Bob MacIntyre aiming to both 'pick brains' and 'beat brains out' at Wentworth
All 12 of the players set to try and win the trophy back for Europe at Marco Simone Golf Club at the end of the month are in the field for the fourth Rolex Series event of the season at the Surrey venue.
Shane Lowry, one of Luke Donald’s six captain’s picks, will be defending the title, having held off both McIlroy and Rahm to land a notable success 12 months ago.
McIlroy and Rahm, the world No 2 and No 3 respectively, are being joined on this occasion by fourth-ranked Viktor Hovland, who recently landed the PGA Tour’s Fed-Ex Cup after back-to-back wins in the end-of-season Play-Offs.
Also teeing up in the $9 million tournament are Ryder Cup team members MacIntyre, Tommy Fleetwood, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Tyrrell Hatton, Ludvig Aberg, Nicolai Hojgaard, Justin Rose and Sepp Straka.
“It will be good to see them and pick their brains a bit,” said MacIntyre, who will be the first Scot to taste Ryder Cup action since Stephen Gallacher’s appearance at Gleneagles in 2014.
“But beating their brains out? That won't change. That’s what we try to do week in, week out. I’ll be trying to win. A few of us will be up there come Sunday and we’re all trying to beat each other as hard as we can.”
In last year’s event, which marked the start of a year-long qualifying campaign, MacIntyre found himself paired with Donald as the Englishman started to keep an eye on the potential contenders on his team. The following week, MacIntyre then won the DS Automobiles Italian Open on the Ryder Cup course, beating Fitzpatrick, the US Open champion at the time, in a play-off after also holding off McIlroy in the final round.
Having decided to pull out of this week’s Horizon Irish Open at The K Club after admitting the past fortnight had been “hell” due to the pressure off trying to hold on this automatic berth, the Oban man is looking forward to his week at Wentworth.
“It’s a good course, you have to drive it well, you have to play solid golf,” he said. “It’s a massive, massive event, one of the biggest on the schedule. It’s one that’s always on the schedule when you’re playing.”
Having already faced the Americans in the Walker Cup, MacIntyre is now licking his lips at the prospect of locking horns with the likes of Scottie Scheffler, Collin Morikawa, Rickie Fowler and Jordan Spieth on the biggest stage in golf, with the Ryder Cup attracting interest from a wider audience than any other event in the game.
“Not really,” he replied to being asked if was the type who had found himself lying in bed and daring to dream about this exciting opportunity. “I’m someone who doesn’t look too far into the future. I’m more focussed on the here and now. Obviously, I’ve thought about the feelings I’ll have and the nerves when playing but I’ll try and enjoy it and take it in my stride.
“It’s a dream to play in the Ryder Cup. As a kid growing up I wanted to play for Scotland, then you got to a certain level and it was the Walker Cup. You got to another level and it was professional golf and the only team event you want to play in professional golf is the Ryder Cup. Every pro golfer in Europe wants to play in it at some point. I’ll take it in my stride, but I want that trophy back just as much as anybody on that team.”
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