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What The Ryder Cup Means To Your Business

Last weekend it seemed that the entire world was focused on the Chicagoland area.

That is, if your entire world consists of caring what a bunch of millionaires do over a few days on a golf course in an exhibition match.

In case you missed it, the “Ryder Cup” competition was held right here at our very own Medinah Country Club in Bloomingdale, Illinois. For three days (plus two days of practice rounds and celebrity play), the international sports media – plus our local news media – made it seem as if this tournament was the most important event taking place anywhere in the world.

Kind of like the Olympics – minus all the heroic stories of amateurs working tirelessly to achieve their lifelong goals, the melting pot of thousands of athletes from over 100 countries competing in dozens of widely-varying sports, and the “everyman” flavor of having kids working minimum-wage jobs suddenly cast into starring roles on the world stage.

Nope. The Ryder Cup competition is nothing like that.

Basically, it’s a tournament held every two years between the Top 12 golfers from the United States and the Top 12 golfers from all of Europe, played for zero prize money – just national (or continental, as the case may be) pride. Since golf is not an Olympic sport, this is the closest these millionaire players will ever get to that kind of event.

Spoiler Alert: In case you haven’t heard, the U.S. team completely choked away a huge lead in the final afternoon, handing the Cup to an exuberant European squad. As is the case with all pro sporting events, once again the complaining, victim-mentality 99%’ers showed up at Medinah by the droves and stayed glued to their TV sets for three straight days to root their guts out for a couple of dozen multi-millionaires who actually get paid to play a game, wear certain shoes, drive a certain brand of car, and generally live the life of a king (which, as we’ve discovered in excruciating detail, sometimes includes having one’s own harem – as if the rest of the royal lifestyle wasn’t quite fulfilling enough for at least one particular golf star).

This catastrophic collapse – and the overall disappointing performance of the U.S. teams in recent years – has led seemingly everyone to offer their own explanation as to why our heroes continue to under-perform versus their clearly-inferior opponents.

Not being someone known to sit idly by, and since this does happen to be MY own blog after all, I now offer my own opinion as to why the U.S. players just don’t seem to care as much about these Ryder Cup matches as their European counterparts:

It’s because they have nothing to prove. They know they’re superior, no matter what the result of this contrived biennial gathering, so they simply go through the motions, devoid of the passion the media and fans wish they somehow had.

That’s right. I said it. No matter what the final score, in my mind the U.S. wins over any other individual country every single time.

The European players have every incentive in the world to think they’re somehow “proving” themselves superior to the U.S. every other year by winning this 3-day competition.

Not so fast.

First of all, the last time I checked, “Europe” is not a country. No matter what happens in this exhibition tournament every two years, no single country on Earth can come close to matching the talent, skill and accomplishments of the golfers of the good ol’ U.S. of A.

For example, one German guy helped lead Team Europe to their come-from-behind victory on Sunday afternoon. But could you imagine if Germany had to come up with 11 other golfers to compete head-to-head against the best 12 the U.S. has to offer? I have no idea just who such “other 11” German golfers these would be, but I’ll venture to guess that a team of American college golfers could trounce them easily.

Same goes for Belgium, Spain, and all the other countries that Team Europe has to look to in order to assemble a team that could even compete with the U.S. squad.

Think I’m being overly jingoistic here? Perhaps TOO strong with my patriotic enthusiasm (again, recognizing that this IS, after all, just an exhibition golf match, and not World War III)?

Allow me to point out some historical facts (that’s right, it’s those dreaded facts that always seem to get in the way of a dramatic statement)…

The Ryder Cup was first held in 1927 as a battle between the best golfers from the U.S. versus the best from Great Britain. The result? The U.S. so completely dominated the event year in and year out, winning 15 of the first 19 matches (with 1 tie), that they eventually decided to allow Great Britain to add players from Ireland.

The result? More of the same: From 1973 to 1977, the U.S. won all three matches against the new “Great Britain and Ireland” team.

Then Jack Nicklaus, The Greatest Golfer Who Ever Lived (and an American, by the way), made the sporting suggestion to allow a “Team Europe” to be formed, in order to create any semblance of competition for the vastly superior American team to have to deal with.

Since then, Jack’s charitable idea has done the trick: From 1979 until now, Team Europe has won 9 of the 17 matches against a much more talented (and much less motivated) American team.

You’re welcome, Team Europe.

In the same way that a big brother might let his two little brothers team up together to try to beat him in basketball, Team U.S.A. lets every country on an entire continent attempt to assemble an international all-star team capable of competing with us once every two years.

In other words, we value the spirit of a close competition in this exhibition match more than we value winning.

Because that’s good for attendance, good for the TV ratings and good for the overall growth in popularity of the sport that can continue to overpay and pamper its athletes only as long as it maintains its tremendous popularity (which a hotly-contested Ryder Cup tournament every two years certainly helps it do).

So enjoy your “victory,” Team Europe. We Americans are happy to have bent the rules enough to give you any shot of ever beating us, like any good big brother would do.

All right. I know what you’re thinking…

“Okay, Steve. Nice rant, but what’s any of this got to do with helping me grow my small business?”

Let me tell you what I felt as I watched the end of the matches on Sunday afternoon…

I saw a bunch of individuals who almost never have this opportunity to compete as a team rejoicing in the camaraderie and team spirit of the event. There were high-fives and fist-bumps galore – from both sides, as the momentum of each match shifted from hole to hole.

Then, when the German player sunk the final winning putt, these golfers – who otherwise NEVER root for each other, and NEVER rejoice in each other’s victories – were literally jumping onto each other’s backs and spraying each other with magnums of champagne (now THAT may be quite common – these are professional golfers, after all).

But seriously…

Pro golfers live solitary professional lives, for the most part, having virtually no one with whom to share their ups and downs, highs and lows, victories and defeats. This biennial competition, as contrived and basically meaningless as it is, provides them with a team-like experience that they so deeply long for – and NEED – in order to perform at their very best.

Just like us entrepreneurs.

Perhaps you’ve heard the famous saying, “The entrepreneur is the loneliest person on the planet.”

Who do we have to share our ups and downs with, to plan together with and share the joy of victories and the lessons learned in defeats?

When things are going great, who are you going to tell?

  • Your spouse? He or she will only spend more money and expect you to keep producing at this higher level, or worse, just say “Well, it’s about time!” But he or she is still not likely ever to fully comprehend the roller-coaster of emotions that is the life of an entrepreneur.
  • Your suppliers? Only if you want them to raise their prices or give you worse terms.
  • Your employees? Get ready to dole out raises and bonuses and still have a business full of complainers, once they start to feel they do all the work, but you make all that money.
  • Your customers? They’ll want you to “redistribute” those profits to them in the form of lower prices and better service.

Same when things are going bad. Are you really going to tell anyone? If you do, you’ll run the risk of losing your customers, employees, suppliers and yes – even your spouse.

And that’s why it’s so critically important for us entrepreneurs to artificially create our own “team” of fellow entrepreneurs as a support system, just like golf does with the Ryder Cup.

EVERY small business owner and entrepreneur NEEDS to be a part of a larger group. It’s the only way we can ever hope to function at our best.

If you don’t want to join Chicagoland’s Sharpest Entrepreneurs, with our advanced “Mastermind” entrepreneur teams, or SSSMarketingUniversity.com, with our advanced group coaching calls, then I STRONGLY encourage you to find a group of entrepreneurs that you DO want to be a part of, and get involved!

Every successful entrepreneur you know or have ever heard of is a member of at least one, if not more than one, “Mastermind”-type group (I’m a member of five). It’s the single most important common denominator of success I know of.

Even for European entrepreneurs.

Take advantage of my SSSMarketingUniversity.com FREE 30-day test drive and join a winning team. We’re constantly adding more and more content from the world’s top experts on small business marketing, and there’s already over 150 hours of video training plus millions of dollars worth of done-for-you ads, websites, business cards, salesletters, reports and other marketing materials to help you build the business of your dreams. We also hold weekly Group Coaching webinars to help guide you to success and let you know that you are NOT alone!

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One Response to What The Ryder Cup Means To Your Business

  1. Matthew Detrick Reply

    October 14, 2012 at 2:47 am

    You’re absolutely spot on with your comment about being part of a larger group, Steve! While I may not be a part of yours’ right now, I know I always received value every time I attended, in the past. Thank you for never steering me wrong and inspiring me to grow into the hypnotist, entrepreneur, and man I am today. (remember Bill Walsh’s event with Will Duquette?)

    Mastermind groups for any purpose simply work.

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