Bob MacIntyre says he is heading to Augusta with the intention of competing with the best at the Masters and won’t settle for just making the cut at the prestigious tournament.
The Scot drew plaudits for his 12th-placed finish on his debut appearance in the competition last year and says he isn’t heading back to Georgia just to make up the numbers.
MacIntyre told STV he feels he can compare his best game favourably with any of the other top professionals and that’s why he is setting his sights high.
“My game feels great,” the 25-year-old said. “It’s golf, so you don’t know what is going to happen from one day to another. But I mean, I do all the right things.
“I’m preparing for golf tournaments and like this week, the game feels great.
“There’s so much more to golf than just your golf swing and my golf game feels so much better than that last year. I feel like I’ve got more shots, more belief in what I’m doing and that’s half the battle.
“If you can believe that what you’re doing is right then who cares what’s around you? Just play golf.
“We keep saying ‘Just keep punching until someone tells you to stop punching’ and if we do that then you know, it’s hopefully on the Sunday at Augusta then we can have a chance.”
He added: “To be at the top table, you’ve got to have a top golf game and I mean, I feel like I can compete with anyone.
“On my day, I can compete with anyone out there but everyone else thinks the same. Everyone else out there thinks that their best can compete with anyone, so for me it’s just about going out there playing some golf and trying your hardest. Never give up and see what it gets you
“But you also have to enjoy what you’re doing. This could be gone from you tomorrow. So it’s about enjoying the experience of playing Augusta and yeah, just go out there and give it your best shot and see where you end up.”
The Oban golfer’s nerveless performance at the historic venue last year impressed onlookers and he revealed that playing things down was part of his approach to playing the course for the first time. Having had the experience under his belt, this time he’s ready to embrace the occasion, the opportunity and the pressure.
“It’s a different approach this year,” he said. “Last year, we went there to try and calm the hype down. We tried to make it as relaxed as possible.
“This year, we’re going now to compete in the Masters, compete in a golf tournament. It’s not about trying to reduce hype.
“I mean, the hype is going to be there for everyone playing the golf tournament.
“This year it’s going to be probably more taking in the surroundings. We’re going to the clubhouse and whatnot and it’s going to be cool. But at the end of the day I’m there to play a golf tournament and I’m there to try and win.
“It’s as simple as that. There’s no other reason I’m there and teeing it up.
“It’s not to make the cut again. I know you’ve got to make the cut to have a chance to win but I want to be in the mix from the get-go and just have a chance on Sunday.”
MacIntyre will have family around him as he looks to make his mark and he says that support is huge thing for him.
“It’s something that you dream of as a kid,” he explained. “You watch the TV and you dream of playing in the Masters and the Par Three.
“But to be able to do it and have my dad there, my mum, my sister… unfortunately Nicola, my other sister, can’t make it but it’s just a big family affair for me, and hopefully we can have a good week.”
And while he dreams of a Green Jacket at the end of the week, he’s looking forward to an important moment at the start when the pre-tournament Par Three competition gets underway and he has an important caddy alongside him.
“Playing in the Par Three competition this year is going to be one of the coolest things I’ve ever done in my life because my old man, my dad’s going to be carrying my bag.
“He’s going to get to hit a shot.
“He’s going to be the most nervous man at Augusta. He’s a good player though, so he should be fine.”
The Masters begins at Augusta National on April 7.