PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – Jarrod Lyle made an emotional return from leukemia when he played in Australia in December. Now, the two-time cancer survivor is getting ready to try out his game in America.
Lyle has committed to play three times on the Web.com Tour in July and August, starting with the Midwest Classic near Kansas City the last week in July.
The 32-year-old Australian has a major medical exemption. When he returns to the PGA Tour, Lyle will have 20 events to earn $283,825 and reach the equivalent of No. 125 on the money list in 2012, the year he suffered a recurrence.
MASTERS DEGREE: Graeme McDowell watched the final round of the Masters, just like millions of other viewers.
He was among the few taking notes.
McDowell said he remains baffled by Augusta National, where he has missed the cut four times in seven appearances and has yet to crack the top 10. He opened with a 72 and was four shots off the lead, only to follow that with a 78 to miss the cut.
"I watched the coverage on Sunday afternoon, taking notes about the way the balls react around the pin positions," McDowell said. "Like the eighth, for example, Fred Couples leaving the putt 15 feet short down to the corner. Jordan Spieth did the same thing – slowed down in the corner. That's the little nuances you have to know about Augusta. I found myself taking notes on Sunday. Hopefully, I'll need them over the next few years."
DIVOT PATTERN: USGA Executive Director Mike Davis isn't worried about too many divots in collection areas at Pinehurst No. 2 when the U.S. Open and U.S. Women's Open are held in consecutive weeks.
Davis said the grass was mown a quarter-inch in 1999, so low that most players used a putter. Six years later, the grass was slightly higher – about 0.3 inches – which gave players another option.
"It was a little harder to putt because they had to hit it harder," he said. "But it gave you a little bit more cushion where you could hit a bump shot or you could hit a pitch shot. ... We saw very, very, very little divoting during the last two Opens. The players who do decide to pitch it are more just clipping it. They're not really playing a type of shot a flop shot that creates a divot. So I don't think we're going to have that problem."
DIVOTS: Brooks Koepka, who already has used his allotment of PGA Tour exemptions, earned a spot in the Zurich Classic this week through Monday qualifying. He needs seven FedExCup points (64th place alone) to be eligible for special temporary membership and have access to unlimited exemptions. ... Matt Kuchar's victory in the RBC Heritage at Hilton Head bumped Patrick Reed out of the top five – in the Ryder Cup standings. Kuchar is now at No. 3 behind Bubba Watson and Jimmy Walker. ... Turning Stone Resort, which once hosted a PGA Tour event, has been selected to host the 2016 PGA Professional National Championship, the tournament in which top 20 PGA club professionals qualify for the PGA Championship. Turning Stone previously hosted the event in 2006.
STAT OF THE WEEK: Four of the top six players on the LPGA Tour money list are Americans.
FINAL WORD: "There's no one at the USGA that even talks about that we want even par to win." – USGA Executive Director Mike Davis, on the perception that the U.S. Open tries to protect against low scoring.