Bob MacIntyre opens up on playing Korn Ferry Tour, mental fatigue, making 'right choice' and Ryder Cup hopes at Wentworth

Bob MacIntyre has defended his decision to play in two events on the Korn Ferry Tour in search of a PGA Tour card instead of chasing Ryder Cup points on European soil, insisting his bid to make Padraig Harrington’s team was always going to come down to needing a big Wentworth week in the BMW PGA Championship.

Bob MacIntyre during the 149th Open at Royal St George's in July. Picture: Paul Ellis/AFP via Getty Images.

The 25-year-old, who has been on Harrington’s radar all year in the battle for spots in the biennial contest at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin next month, missed the cut in both the Boise Open and Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship on the PGA Tour’s feeder circuit over the past fortnight.

He had also been due to play in this week’s Korn Ferry Tour Championship, but is back home in Oban to clear his head after a mentally-testing few weeks before heading to Wentworth to give it his all in the final Ryder Cup qualifying event next week.

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That will determine the nine automatic spots, with Harrington naming his three captain’s picks soon after the last round has been completed at the Surrey venue.

“I think I made the right choice,” said MacIntyre, who, with Ian Poulter and Sergio Garcia looking to have strong claims for wildcards, seems set to be up against the likes of Justin Rose, Henrik Stenson, Bernd Wiesberger and Rasmus Hojgaard for the last of those spots as things stand.

“I try not to look back and regret things. I can still achieve everything that I tried to achieve in the last year with one great week at Wentworth. I can achieve it all. I’ve got the right team around me that advise me the right things, and I trust them as much as they trust me playing golf.

“Everything I’ve done has been right. If the Korn Ferry Tour had started the two weeks after the final event (the Wyndham Championship), that would have been ideal, but it’s not always ideal. I did the right thing to achieve a PGA Tour card. Everyone’s goal is to get one and play against the best players in the world. I take the bull by the horns and go for it.”

MacIntyre, who has put himself in the Ryder Cup reckoning on the back of top-12 finishes in both The Masters and The Open this year, insisted his decision to try and secure a PGA Tour card had been about trying to secure his “long-term future” as opposed to everything at the moment being focused on the short term,

“Exactly,” he said. “That’s the way we looked at it. If I came back to Europe and didn’t play well, I’m not going to get in the Ryder Cup team. If I went to the Korn Ferry finals and didn’t play well, I wasn’t getting my PGA Tour card and I wasn’t getting in the Ryder Cup.

“But, if I played well in Korn Ferry I was going to get my card and maybe the Ryder Cup. The first week in Boise was as strong a field as the Czech Masters. We planned it for a reason.

“The Ryder Cup is not over, the dream’s still there, I’ve got one event. There are guys who’ve played these last few weeks in Europe and are playing well, but I can pass them all in one big finish at Wentworth and that’s the target.

“I turn up at every golf tournament to win it. It’ll be no different at Wentworth, obviously there will be a lot riding on it if I have a chance on Sunday, but the way I play golf, it doesn’t change. If I’m in with a chance on Sunday, it’s reins off and let’s go.

“I’ll be an automatic pick if I win Wentworth. That’s pretty certain. My golf game last week was really good and I missed the cut because of mental fatigue, almost. The race hasn’t run, Until Padraig tells us the team, I’ve got as much of a chance as most of the guys.”

As has been the case in the past, MacIntyre is aiming to use some time in his happy place back home to get his mind where it needs to be to give himself the best possible chance to land a second European Tour victory in next week’s Rolex Series event.

“Physically I’m fine,” he insisted. “I’m in good a shape as I’ve been in a long time. My golf game last week was brilliant, but mentally I wasn’t at the races. Letting little things get to me. That happened a couple of years ago and I didn’t take a break, I just kept going and eventually it was at breaking point.

“Now I know the points where I can say, I need a break here. People around me can see it, Mikey [Thomson] my caddie can see it, my parents can see it, Stoddy [Iain Stoddart, his manager] can see it. It’s obvious when the engine’s starting to run low.

“But I was out there trying to achieve something so I just kept going and going because I was so close to it. I have to realise my mental health’s more important than my golf. I was getting annoyed at myself and I need a break.”

If Harrington decides to go with experience with his picks, then it likely that either Rose or Stenson would be ahead of MacIntyre if it does indeed come down to that final spot, but the young Scot is excited about being part of the storyline heading into that last lap.

“It’s where I want to be, the top end of European and world golf,” said MacIntyre. “The performances haven’t been great the last while but it’s only four weeks ago I was top 20 in a WGC.

“We got to Wentworth with everyone playing well, there’s going to be guys with pressure on them because they’re expected to be in that team, then there’s guys like me – I expect myself to play well at Wentworth like I expect to play well every week. It’s about putting in the work, the preparation time at home and letting it happen.”

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