Darryl Reid has been an integral part of Australian golf for two decades. He’s always there, usually just off camera, as the star players do their stuff. Golf writer CHRIS VOGT spoke to the golf security expert and discovered the big guy in black, a long time confidant of Greg Norman, still gets a buzz from the action.
By Chris Vogt
IF YOU If you followed Greg Norman through his golden period, you’ll remember the crowds. They heaved, flowed and sometimes stampeded their way through the Sandbelt and elsewhere. Marshals did their best, and police dotted the galleries to keep things in check. Inside the ropes, a lone figure in black tailed along behind the Shark, a respectful yet watchful distance from the star player. Darryl Reid had a box seat at the Norman show but his eyes were on the crowd.
Reid, who as well as his personal protection work also now runs a major event security business, grew up in Mooroopna, not far from Shepparton in country Victoria, and didn’t play golf. But he was a sports fan, and has long admired athletes for their fitness, skill and competitive fire. He found himself in security at an event in Sydney when a chance meeting with Greg Norman sparked a working relationship which lasted 20 years, and a friendship which endures to this day.
“A call came from the office that someone was needed to assist Greg with bags and other things as his car pulled up,” recalled Darryl. “Fans were around it, the guy was a rock star back then.”
Darryl had dealt with the real thing during stints at the Big Day Out rock festival as part of New Breed Security. But he doesn’t miss those days.
“I much prefer working daytime. I’ll leave the late nights to the young guys.”
Security is a major operation at sporting and other events. The paperwork is immense, and there’s rostering, accreditation, briefings and the rest.
“I’m here at 5am to get the show rolling,” Reid said. “There’s plenty to cover before the gates open. Security is such a big factor in how an event is run, with OHS, liability, insurance, and everything else at stake. I’ve got 30 guys here this week. I’ve long enjoyed the logistical challenge of setting up an event.”
As for personal protection of star players, Reid will do it for as long as he feels fit enough.
“I keep myself in shape, and it gets me out of the office. But there aren’t too many superstars in golf anymore, so the need may not be there.”
This last comment is a lament on the homogenisation of the game. Players are more conservative in most aspects of the game. Swings are grooved from the same textbook, behaviour is learnt, opinions suppressed, responses rehearsed. Reid doubts we’ll see the like of Norman or Tiger again.
“Those guys had an aura. People came to watch them attempt the improbable. They drew the weekend and non-golfer to the sport. In the 90s, when Greg was here, there’d be local footy clubs turn up with eskies. They’d drink all day, and be raucous, but at least they were engaged; there was an atmosphere.”
Darryl Reid knows those days are gone, probably forever, but he still loves his work.
“It’s a challenge, both physically and mentally. I admire sportspeople as much as ever, and enjoy mixing with the people who make these events happen. Come Sunday night, I’ll kick back and think we did a pretty good job.”