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“Leadership Qualities” Observed at 2018 Masters Tournament

By Seiki "Stan" Hirota

Originally published April 9, 2018 on LinkedIn

I was fortunate to have the opportunity to go and see the 2018 Masters Tournament, where I was very curious to see what kind of character these top elite golfers playing in Masters had.


I usually do my quick and dirty research with a sample size of 100, but the 53 golfers that made the cut for this year’s Masters was enough to do my little study. What I did was I secured a prime spot on the 1st hole tee ground and observed how the golfers greeted and interacted with people as they got on the course for the first time on Sunday, the last day of the four days tournament.


I held the 2018 Pairings and Starting Times sheet in one hand, and a pen in the other had, and as the golfers made it to the 1st tee, scored their ability to relate to other people, observing how they interacted with people around the 1st hole tee ground. This included how they interacted with their own caddie, how they interacted with their paired golfer and their caddie, the staff of Augusta National, the volunteers and the fans.


Through this exercise, I was able to observe and identify the golfers that have true leadership qualities, which I believe we can all learn from to become better leaders in business. Below are the golfers that scored high on my list. What they did in common was that they treated their caddie as equals, they showed respect and took time to greet their paired golfer and their caddie, they were accommodating to the kids around the tee ground and showed some gratitude to the volunteers for their generosity to make the event successful.


In starting order:

Group 3: Phil Mickelson (USA)

Group 6: Kiradech Aphibarnrat (Thailand)

Group 10: Zach Johnson (USA)

Group 11: Ryan Moore (USA)

Group 12: Adam Scott (Australia)

Group 13: Paul Casey (England)

Group 18: Tony Finau (USA)

Group 19: Matt Kuchar

Group 21: Justin Rose (England), Louis Oosthuizen (South Africa)

Group 22: Cameron Smith (Australia)

Group 23: Jordan Spieth (USA)

Group 26: Rickie Fowler (USA)

Group 27: Rory McIIroy (Northern Ireland)


I was very impressed with their ability to demonstrate their power of respect and civility, genuine humility, appreciation to generosity of others, easy smile, positive energy and just purely strength of character. They have the aura that what was important for them was something much bigger than their personal win in the tournament, just being an advocate and having the passion to help elevate the game of golf for more people to love and associate with.


Including myself when I was younger, too many so-called business leaders misinterpret what leading people truly is. They boss, they disparage, they demean. They do not motivate, they lack personal integrity and they lack depth in character. I was able to learn from the superstars making the cut for the 2018 Masters, that real leaders inspire. They treat everyone, regardless of the positions, with dignity and respect, and demonstrate professionalism and commitment to make the industry that they belong to better for everyone. I guess they see the big picture which other unfortunate do not see.


Let’s learn from these great leaders in golf and;

  1. Treat hard working people with generosity decently, regardless of their positions

  2. Always remember your roots, be gracious and appreciative and pass on the generosity to others

  3. Inspire others and spread positive energy to your surroundings, even when you don’t feel like it

I’m sure by doing this, we can all contribute in making our work environment and our communities better.

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