The first round of the PGA Championship went by with heavy hearts Thursday from most of the world’s best players.
Earlier this week, Australian golfer Jarrod Lyle died after his long and ongoing struggle with cancer. A number of players have been wearing yellow ribbons on their hats in support of Lyle and his family, and they spoke about Lyle after their rounds.
“Really the last few weeks, especially last week and this week, we’ve all been thinking about Jarrod a lot,” Rickie Fowler said after his first-round, 5-under 65. “So, I was scripted to wear dark blue today. That definitely immediately changed last night. Last week I had the pin somewhere on the side. This is front and center.
“You know, it’s definitely tough, especially talking with some of the guys that knew Jarrod better than most out here. Guys like (Adam Scott) and (Marc Leishman) and a lot of the Aussies, obviously. You also think about it as far as Jarrod wouldn’t want us out here feeling sorry for him or feeling bad or anything. You’d probably come out here and kick us in the butt and tell us to man up and go have some fun.
“So it’s a little bit kind of bittersweet. You’re trying to go out there and keep living lifelike he did, but it’s unfortunate that he’s not here with us.”
Jason Day, after firing a 3-under 67, displayed emotion when talking about Lyle, who had been his friend.
“I received a text about Jarrod, and I just was — it’s hard because you sit there and you know him and he’s a buddy of yours, and he’s not there anymore. He’s never going to come back. That’s the hardest thing to sort of come by. Now I’m tearing up.
“No. I mean, I lived across the street from him when we first started out in Orlando. He’s a good buddy of mine. It’s obviously heart breaking to see. I’ve known Jarrod for a long time, and obviously my thoughts and prayers go out to Bri and the two kids. It’s just — they’re going through some stuff right now. It’s hard to hear that information when it comes through any time.
“He battled half his life. And the crazy thing is he was always upbeat and positive. No matter what you did, you could be playing terrible, and if you’re playing golf with him, you always walked off the golf course happy. For him to first get diagnosed with it when he was 17 years old and then battled three times, it just goes to show how much of a fighter he was inside to be able to keep pushing on even though it is painful to go through the stuff that he went through.
“I mean, I would not know one-tenth of what he went through and what his family went through, but he was a really good buddy of mine, a good friend of mine. He impacted a lot of people just because of it. I mean, there’s a lot of people out there that are sick and have probably the same thing going on. So for people to hear his story and know that he fought on for a long time and lived a good life and had two kids and had a good loving wife, that’s a lot of positive to come out of a story like that.”
Even Tiger Woods shared a memory with Lyle, even though they rarely crossed paths.
“I knew him a little bit. I remember playing with him at Firestone years ago,” Woods said. “I think he had just finished off his first bout with cancer and came back and played. I met him on a few other occasions, but that was the only time I ever actually played with him. It’s tough. It’s a tough loss.”
It’s so sad to lose Jarrod after all he went through. I played with him once at Firestone and he had an amazing spirit. We’re all family out here and support each other.
— Tiger Woods (@TigerWoods) August 9, 2018