Rory McIlroy: Robert MacIntyre has 'great chance' of Scottish Open success

McIlroy says the Scot is a talented player and popular figure on the Tour.

Rory McIlroy has praised Scotland’s Robert MacIntyre, saying the Oban golfer has had a year to remember and is a real contender for the Scottish Open.

The pair had a thrilling battle for the trophy at The Renaissance Club in 2023, with McIlroy’s memorable two-iron on the final hole setting him up for a dramatic and narrow victory over MacIntyre.

The Northern Irishman is back in Scotland to defend his title and believes his Ryder Cup teammate will be a player to watch this week after a series of successes since they last played in East Lothian.

“He’s had an amazing 12 months,” McIlroy said. “We all know the talent that he’s had.

“It would have been great for him to win the Scottish Open last year. But he’ll have plenty more chances.

“He’s playing well so he’s got another great chance this week.

“To make the Ryder Cup team, to have the week that he had in Rome, to win in Canada with his dad on the bag… it’s been a brilliant 12 months for Bob.

“Everyone on the Tour has been delighted for him because he’s such a good lad.

“He doesn’t forget where he comes from and he gets back to Oban as much as he can. He’s a great lad and everyone is really happy to see the success that he’s had.”

While McIlroy is looking for a repeat of last year’s success on the links course, the four-time major champion also aiming to show resilience after one of the biggest disappointments he’s endured.

It’s less than a month since two missed putts cost the 35-year-old the US Open, and a first major success in a decade, and he took time out of the spotlight to get over the loss.

He believes he can now take that pain and use it to push on to win again.

“I look back on that day just like I look back on some of the toughest moments in my career and I’ll learn a lot from it and hopefully put that to good use,” he said.

“It’s something that’s been a bit of a theme throughout my career, I’ve been able to take those tough moments and turn them into great things not very long after that.

“It’s been a while since I’ve won a major but I felt worse after some other losses. I felt worse after Augusta in ’11 and I felt worse after St Andrews [2022 Open]. It was up there with the tough losses but not the toughest.

“The way I’d describe Pinehurst on Sunday was it was a great day until it wasn’t.

“I did things on that Sunday that I haven’t been able to do the last couple of years, took control of the golf tournament, held putts when I needed to – well, mostly – made birdies and really got myself in there.

“It was a tough day, it was a tough few days after that, but as you get further away from it happening you start to see the positives and all the good things you did throughout the week.”

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