Coronavirus survivor’s emotional tee-off with Bob MacIntyre in Oban

James Scott hits opening shot at Glencruitten as golf returns

James Scott, Covid-19 survivor, right, is given the honour of restarting golf at Glencruitten Golf Club in Oban with Bob MacIntyre. Picture: Kevin McGlynn

A 63-year-old coronavirus survivor from Oban marked golf’s return at Glencruitten Golf Club, admitting the chance to do so alongside local hero Bob MacIntyre had left him in tears.

James Scott spent 38 days in hospital in Oban and in critical care at Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow. He was told after waking from an induced coma last month that his 84-year-old mother Jessie had sadly died with the virus.

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Scott was close to death’s door himself before making a “miraculous recovery”. As a way of saying thanks to medical staff, he’s launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise £15,000 towards a special infection control room at Oban hospital.

A keen golfer, Scott was asked if he’d like to hit the opening shot as Glencruitten reopened along with other Scottish courses and was joined as he did so by MacIntyre, who lives beside the course.

“I felt absolutely honoured and so humble,” said Scott of getting that opportunity. “It brought me to tears. When I was phoned up by George MacKenzie [the club captain], he said, ‘because of what you have been through, we would like you to come up and do this’. I said it would be an absolute pleasure, and it has been.

“The course is looking fantastic. Dougie the greenkeeper [Bob’s dad] has done an excellent job and to be able to hit a ball off with Robert MacIntyre as well makes me feel so good. I have known him since he was young and he is a lovely boy. It’s so nice and great to have the honour of doing this today.”

Proud of his Oban roots, MacIntyre was equally humbled to join Scott on the first tee. “It’s great,” said the Scottish
No 1 and last year’s European Tour Rookie of the Year. “To see a survivor of this disease, it’s bigger than golf. It’s more a mark of respect for James and the Scott family. I have been brought up to respect others and if someone is struggling you get behind them and give them a boost. Hopefully this has done that for James today.”

Asked if he felt the reopening of courses can bring some positivity for people in Scotland, the 23-year-old added: “It will. In a small town like this, we are seeing a huge difference at the golf club because other sports are not being played just now. The whole country is going to take a boost from golf, but we have still got to stay safe and keep our distance from folk.

“This is still a serious danger to everyone. Some people don’t see it affecting them, but it can get anyone, as we have seen with James and unfortunately Jessie. It’s just about staying safe, keeping your distance and getting on with life.”

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