Team Golf at The Ryder Cup
The 2014 Ryder Cup returned to golf’s birth place and the spiritual home of the competition at Gleneagles in Scotland. Unbelievably, this is only the second time that the Ryder Cup has been played in Scotland during the competition’s 87 year history.
The format of the Ryder Cup has changed somewhat over the years. What was initially a two-day competition, comprising two teams of 10 players each from the UK and the USA has evolved into 12 man teams from the USA and Europe competing over three days.
Teamwork in Golf?
Golf is in essence a singular pursuit but the Ryder Cup has successfully captured the spirit of teamwork and the importance of cooperation.
The result is that every Ryder Cup tournament is hotly contested with an intensity not seen in other golf tournaments. It seems that when golfers, who normally compete for themselves, are introduced to the unusual world of team play, the stakes become heightened and their mental approach to their game changes. For some the change is easier than for others, and this is where.
The Team Leader
With a lot more responsibility and big decisions to make that affect the whole team, a good Ryder Cup captain is essential. Many believe the captain to be the difference between success and failure and it is noticeable how much the players defer to the Captain to define the strategy, choose the pairings and provide support. As with all good leaders, having team members willing to trust and even sacrifice their own game for the greater good is invaluable, if not essential for success. Knowing individual strengths and weaknesses will also be vital in choosing the team players and creating that elusive team chemistry.
The Best Team?
This Ryder Cup saw the European team named as favourites, having won the previous two competitions. The success this year was even greater with the USA team failing to match up.
So was it simply that the Europe had the better golfers – or the better team? Most experts say it was the best team that won – with the Europeans more together, more supportive and better focussed than the USA; and it was this that made the difference. The post match spat within the USA team would seem to support this.
Here at The Team Building Company we find the Ryder Cup a fascinating and informative spectacle. Seeing which team has bonded and has held its collective nerve as the event progresses is a study in team dynamics – especially as these are top professionals who are normally focused on playing for themselves.