McGinley Swings In

5th Sep 2016

In early September. Dublin Chamber teamed up with Investec to host a special Women In Leadership event. Guest speaker at the event was Irish golf legend Paul McGinley, the three-time Ryder Cup player and Captain of the winning 2014 Ryder Cup team. Dublin McGinley offered the audience of 100+ invitees a unique insight into how he overcame the odds to become Ryder Cup captain, and also into how he was able to manage global superstars such as Rory McIlroy. Here are a few snippets of what he said.

On becoming Ryder Cup captain...
"When i made the decision to try and become Ryder Cup captain I was way behind. I'd never won a Major championship. I had to prove myself. I'd had a good career, but not a great career. I sat down and made a strategy. I'd encourage everyone to make a real, honest appraisal of themsleves and to make a plan. I didn't know if I'd make a good captain. Networking was hugely important. I had to maneouver myself into a position that would allow me to become Captain. I did what I needed to do behind the scenes - became involved in player committees, became captain of the junior competition - the Seve Trophy. I was then made vice-captain of the Ryder Cup team. I kept my council publicly and worked privately to influence. The players came out on social media and put me forward. It went to a vote and I came out on top.


On realising and making up for shortcomings... 
It's important to have someone that you can use as a sounding board. I was a Ryder Cup player three times. But I was never a star of the team. I was always in the 6-12 category. I knew that was going to be one of my weaknesses as Captain. How was I going to deal with the superstars of the team. How was I going to deal with Rory McIlroy. I knew how to deal with the players who were numbers 6-12. How would Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson feel being told what to do by me. I struggled to have empathy with them. That's why I brought in Sir Alex Ferguson. I wanted to know how he managed Ronaldo, David Beckham and Ryan Giggs. I wanted to know how I could manage my star players that weak to get the best out of them. I didn't have all the answers, so I put together a team of people behind the scenes to help me in the areas that I knew I was weak in.


On seeking to improve...
Feedback is very important. The head of the media department was very important to me during the Ryder Cup in 2014. I got him to mentor me and to ask me the hard questions to prepare me. I went back to him after every press conference and sought the negatives. He would tell me where I'd left myself open to the media coming back at me. I didn't want reassurance and to be told I was great. That was no good to me. 


On handling the big names...
The stars of the team were under huge pressure. The one word for me in sport that players find difficully with is 'expectation'. When there's expectation on your shoulders you have to perform. If yoyu don't, it's a massive failure. With Rory McIlroy I did two things. Firstly, I never put him number one in the team. If I put him first he had nowhere to go. When it came to the singles on the Sunday, I didn't want him as number one. Had he lost it would have been galvinising for the US team. Secondly, I controlled the messaging through the media. I know Rory very well. I studied him. I knew that Rory read all the media about him. My words in the media were therefore important. Whenever Rory came up in press interviews it was a trigger for me to position him in his own mind. I always spoke about him as one of the 12. That took down the pressure. That took away the sense of responsibility. By introducing fun and creativity I knew I'd get the best out of him.

 

Anne O’Leary, CEO, Vodafone and vice-President Dublin Chamber; Paul McGinley and Aisling Dodgson, Head of Treasury at Investec.