The affable 32-year-old was diagnosed in March 2012 with a
recurrence of leukemia he first developed at the age of 17 and was
forced to seek treatment before he returned to the course late last
year in Australia.
"There's plenty of worse things that can happen than shooting 80 at
a golf tournament or shooting 79 or missing a cut," Lyle told
reporters on a conference call from Florida.
"There was times where I thought I was dead and thought I'd never
get back out on the golf course, and there was times where I thought
I don't want to play golf anymore.
"(So) if I make a triple bogey on a par four or whatever ... it's
better than having a day's worth of chemo."
Lyle will begin his push for a return to the PGA Tour on the
secondary Web.com Tour in Kansas City in two weeks time.
Having spent about a year recovering from the disease as a
17-year-old, Lyle was told the leukemia had returned shortly before
the birth of his first child, a daughter named Lusi.
The diagnosis came when he was playing at his most consistent on the
lucrative PGA Tour.
He had played seven events, made six cuts and earned more than
$360,000 in prize money. The most he had earned in his four previous
years full time on the tour was $422,760 from 18 events in 2010.
The PGA Tour granted him a medical exemption after the diagnosis and
he has been told he must earn another $283,000 to retain his card in
Lyle, aware that he was fatigued after making his comeback at the
Australian Masters last November, had originally hoped to return
early in the 2014 season but has taken a measured approach to his
return to the circuit.
Having purchased a large recreational vehicle, he and his family
will drive between events, with his first three tournaments located
close together in America's heartland in Kansas City, Springfield,
Missouri and then in Knoxville, Tennessee.
"I think my schedule is going to be a lot different this time
around," he added.
"I won't know how my body is going to hold up until I actually get
out there and start playing golf.
"I've targeted these three events for the fact that they're three
tournaments that are relatively close together, so traveling to them
is not going to be too big of an issue."
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While Lyle was keen to retain his card quickly, he said his return
was simply a building process.
"Everything I'm doing is planning for my return to the PGA Tour," he
"I'd love to be able to go out and play as good as I can in these
three events and hopefully knock off a couple of good finishes.
"But if I don't, again, it's just going to be a learning curve like
it was at the Australian Masters last year.
"I know I've got 20 events to make $283,000 to make that happen ...
I'd love to knock that off as early as possible but if it takes me
19 or 20 events to get it done, as long as I get it done, then to me
that's a success."
The heavy-set Australian joked he had lost some of his girth during
his treatment but was beginning to regain his strength.
"I'm probably hitting it a little bit longer at the moment. It's
nice to not have the fat gut to swing around, but I've put on a few
kilos since Christmas," he said.
"Obviously I don't want to put on any more because then that would
require (equipment supplier) Titleist to send me a whole shipment of
new clothes again, which I'm sure they're not going to be too
"My golf game is in good shape and my body is in good shape, as
"It's all positives, though. I'm happy, I'm healthy, I'm playing
(Reporting by Greg Stutchbury in Wellington; Editing by Ian Ransom)
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