The Captain Myth: The Ryder Cup and Sport's Great Leadership Delusion

Author(s): Richard Gillis

Sports | No Category

The War on the Shore, the Battle of Brookline, the Miracle of Medinah: the Ryder Cup is golf's - and arguably one of international sport's - most intense, high-profile tournaments. Two teams tussle through 28 matches over three days for no prize money but enormous national pride. And purportedly in charge of those two teams are the captains, whose reputations are shaped forever by their players' results out on the course. Justin Rose's unlikely 35-foot on the 17th green at Medinah Country Club set up Europe's triumph - and one of modern sport's most remarkable turnarounds - in the 2012 Ryder Cup. It also established Davis Love II as 'a bad captain' and saw Jose Maria Olazabal feted for a series of leadership masterstrokes. In reality, neither captain had much to do with that putt being sunk. Yet the pressure remains on the captains to lead their team to victory. As each Cup passes, more theories are put forward about how to win. Some of these combine traditional golfing nous with cutting-edge sports psychology. Others are red herrings that have led captains down any number of blind alleys. So what can a captain do to win the Ryder Cup?
Using exclusive interviews and saturation reporting, Gillis shows how strategy has evolved since the very first match in 1927, exploring the enduring and often surprising role played by some of the game's greatest stars including Walter Hagen, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Tony Jacklin, Seve Ballesteros and Paul Azinger. The Captain Myth uses golf's greatest event to examine some fundamental questions about leadership, teams and motivation.


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A fresh look at one of international sport's highest-profile tournaments - and what role the captains really play in Ryder Cup success

An enlightening foray into the power and pitfalls of leadership at the heights of athletic competition ... The Captain Myth provides deep insights for anyone eager to understand the value and limits to leadership in an age that celebrates autonomy and scorns authority. -- Gary Hamel, best-selling author and visiting professor at the London Business School A brilliant rethink of sport's leadership myths: Nassim Taleb logic combined with insider knowledge of the game -- Ed Smith, author of Luck: A fresh look at fortune Richard Gillis explores fascinating subject matter that goes to the heart of golf's greatest contest and sport as a whole. -- Iain Carter, BBC A thorough examination of the cult of the leader in sport ... This book challenges our assumptions. -- Paul Hayward, chief sports writer, Daily Telegraph There's only one person I'd read on the subject of leadership in sport: Richard Gillis. A book to enjoy, absorb and return to. -- Sathnam Sanghera, author and business columnist for The Times Gillis brings wisdom, insight and just enough skepticism to the absurd spectacle that is modern captaincy. -- Geoff Shackelford, Golf Digest Richard Gillis questions the mythology around leadership and the acceptance of simplified narratives of success and failure that have no more validity than blind luck. Gillis' book prompts a vital conversation. -- John Amaechi OBE

Richard Gillis is an award-winning journalist working for several of the world's leading newspaper and publishing groups. Formerly editor of SportBusiness International magazine, he then became Cricket Correspondent of the Irish Times covering Ireland's remarkable 2007 ICC Cricket World Cup campaign in the Caribbean, where his reporting on the untimely death of Pakistan coach Bob Woolmer led the global news agenda. He now lives in London, where he is a columnist and feature interviewer for the Irish Times and writes about sport, business and the media for the Wall Street Journal, alongside media and communications consultancy work.

General Fields

  • : 9781472907790
  • : Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
  • : Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
  • : August 2016
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Richard Gillis
  • : Paperback
  • : 272