“So many times I crossed the finish line before I knew I’d won.” Paul McGinley is reflecting on his illustrious career on golf’s European Tour which reached its zenith when he led Team Europe to victory in the 2014 Ryder Cup at Gleneagles. That feat alone was enough to hold an audience of successful business leaders in rapt attention at the 2015 Leaders Sport Business Summit in New York.
By John Portch
Over the course of 35 minutes McGinley revealed some of the analytical mind that marked him out as the ideal person to lead the Europeans who were, by then, overwhelming favourites to win their eighth Ryder Cup in ten editions. The Dubliner had tasted victory in golf’s transatlantic showpiece on three occasions as a player and, upon his appointment as Captain in 2012, immediately set about the challenges that go with leading a team of supremely talented individuals. The two-year run up allowed him to meet with each of his prospective players as the field was whittled down from a field of 50 to 12, which was essential given that the week of the competition would be the first time he’d have each member of the team in the same room. As well as the extensive travelling, McGinley also spoke about:
- His reasons for using Sir Alex Ferguson as a sounding board;
- How he approached the particular challenge of the Gleneagles course;
- Why data was of value but needed to be used sparingly;
- The importance of clarity and consistency in the messages being delivered;
- The need to allow the world’s best players to be themselves;