Life Lessons From Jarrod And Briony Lyle
“He watched that video all the time. I can remember waking up to him giggling and I’d ask him what he was laughing at and he’d say, ‘I just watched the hole-in-one again.’”
Golf did not captivate Briony, who was a high school classmate of Jarrod’s in their hometown, Shepparton, in northern Victoria. When they started dating a few years later, she attended his tournaments but recognized early on that she was going to need a diversion.
“I couldn’t possibly spend my time walking aimlessly around golf courses pretending I was invested in every shot and every moment,” said Briony, who enrolled in classes in Melbourne to become a massage therapist. She accumulated her required training hours, she said, by setting up a massage table at tournaments and kneading the muscles of the caddies.
She earned her certification in 2012, shortly before giving birth to the couple’s first daughter, Lusi. Another daughter, Jemma, arrived four years later. Around the time of Lusi’s birth, Jarrod learned that the leukemia he had battled successfully in high school had returned.
He was off the P.G.A. Tour for more than two years, then came back and made 20 more starts. He had returned to Australia to play his home tour and try his hand at broadcasting when he found out in late 2017 that the leukemia had returned a third time.
During his initial battle with the disease, Jarrod became acquainted with Challenge, a nonprofit dedicated to providing practical and personalized services to the families of cancer patients. The organization’s mascot is a duck named Leuk, and since Jarrod’s death people from all over the world have snatched up Leuk merchandise, everything from duck head covers to pins and ball markers.
Next week top performers from the P.G.A. Tour of Australasia, the Australian Ladies Professional Golf, the European Tour and the Ladies European Tour will converge on Barwon Heads Golf Club, not far from Torquay, for the Vic Open. Briony will be there, selling Leuk the Duck merchandise to raise money for families dealing with cancer.