Robert Allenby has written a heartfelt tribute to close friend and fellow Australian pro Jarrod Lyle, after it was announced earlier this week that he has stopped active treatment for acute myeloid leukemia.
In an emotional post on social media, Lyle’s wife Briony wrote that the 36-year-old has “reached his limit” and will now focus on palliative care at home.
The news prompted a huge outpouring of well wishes from fellow pros and fans across social media. The players competing in the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational showed their support for Lyle and his family by wearing yellow ribbons on their baseball caps in yesterday’s opening round at Firestone.
However, no tribute has been quite so poignant as the one posted by Allenby on the Players Voice website earlier today.
Allenby has known Lyle for 20 years. They met when Lyle was 16 and was one of Allenby’s biggest fans.
When Lyle made it out onto the tour, they became close friends and have been remained that way ever since. It goes without saying, therefore, that Allenby has been left devastated by the latest development in Lyle’s long-standing battle with cancer.
“It’s hard to think right now,” he wrote. “My mind has been so bloody clouded these last few days. All the emotions. I haven’t been myself for quite a while.
“But here’s what I do know: in life, you don’t have too many top quality friends – ones you can trust, ones you can call upon. You can count them on one hand.
“Jarrod’s on that hand for me. There’s a bond and a trust that I will cherish forever. I love him like a brother and count myself fortunate that I have had him in my life for this long.
“He’s a top bloke and an inspiration to millions. He is loved and admired all around the world. I hope he is pain-free and at peace. He is, and will always be, my hero.”
Allenby added that he had spoken with Lyle earlier in the week.
“Bri and I were chatting backwards and forwards the night before she posted the news about Jarrod’s palliative care on his social media accounts,” he wrote.
“She said, ‘Jarrod will call you in the morning.’
“She said he wanted to talk to me. He called a couple of us over here in the US. It was very sweet of Bri to do that.
“I was on the putting green here in Reno when the phone rang. I thought Jarrod was going to call an hour or two later, but he phoned while I was putting.
“As soon as I saw his name come up on my screen, I started crying.
“I said, ‘How you doing?’
“And he said, ‘Nah, not good, mate.’
“He wanted to say goodbye and talk to me one last time. I cracked a joke because I wanted to hear him smile again. I said, ‘I’m still the biggest wanker you’ve ever met.’
“He laughed. ‘You’re right. You are!’
“I said, ‘Don’t worry, mate. Sometime in the future we will be having multiple beers together again.’
“It’s not a goodbye. We don’t know where we’re going to end up when we die. I’m a pretty spiritual person and I believe I’ll see him again.
“That’s pretty much how we left it.”