- Alistair Tait
MacIntyre has perfect Ryder Cup attitude
Judging players by their golf swings isn’t the best barometer of future achievement when watching elite amateurs. Far better to look at attitude. That’s usually a better gauge of how far a player may go in professional golf.
I loved Robert MacIntyre’s attitude when he was playing amateur golf. I still love it.
Most of those playing at the top of the amateur game have great swings. It’s those with something extra about them who make it to the top. They have that all-important intangible to separate themselves from those with the pretty swings.
Not many would have selected the left-handed Scot to be furthest ahead in the professional game right now when he lined up in the 2017 Great Britain & Ireland Walker Cup at uber-snooty Los Angeles Country Club. Yet the man from Oban on Scotland’s west coast has left his nine teammates in his wake. That was obvious when he was named the 2019 European Tour Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year. It was also no surprise when he became the first player from that team to win on the European Tour, triumphing in the Cyprus Showdown in November.
MacIntyre’s gritty attitude was evident when he made it to the final of the 2016 Amateur Championship at Royal Porhcawl. He just lost to the better player on the day, England’s Scott Gregory. That fighting attitude showed when he proved one of the few bright sparks in that losing GB & I Walker Cup team. MacIntyre went up against Cameron Champ twice and beat him 6&4 and halved the other match despite Champ bombing it past him.
No surprise then that MacIntyre could be the first of that Walker Cup team to play in the Masters as a professional. MacIntyre is currently the world’s 51st best player. If he can get inside the top 50 and stay there by March 25th, he’ll make his Masters debut. However, it won’t be the end of the world for the gritty Scot if he doesn’t travel to Augusta this year. He knows there will be further Masters.
“We’re not just trying to get in the top 50 in the world,” MacIntyre told The Scotsman ahead of this week’s Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship. “That is not my end goal. It’s just a stepping stone to where I want to be and, if I can crack that by March 25, I’ll be at the Masters.
“If not, I’ll only be 25 this year, so I have got plenty of years to be playing the Masters. But I’ve got a great chance this year, and, if I can do it, that would be great. And, if I keep playing the golf I have, why not?”
"It’s a byproduct of good golf. If I keep improving year on year, even just by little bits, it will all take care of itself.”
So will his Ryder Cup debut. The 24 year old might be content to wait for next year’s Masters, but he’s eager to add a Ryder Cup jacket this year to his Walker Cup one.
“It’s obviously been on the horizon, and I’m quite glad it was knocked back a year for me, physically,” he said, referencing the fact the match was cancelled last year.
“It’s in my sights, but again I’ve got to play good golf. Everything will happen for me if I play good golf, it comes down to that. Every goal and everything people say is achievable. If I can keep playing the way I was playing at the end of last year, personally I think anything’s achievable.”
He’ll be up for it. He has the right attitude to handle arguably the most intense pressure in golf, but then that’s been obvious since his amateur days.
#JustSaying: “Most guys I played with in amateur golf had better swings than me, but most didn’t make it to the European Tour. I did.” Eamonn Darcy