By Evin Priest

AUSTRALIAN golf, meet the new Jarrod Lyle. He’s lean, he’s keen and he’s made a solid return to the US PGA Tour at the Frys.Com Open this morning.

The Victorian carded a commendable, 3-under par round of 69 in Napa, California on Friday, which included a stunning hole-out eagle.

Let’s take a look at the 12-month road to golf recovery Lyle has taken…

Lyle, 34, began one of golf’s most remarkable stories when he returned from a second fight with leukaemia to this same US PGA Tour event in 2014. Needing to make US$283,825 from 20 events to retain his card, Lyle made the weekend at both the Frys.Com and Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, but after amassing $66,145 Lyle missed his next seven cuts. Subsequently, Lyle announced he was taking a break from professional golf to return to his coastal home of Torquay, Victoria.

Now, 12 months of labour is starting to bear fruit. Lyle admits to weighing 108 kilograms at his heaviest, but with six gym sessions per week and a professional sports diet, the once-chubby boy from Shepparton now tips the scales at 99kg.

“It’s been a big change, but I’ve got my wife Briony’s support which has made it far easier,” says Lyle.

The diet was drawn up by the medical staff at AFL footy club Geelong. While Cats players train on a high-fat, low-carbohydrate nutritional plan, Lyle’s is a hybrid diet with some carbohydrates and grains.

“I saw the Geelong footy club doctor and now I limit my carb intake to try and keep it under 100 grams a day,” says Lyle. “But when you’ve got a three-year-old it’s more difficult so it incorporates some other food groups. “On the golf course, my go-to snack was bananas but now it’s nibbling on some nuts or low-carb foods.”

But he doesn’t just eat like an athlete – now Lyle trains like one.

“I want to build my strength, so I do a lot of leg work. I also try to focus on the bigger muscles like my back, legs and my core. It’s working well; I went for a 4.5km run recently, which isn’t a big thing for a lot of people but it is a huge achievement for me.”


But what inspired the dramatic change in Lyle’s approach?

“There are not many fat golfers out there and I was a fat golfer,” says Lyle. “When I first came on tour, there were only 40 or so athletes. Now, there are less than 40 blokes who don’t look like wrestlers that hit the ball 300 metres.”

To acclimatise himself with tournament golf, Lyle has been travelling to different cities in Victoria, checking into hotels and playing four consecutive rounds with the aim of scoring at least a 10-under par total.

And though Lyle has trimmed his waistline, he’ll be proudly sporting a one-size-fits-all belt upon his return. NexBelt is an apparel company with an innovative belt without buckles worn by US PGA Tour stars Jim Furyk, Marc Leishman and Kevin Na. They are now available to Aussie golfers at
– Evin Priest (@EvinPriest)