There are some days that are a bit special in a working life and one of those was yesterday when we got to host a wonderful conversation between two of Ireland’s greatest sportsmen as part of an Inside The Ropes initiative from the European Tour.
Paul McGinley and AP McCoy occupy a place on any list of Ireland’s greatest sporting winners and last night we shared memories and some behind the scenes insight on what life was like at the top of their game.
In front of an audience of friends and business leaders from across corporate Ireland the two were open and honest and if you didn’t leave with one or two gems on how to live your own life better then you must not have been listening.
McGinley spoke of the planning and preparation that went into every aspect of his Ryder Cup captaincy in 2014 and on the background to how that level of preparation came about. Nigel Mansell, the former Formula One World Champion explained to him just how he worked out every combination of possibilities and how he would react in a race environment.
The pure clarity of thought that is needed to be your best in moments of extreme pressure in something which comes naturally to very few but by working it out in advance, that clarity can be developed and be there when needed.
McGinley tells his story well and it was a rare privilege to get to hear his thoughts in an intimate and relaxed setting.
Being a commercial partner within sport is much more about partnership than what used to be known as sponsorship and that is what the European Tour is seeking to get under the skin of in this new concept of bringing existing and potential partners of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open together as friends and creating memorable experiences.
“It is about building relationships and working with partners so that everybody gets what they want and what they need, said Nathan Homer, The European Tour’s Chief Commercial and Marketing Officer.
A big part of what makes golf special is the opportunity to get close to the stars in a way that few other sports can provide.
AP McCoy got into playing alongside friends from the weighing room and while he admitted to still being something of a hacker the opportunity to play in a pro-am alongside Tiger Woods was something he could not imagine in other sports.
Book your place to join us for breakfast and networking at the Marker Hotel on Thursday, January 18th and to hear about some of the most interesting trends in commercial partnerships, the most exciting events coming up in 2018 and the thoughts of GAA Director General Paraic Duffy on the past, present and future of the GAA. Check Ticket availability right here.
He playfully asked McGinley what it was like for the Pro’s having to look at players from other walks of life trying to do what he makes look so simple but the simple answer was that golf is a game that anyone can find their own level at. It was certainly a different and more enjoyable way than to spend a day jumping over Aintree’s fences alongside Tony McCoy at the height of his powers.
This year’s Dubai Duty Free Irish Open takes place at Ballyliffen on the Donegal Coast. The scenery is spectacular and with this year’s tournament taking place on a great links course only two weeks before the Open Championship at Carnoustie, there are high hopes that there will be a star-studded lineup.
Rory McIlroy’s strong support for the tournament through the Rory Foundation has elevated Ireland’s main contribution to the European Tour to a level that once might have looked impossible. As part of the Rolex series, this year’s prize money will be an eye-watering seven million euros and while he said it was unlikely Paul McGinley did outline how it might be possible that even Tiger Woods might make an appearance.
Regardless, we know already that the crowds will be large, knowledgeable and enthusiastic. Ticket sales are already ahead of 2017 at Portstewart and with a few more events to come in the Inside the Ropes Series there is little doubt that the corporate sector will be enthused and wanting to be part of a winning combination.
The reaction to last night was great. The branding by Atomic Sport, the location at the Dean Hotel and hosting by CSL Events were impeccable, and it was a real pleasure to work with the European Tour team of Nathan, Max Hamilton and James Hastings-Trew. An early highlight in the New Year already and certainly whets the appetite for the Summer ahead.