By LARRY VAUGHT
The last few months on the LPGA Tour were mentally and emotionally difficult at times for Emma Talley of Caldwell County. Not only was she not playing as well as she was accustomed to, she was also worried about her friend, Cullan Brown of Lyon County.
Brown was supposed to be playing his sophomore golf season at the University of Kentucky but was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a form of bone cancer, in his left thigh in late July and chemotherapy and other treatment to prepare for surgery forced him to drop out of school.
“Knowing he was at home or in the hospital was hard on me,” said Talley. “He is such a good guy and has such a great spirit about him. He’s facing a long, hard road back but he is fighting so hard. I just hate to see him struggle and I’ve had him on my mind daily because I knew how hard this would be on him and his family.
“I think about him every single day. Every day I text him or talk to his parents or at least try to. Every night I pray for him. He’s such a good guy and everyone just falls in love with him immediately.”
Talley, a former Kentucky state high school and NCAA champion, has been a role model for Brown. They have often played and practiced together and he relies on her and her family for advice about his career path.
Talley and her boyfriend recently were using social media to talk with Brown during a chemotherapy treatment. They could see he was wearing a Footjoy polo shirt .
“We were giving him a hard time about that shirt and he said, ‘Got to keep it classy no matter what,’” Talley said. “That’s just him. He is such a trooper. I don’t know how he is doing it. It’s amazing to watch his spirt.
“He is living proof of humility and grace and spirit. It’s crazy watching him go through this but he’s so strong and is just taking it all in stride. I just don’t know how he’s doing it.”