Saturday, 27 September 2008

Some lessons from the Ryder Cup

I watched a chunk of the Ryder Cup last week. While I love watching sport, I didn’t really enjoy it. Firstly, I had a stinking cold (so was feeling very sorry for myself); secondly I don’t have a high regard for either of the captains; and thirdly we (Europe) lost. Actually we were thoroughly thrashed by a much better team. But there’s always next time!

Anyway, after the disappointment of losing I started to look more closely at the differences that there seemed to be between the teams, and while I have no inside information, the following things occurred to me.

Europe seemed to be over-confident, probably based on their status as favourites going into the competition. This was based on our run of success over the last decade or so. But the problem with this way of thinking is that this particular group of individuals had never played in the Ryder Cup before, and only 4 of them had any significant Ryder Cup experience (Garcia, Westwood, Harrington and Jimenez). Over-confidence and complacency are not good attitudes in any environment.

Another difference seemed to be that we were looking for things to whinge about. Whether it was Azinger’s (ill-advised) ‘pep talk’ to the fans, or the way that putts were or were not conceded. In golf and in life you need to be able to deal with these minor irritations and focus on the objective. Maybe there was a sense of wanting to win the competition while maintaining some sort of moral high ground.

But for me the biggest difference between the teams was teamwork, and I’ll deal with that in another post.

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