Golfer Jarrod Lyle died earlier this week after a battle with cancer. Photo: Dan Peled/EPA
Golfer Jarrod Lyle died earlier this week after a battle with cancer. Photo: Dan Peled/EPA
IOL Sport writer Lungani Zama.
IOL Sport writer Lungani Zama.
Life is short. Depressingly so, at times. Often in sport, we treat solitary losses as if they were life and death affairs, sinking us into a temporary state of mourning.

And yet, the next morning, the sun comes up again, and our lives go on. The losses of our favourite teams or individual stars hurt, no doubt, but that pain subsides far quicker than we care to admit.

When it comes to sport, we all have a flair for the dramatic.

Every shot is “the greatest”, every feat the deed of a superhuman, and every blistering run of form some sort of confirmation that we are observing a GOAT (Greatest of All Time) of some form or another.

This past week, there was a genuine sense of loss in the game of golf, with the passing of Jarrod Lyle.

It is not a name that is top of mind for most casual golf fans, but those who scratch the surface know of his battle with cancer for much of his 36 years.

Yep, 36 years young. Life is short.

Lyle battled the Big C not once, not twice, but thrice. He looked at it dead in the eye the first two times and didn’t blink. The Aussie lost his strength, but built it up again.

He somehow made it back onto the PGA Tour, the toughest circuit in the world.

And there, in that bottomless pit of personal challenges, the entire community swamped him with affection.

Golfer Jarrod Lyle died earlier this week after a battle with cancer. Photo: Dan Peled/EPA

They knew that, far worse than missed cuts or lost play-offs, Lyle had to find a way to fight death  and succeed.

In an era of such hyperbole, there is a sobering perspective to be gleaned from Lyle’s story.

Those that say “it couldn’t have been any worse today” might consider how much worse that day would be after a bout of chemotherapy.

Or, perhaps, hearing that you have a daughter on the way, due around the same time you are fighting for enough time just to see her take her first breath. That’s a tougher break than any you might find on the golf course. Augusta is a walk in the park compared to losing life’s lottery, and drawing cancer as a foe.

Life is short.

Looking back at Lyle’s career, often blinking back some tears, it was evident that he approached this all in a “fair dinkum” manner.

He rolled with the punches, and smiled through even the darkest hours.

He was handed the most unplayable of lies, but he still got up there, picked a club, and took a swing at it. That’s toughness. That’s steel.

Maybe even GOAT territory. No, not the desperately overplayed greatest of all time nonsense. Try grittiest of all time.

Go well into the night, Lylo.

And well played.


Sunday Tribune

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