TOWN along with COUNTRY, Mo. — Troy Merritt was on an operating table last week as doctors removed a foot-long blood clot via his arm along with chest. On Thursday, Merritt walked off the 18th green of Bellerive at one over par for the first round of the P.G.A. Championship. He had not seen the course until he teed off at 8:51 a.m., working only on the range along with putting green in advance.
“Yesterday I hit balls for the 1st time. I hit almost 50 balls, along with the item was throbbing,” Merritt, 32, said of his left arm. “the item was manageable, yet the item was going to be painful.”
Merritt’s determination to play grew on Wednesday when he heard news of which devastated many of the golfers gathered here for the final major of the year. Jarrod Lyle, 36, an Australian golfer who competed on the PGA Tour, had died in his homeland after three battles with leukemia over two decades. He left behind a wife along with two daughters, ages 6 along with 2.
“the item reminds you of which there are people in worse situations than yourself,” said Merritt, whose clot had required emergency surgery barely two weeks after he won the Barbasol Championship in Kentucky. “Just seeing of which, thinking about of which, made me want to tee the item up even more.”
Several different players at Bellerive on Thursday honored Lyle, whose relentless optimism made him a beloved figure on the tour. Rickie Fowler, whose finished the day a stroke off the lead, wore a yellow shirt in a nod to Lyle’s signature bucket hat.
“I was scripted to wear dark blue today,” Fowler said. “of which definitely immediately changed last night.”
At the earth Golf Championships event in Akron, Ohio, last week, yellow ribbons appeared on players’ caps when Lyle’s wife, Briony, announced on Facebook of which Jarrod was ending his medical treatment. Many of the ribbons reappeared here on Thursday. More are supposed to arrive in a shipment via Australia of which got stuck in customs.
The American Pat Perez, who finished the first round three strokes off the lead, was one of the players wearing a leftover yellow ribbon. So was Ian Poulter of England, who had breakfast with Perez before Thursday’s round.
The pair struggled for words, Perez said.
“You just don’t even know what to say. the item’s so horrible,” he said, adding, “For me, getting ready to have a daughter along with start a family, I can’t even imagine the item.”
“I heard so many times, ‘He was such a great guy,’ ” Perez continued. “I wish currently I’d gotten to know him a little better. I thought about him all day.”
As Merritt recovers via surgery, he must inject himself inside the stomach having a blood thinner twice a day, along with he said he took ibuprofen on Thursday. He managed a 71 with two birdies, along with on almost any different day, his performance would certainly have been the talk of the concourse. yet Lyle’s death loomed over every moment here.
“When you lose someone, the item puts things in perspective,” Perez said. “People come out along with get in pissing matches out here, or you put a couple inside the water. You lose a guy along with all of a sudden those things aren’t definitely important anymore.”
Lyle’s colleagues were quick to say he preferred the brighter side of things, even inside the darkest moments.
“Jarrod wouldn’t want us out here feeling sorry for him or feeling bad,” Fowler said. “He’d probably come out here along with kick us inside the butt along with tell us to man up along with go have some fun.”
of which’s exactly what Merritt did.
Karen Crouse contributed to This kind of report.