Presidents Cup 2019: Here's why players are wearing yellow pins on their hats at Royal Melbourne
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MELBOURNE — Along with the customary red, white and blue, the American team's outfits at this week's Presidents Cup feature a tinge of yellow.
Multiple members of the U.S. and International teams are wearing the "Leuk the Duck" pin on their hats, an homage to Jarrod Lyle, the Australian PGA Tour pro who died in August 2018 after a lengthy battle with leukemia.
Leuk the Duck is the mascot for Challenge, an Australian organization that supports children with cancer.
"All the guys got pins," said Rickie Fowler, who was close with Lyle going back to their days on the non-Korn Ferry Tour. Fowler has worn yellow, Lyle's signature color, while he plays since his friend passed at age 36.
"Some of the guys are wearing them," Fowler said. "Some of the guys didn't know Jarrod, especially some of the younger guys, but yeah, they want to wear them. It's obviously for a great cause. For the guys that did get to know him, we're all for it."
The gesture, according to Lyle's widow, Briony, has been overwhelming. "I knew that Rickie would be wearing [a pin] on his cap, but I didn't realize so many other players would be as well," she told Golf Digest via email. "Earlier in the week I managed to meet briefly with Rickie, who requested some more pins in the off chance that other players on the U.S. team, or their partners, would like to wear them. His powers of persuasion are clearly exceptional! It's also pretty amazing to see so many other Leuk pins and caps being worn by spectators around the course."
There will also be a golf outing to benefit Challenge on the Monday after the competition finishes. The Robert Allenby Golf Day and Gala Dinner has been running for 28 years and has raised millions of dollars for Challenge. Lyle went to the event for the first time in 2001 and was there every year until 2016.
Fowler won't be able to attend—he committed to corporate outings back in the U.S. before he knew he'd be replacing Brooks Koepka on the American team—but was happy he could connect with Briony this week.
"I think she's been impressed with how Jarrod's name has kind of hung around," Fowler said. "She was, I think, worried after him passing and being gone for a bit that it would start to lose traction. That hasn't happened. She's pretty excited about that."
"I continue to be blown away by the ongoing support for Jarrod in the golf industry, both around Australia and internationally," Briony said. "He would be the first to say that he was just a country boy who liked to play golf, and would not be able to comprehend some of the things that are happening in his honour. The part that he would be most proud of is knowing that the ongoing support is benefiting other kids who've been diagnosed with cancer. He was incredibly passionate about the work that Challenge do for kids and families, and always wished he had more time and a bigger profile to raise greater sums of money. For myself, the part I struggle with the most these days is the fact that he had to die to achieve his greatest goals. I can only wish he is aware of what is happening, and although he'd be shaking his head in amazement, I know he'd have an enormous smile as well."