It’s a high point in most amateur careers to represent your country at the World Amateur Team Championships.
But when the Australian contingents take to the course at Carton House in Ireland in the next two weeks, it will be with even more significance.
Both women’s and men’s teams have adopted the tradition of carrying the number that denotes their spot in the lineage of Australian amateur golf’s rich history.
For example, Kirsty Hodgkins will be the 53rd woman to play in Australian colours for the Espirito Santo Trophy alongside Becky Kay (54) and Grace Kim (55). All three will carry their respective numbers.
On the men’s side, Min Woo Lee will sport No.80, with David Micheluzzi to wear No.81 and Shae Wools-Cobb No.82 a week later in the quest to defend the Eisenhower Trophy Australia won in 2016.
But all six will carry one more extremely special number.
Jarrod Lyle, who died this month after a third fight with leukemia, was the 59th Australian men’s representative alongside James Nitties and Michael Sim in Puerto Rico in 2004.
Lyle was extremely proud of his Australian selection and always watched the team’s progress, even when he’d reached the US PGA Tour as a professional in following years.
Each member of this year’s team will also carry that No.59 prominently on their cap, an “honour” team manager Stacey Peters said had incredible significance given the outpouring of emotion around Lyle’s death.
“These guys have grown up with Jarrod’s story and he has been an inspiration to them the way he has tackled it and tried to help others on the way through,” Peters said on the eve of the women’s team’s departure.
“Wearing his number as a mark of respect is the least we can do.
“The thing that really hits home to me is that Jarrod was so young went he started his first fight with Leukemia in 1999 – he was pretty much the same age as these guys on the team.
“This is a huge mark of respect to wear his Australian representative number for this event, one that meant so much to him.”
The honour comes on the heels of the eight Australian men who played in the recent US Amateur Championship carrying Leuk the Duck head covers to honour Lyle at Pebble Beach, a move sparked by Lee and fully supported by his peers.
Recent Western Australian Players at the World Amateur Teams Championship
2012: Minjee Lee
2014: Minjee Lee
2016: Curtis Luck & Hannah Green
2018: Min Woo Lee