He has been compared to Rory McIlroy and has scared Dustin Johnson. But Bob MacIntyre, the best left-hander on the planet, is quickly making a big name for himself in the golfing world before his Masters debut this week.
Scotland’s No.1 has the same jaunty walk and ability to talk as the Ulsterman. And there is the similar X Factor about the 24-year-old from Oban who knocked the world No.1 out of the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play last month.
“I am miles off what Rory was doing at my age though it is not a bad comparision to be honest,” said MacIntyre. “But I don’t try to copy him or do anything like that. I try to be myself and I just try to enjoy myself as much as I can. People take notice when you play good golf, and I think people took notice when I gave DJ a bit of a scare.”
The world No.44 was left “a little disappointed” not to beat the world No.1 after only halving their group match from two up. But he then produced the shot of his life in his final group match by hitting his drive on the 375-yard par 4 18 th to just over two feet while Johnson and Kevin Na were still on the green in the match ahead. The eagle and the half point sent MacIntyre through to the quarter-finals.
“I didn’t say anything to Dustin,” he smiled. “He obviously saw the wee Scotland flag roll up beside him and thought: ‘Oh well, it is home time!”
It is not the first time the Scot has been noticed by Americans. “You have to earn the respect of the top guys and that is totally fine,” MacIntyre explained. “I played with Patrick Reed in Turkey and I shots lights out and it was great – we chatted all the way around. It is almost as if he took me under his wing for a wee bit. I am sure I will play nine holes with him at Augusta and pick his brains. Billy Horschel is the same – the two of them have been absolutely brilliant for me.”
The start of his relationship with Kyle Stanley was not so great at the 2019 Open. The two-time winner on PGA Tour twice hit the ball into the crowd without yelling fore – the second time hitting the mother of the Scot’s caddie Greg Milne. MacIntyre and Stanley exchanged words. But the American sent congratulations to the Scot when he won his first European Tour title in Cyprus last November. “It just shows that he is a good guy himself,” MacIntyre said. But the 2019 European Tour rookie of the year, who finished tied sixth, had shown rare courage on his Major debut.
“It is just the way I am brought up,” explained the former shinty player. “I am a shy person but when I am in a battle field, if you shy you will be eaten up. You go out there and stand proud and you have got to feel tough and that is the way I am. It is the same on a shinty pitch. If you go into tackles scared, you are going to get hurt. If you do something wrong, I will say.”
MacIntyre arrived in Augusta on Friday to get ready for Augusta National. “We are not here just to make up the numbers or take photographs or get souvenirs from the place,” he said. “I am a professional golfer – it is where I want to be. It is not just somewhere I want to be for a week, it is somewhere I want to be for my whole career.”