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Published by:
London Business School (2018)
August 2018
18 pages
Data source:
Field research


In January 2013 Irish Tour professional golfer Paul McGinley was named captain of Team Europe for the 2014 Ryder Cup in Gleneagles, Scotland. Across his career, McGinley had both played in the Ryder Cup and acted as vice-captain in two successful tournaments for Team Europe. Being the captain, however, was a different game. This case traces McGinley’s team strategy and demonstrates his leadership as he moulded 12 players from different European countries together into an effective team in only a few days. He faced numerous challenges, including diverse European nationalities, golf being an individual rather than a team sport, only knowing who would be in his team a few weeks before the Ryder Cup, and the fact that the players would only be 'together' to train four days before the actual tournament began. And Team Europe were the favourites and would be playing in Europe. McGinley knew that wasn’t an easy position to play from, particularly when the US was fielding a very strong team that year. Expectations were running high. Even during the competition there were upheavals that McGinley had to deal with. Through communication, data analysis, strategy, visual storytelling and his own reflections, as well as a key mentor, McGinley spent the next 20 months putting together a team strategy. When it came to the actual tournament, he was prepared for the challenges that faced him, including media stories that surfaced on the second day of the competition about one of his players. McGinley’s ability to react, not to overreact and then take decisive action demonstrated his leadership abilities. It was his team and game strategy and personal team leadership that ultimately won the Ryder Cup for Europe with a resounding victory. The case is based on interviews with Paul McGinley himself, as well as publicly available sources.


Leadership; Coaching; Multinational; Culture; Team leadership; Leading diverse team; Strategy; Use of management data
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