Rules of the Game - The Ryder Cup Lesson

Sep 25, 2023

So it might not be a surprise.  But I am a HUGE golf fan.  Yes, I even listen to golf radio.  Which means that the Ryder Cup is like my Super Bowl. 

But this year, it isn’t just a big deal for golf.  It is a big deal for rules. And one that has many lessons all organizations can learn from. 

For those of you who may not follow golf as closely as I do, a lot has happened in the golf world over the last year.  In 2022, many of the world’s top ranked professional players made the decision to leave the PGA tour for the LIV golf league.  In exchange for very large sums of money, these players gave up their PGA tour status and among many other things, potentially their eligibility to be considered for the 2023 Ryder Cup event. 

Fast forward to today, and suddenly golf fans are faced with the consequences of this grim decision.  Both the US and European sides are impacted.  But many of the top players who chose LIV were European players who had once been standouts in the Ryder Cup.  For me it was shocking to see my favorite Ryder Cuper, Sergio Garcia, be one of the players who chose LIV.  Afterall, Since I can remember, every Ryder Cup I have ever watched has had Sergio Garcia as a leader of the European Squad.  

For years I have even used him as an example of a great leader who was able to turn a group of under ranked players who on paper shouldn’t stand a chance against the more powerful US team, and repeatedly they found a way to win. 

And they didn’t just win.  They won big.  It was hard not to cheer for them.  They won the hearts and minds of every golfer watching the event.  

They were, for a lack of a better world, magicians on the Ryder Cup stage. 

But now, this year.  They are gone.  An entire generation of Ryder Cup memories now ineligible to play and thus not part of the conversation.   

This is where this story becomes so much more than golf.  How easy would it be for golf to go back on its original decision and allow these great players in.  Afterall, aside from one bad decision, they have done so much for professional golf.  

They are well liked.  Respected.  And thus it is easy to make the argument that they should just be allowed to play.  

But what happens then?  For golf.  For Rules.  For any organization who sets a rule of the game on a daily basis.  What happens if your star players don’t follow?  What happens if they make the bad decision anyway? 

The organization.  Or in this case professional golf, is now faced with a lose-lose situation.  As an organization the Ryder Cup is faced with the decision to either go back on their rules in the 11th hour, or let things stand which hurts the 2023 Ryder Cup event. 

Even Sergio Garcia recently tried to come back and pay the outstanding fines in order to salvage his eligibility.  But anything done now would be too late. 

And so, the Ryder Cup will take place at the end of the month, without an entire generation of European stars.   

It won’t be a good decision for anyone.  But as hard as this is for the event.  It is an excellent example of true leadership.  An individual or group of individuals can’t be larger than the organization’s rules itself.  And regardless of how much the individual is missed, the organization must find a way to move forward. 

So as we watch the Ryder Cup this year, lets remember that even team Europe will find a way to move forward.   Which means, our organization can too.  Regardless of the situation, new stars will emerge, and who knows.  These new standouts might even find a way to WIN!

And as always, to see how we can help you find ways to WIN ... CLICK HERE



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