was able to take in many of the unbelievably kind and generous acts and words in his final few days and was overwhelmed by the emotional outpouring.
“He asked that I provide a simple message: `Thanks for your support, it meant the world. My time was short, but if I’ve helped people think and act on behalf of those families who suffer through cancer, hopefully it wasn’t wasted.’
“We will hold an intimate and private family service in the coming days.
“There will be a public memorial service at The Sands in Torquay at a date to be annouced later.
“As per Jarrod’s wish, please donate to Challenge in lieu of gifts or flowers.”
Lyle has long battled leukaemia, and his family last week announced he would cease treatment and enter palliative care.
Gone too soon... way too soon!— The Golf Touring Co (@golftouring) August 9, 2018
RIP Jarrod... the golf community will make sure your family are looked after which i am sure comforted you in your final days...#tragedy #jarrodlyle #golf #golfer #gutted pic.twitter.com/RgBAbPeGZs
I met him on a golf course, with a huge smile on his face. This is how I'll remember Jarrod Lyle! A big, friendly, stereotypical Aussie who always had a handshake and a smile at the ready. Gone WAY too soon. Thoughts and prayers with his wife and children. #JarrodLyle pic.twitter.com/g73Ynctxxf— Drew Hinesley (@DrewHinesley) August 9, 2018