From Oban to upstate New York, this year’s US Open marks another chapter in the fast-moving career for Scotland’s Robert MacIntyre.
The former Rookie of the Year is heading to Winged Foot aiming to make his mark in a star-studded field and he says he is encouraged he can hold his own in elite company again.
“If I play well, I feel like I can compete with anyone in the world,” he told STV. “I’ve just been struggling lately with my game, but I’m starting to see good signs.
“Even last week, playing two rounds under par at Valderrama shows that I’m controlling my golf ball and my mental side.
“Obviously, Winged Foot is going to be tough but again if I hit the shots I’m trying to hit then it’s just a golf course at the end of the day.”
The last time the US Open was held at Winged Foot was back in 2006, when fellow Scot Colin Montgomerie needed a par to win on the final day – but shot a double bogey. The course has a difficult reputation but MacIntyre said even after watching Montgomerie’s moment he won’t be intimidated.
“I’d never actually seen Monty’s final hole at 2006,” he said. “We were talking about it at Valderamma and I decided to watch it when I got home and I watched it all unfold.
“It’s a golf course, at the end of the day. I don’t try and make it something it’s not.
“If I play well, then its a good week, if I don’t then it’s a short week.”
MacIntyre admits the return to competitive golf after lockdown has a strange quality to it, with no fans permitted. He revealed this week he’ll have family over to help and that can only help.
“It’s been tough, especially in Europe,” he said. “In the States it’s a bit more free.
“I’ve got a caddy, a coach, and my mum is coming out. She’s going to do the cooking and keep everything in check.
“When I go to America, I’ve got a better support network and I can keep it as close to normal life as I can. But in Europe, it’s you and the caddy. You can’t really mingle with other players because of the buddy system.”
If he overcomes the odds and wins the trophy, MacIntyre would like nothing better to take it to his grandad back in Oban whom he’s not been able to visit in five months.
“I’ve not seen him in about 20 weeks,” he said. “He’s in his mid-eighties.
“He loves a good chit chat and I just don’t want to go and risk it for us to see each other. I can go and wave to him out the window, but I think the best place for me to stay safe is here at home in Oban.
“Everybody else has gone to see him but I just cant, you just don’t know what I’m carrying. Obviously I’m getting tested every week for it but I
just don’t feel like it’s the right thing to do.
“If I win, I’m sure he’d be hanging out the window with a rum and coke celebrating! We’ll just see what happens.”