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  • Alistair Tait

Bob MacIntyre’s selfless act of class

It’s 96 miles from Glencruitten Golf Club in Oban to Dunaverty Golf Club on the tip of the Mull of Kintyre. According to Google Maps, the fastest journey is two hours and 17 minutes. It’s not a journey to be made quickly considering the stunning scenery that lies on Scotland’s rugged west coast.

Bob MacIntyre didn’t make that trip on Wednesday 28 April to look at scenery he knows only too well. Nor did he travel to play delightful Dunaverty. He made the 192-mile round trip, part of it on what Paul McCartney famously called “The Long and Winding Road,” out of respect in a selfless act of class that is more than worthy of mention.

MacIntyre’s fellow Scot Jock McVicar was laid to rest in his beloved Southend near Dunaverty Golf Club this past Wednesday. Jock’s closest friends and fellow golf writers Martin Dempster, Jim Black, Nick Rodger, Steve Scott and former Open Championship press officer Stewart McDougall came from various points throughout Scotland to pay their respects to a man simply known as “The Doyen” for his long-standing stature of nearly 50 years covering Scotland’s game.

As Dempster et al proceeded in the funeral cortege from Campbelltown to Southend and then on to a small reception at Dunaverty Golf Club, Bob MacIntyre cut a lonely figure standing by the side of the road. He was dressed in black, his head bowed as Jock’s coffin went past him by. MacIntyre was the last person Jock passed before reaching the cemetery and his final resting place.

As Martin communicated to fellow Association of Golf Writers, MacIntyre...

“...had made the journey down from Oban for that moment alone. It was a classy gesture by the 2019 European Tour Rookie of the Year, who had struck up a strong bond with Jock through their Argyll connection.”

A classy gesture indeed.

Covid-19 restrictions meant MacIntyre couldn’t attend the small ceremony to pay Jock his last respects. The European Tour winner could have been forgiven for staying at home in Oban and raising a quiet glass in Jock’s memory and no one would have thought ill of him. Besides, the 24 year old had already honoured Jock’s memory in a significant way by wearing a black ribbon during his successful Masters debut out of respect for Jock’s passing .

Of course, it’s not the first time a player has honoured the passing of a golf journalist. In January 2012 myself and a few other golf writers travelled to Watford to attend the funeral of former golf writer Alan Booth. I took my place in the church only to find former European Tour winner and Ryder Cup player Ken Brown sitting in the same pew. Brown had come out of respect for a man who had chronicled his days on tour. Nick Faldo, whom Booth had reported on too, couldn’t be there but sent his respects.

Too often successful tour professionals get tarred with the same “selfish only care about themselves” brush. That couldn’t be further from the truth. This game is full of players who do selfless acts behind the scenes through eponymous foundations and charity to help others less fortunate.

I’ve been a Bob MacIntyre fan since I saw him play in the final of the 2016 Amateur Championship at Royal Porthcawl. I’m an even bigger fan following his selfless 192-mile round trip to pay his respects to Jock McVicar.

I suspect I’m not alone.

#JustSaying: “Many times I've been alone / And many times I've cried / Anyway, you'll never know / The many ways I've tried / And still they lead me back / To the long and winding road / You left me standing here / A long, long time ago.” Paul McCartney

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