The left-hander’s milk-white face as he sat with the members of his team at the back of the driving range after missing the cut in the Rolex Series event 12 months ago said it all, especially as it came on the back of an early exit as well in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.
It was probably the low point in his career to date, but, having gone away and used that double disappointment in a positive sense, the 26-year-old is back at the Majlis Course as part of a ten-strong Scottish contingent with a smile on his face.
“Big time,” he replied to being asked how he’d managed to get over his slow start to last season to land a second DP World Tour triumph in the Italian Open a few months later and put himself in the mix for the Ryder Cup on the same course in September.
“I remember Portugal in 2021. I shot 82 in the final round there, though there was a lot going on that week away from me trying to play golf. I didn’t know what I was doing and it was the same here last year.
“You get to a point where you want to do certain things and, over the winter, I really worked hard at the mental side of the game as well as my golf and I think you are seeing the results on the golf shots.”
MacIntyre started his 2023 campaign by picking up three points out of four in the inaugural Hero Cup before tying for 20th behind Edinburgh-based Frenchman Victor Perez in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship last week. He was third here in 2021 and feels his game is in similar shape to then.
“Two years ago, I was really driving it well, my iron play was good and I was rolling it nicely,” he recalled. “I feel I am getting back to that just now. Last week there were some really, really good signs of something to come and I am really looking forward to this week.”
It could be a big one if he gets the flatstick working. “The putting was horrific last week,” he said. “I wasn’t missing wee ones. It was more a case of me not getting the speed and, when that’s the case, you can’t get the breaks right.
“But I’ve seen good signs out there already. They are more my speed of greens just now. The course is in good nick and there’s not much changed. If anything, it’s got a bit longer, which makes it a bit tougher.”
MacIntyre took part in ‘Golf Psycho’, the DP World Tour’s latest social media production, after also doing ‘Chase the Ace’ towards the end of last year.
“It was just a laugh,” he said of joining Tommy Fleetwood, Tyrrell Hatton, Shane Lowry, Ryan Fox and Thomas Pieters in the Golf Psycho shoot, which is a parody of ‘American Psycho’. “When I was told about it and who it was with, I was like ‘geez, am I really in that group?’. But it’s about trying to promote brands and I try and have a laugh.
“As much as I am serious about my golf - and I want to win every week - outside of golf I love having a laugh and sitting in that room with Tyrrell, who I was with for most of it, was hilarious. I loved it.”