Jarrod Lyle left an impression on 9NEWS sport reporter Adam Jackson that will last a lifetime.
I only ever spent one week with Jarrod Lyle, but he left an impression on me that will last a lifetime – in fact every time I drink a Corona I think of him.
We crossed paths at the 2016 Isuzu Queensland Open. His on-course performance wasn’t particularly memorable, finishing in a tie for 36th, but his performance inside the clubhouse at the Brisbane Golf Club was worthy of being crowned a major champion.
It was the Pro-Am luncheon and Jarrod was on the comeback trail after overcoming cancer for the second time. I interviewed him on stage and started off by asking if his goal was to return to the riches of the lucrative US PGA Tour.
I expected a clichéd response of “yeah hopefully, that’s the plan”. But he said “no”, immediately catching the attention of everybody in the room. “I’m not really interested in that anymore, I’ve been a good golfer now I just want to be a good dad [to daughters Lusi and Jemma] and a good husband [to wife Briony],” he said.
Talk then turned to his playing career, in particular one of the highlights; winning the 2008 Mexican Open after firing an eight-under-par 63 in the final round. I asked what the celebrations were like after winning a golf tournament in Mexico. Was it a smorgasbord of free tacos and enchiladas washed down with an endless supply of sangria?
“Funny you should say that,” Jarrod said, revealing that the event was sponsored by Corona and he was told by the local representative that they would honour his victory by sending a pallet (more than 50 cartons) of beer to his home in Australia.
“So here I am thinking that I’ll probably never have to buy a beer for the rest of my life, how good is that?” Jarrod recalled.
After finishing his playing schedule in North America, Jarrod returned home. He waited and waited and waited before eventually a sole carton of Coronas turned up on his doorstep one day.
Turns out something was lost in translation between the thick Aussie accent and the Spanish language barrier. The promise of a pallet only corresponded to a carton, Jarrod explained, wrapping up his five-minute story which had seen him make a seamless transition from professional golfer to stand-up comedian.
No wonder everyone bloody loves this bloke, I thought.
Later that afternoon I came across Jarrod one last time, while filming a story for Channel 9’s coverage of the Queensland Open. He was conducting a coaching clinic for local junior golfers on a makeshift fairway between the 10th and 18th holes and I had to interrupt and walk across with the camera crew.
As we did, Jarrod bellowed at us in the cheeky manner which made him adored by people all over the world: “Don’t worry kids he’s only a journo, doesn’t matter if you hit him”, before strategically blading a seven iron that just skimmed past my ankles. He followed up with a wink and a grin from beneath that unmistakable big yellow bucket hat of his.
After hearing the news that he’s lost his battle with cancer at the age of just 36, I’d gladly cop a stray ball on the ankle, in the back, or on the shins if it meant I could watch Jarrod Lyle play one more round, or let him hug his daughters one more time, or if I could just sit back at the bar at the Brisbane Golf Club and buy him one of those Coronas he’s owed.
By Adam Jackson, Sports Report