At the same time, though, he is hoping that a run of big events, starting with this week’s WGC-Workday Championship at The Concession Golf Club in Florida, might throw up the two opportunities that the 24-year-old left-hander from Oban still dreams about and why not?
“There are only a couple of guys now I’d be a wee bit shell shocked to play with,” said MacIntyre, speaking before heading across the Atlantic on a trip that will hopefully culminate with a Masters debut in early April. “Obviously Phil Mickelson, who I’ve looked up to for years, and Tiger Woods. Other than that, it’s just a case of chatting my way round.”
The young Scot found himself in the same group as four-time major winner Els early on in his European Tour career before jumping at the chance when he was offered the opportunity to play alongside McIlroy and Fowler in the 2019 Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open at The Renaissance Club.
“That set me up for The Open,” he said of tying for sixth on his major debut at Royal Portrush the following week. “I just felt comfortable and I played with Justin Thomas at The Open and it changed my whole perspective of these top guys.
“I thought they were something different, but they’re not. They are just regular guys who work hard on their game and are at the top of their game.”
Being at the top of his game for a large chunk of the time since securing his European Tour card at the end of 2018 has earned MacIntyre a Rookie of the Year Award and a maiden win in the Cyprus Showdown.
Lying 43rd, he’s also now the highest-ranked left-hander in the world, having climbed above both two-time Masters champion Watson (52nd) and five-time major winner Mickelson (92nd) in the standings.
“It’s cool,” said the former Scottish Amateur champion of that feat. “It’s another achievement as a young kid you would dream of happening. The chances of it happening are so slim.
“I have managed to do that and nobody can take that away from here as I have held that for a period of time. It’s not a big major achievement for me, but it is cool to be able to say I have done it.”
Neither Woods or Mickelson are playing in this week’s $10.5 million event, but there are likely to be other opportunities over the coming few weeks when one of those dream pairings might materialise, with fellow lefty Mickelson probably the No 1 on his wish list.
“It would be massive for me as he is someone I have looked up to since I was a wee guy,” admitted MacIntyre of the 2013 Scottish Open and Open champion. “I thought I would have had the chance by now with Phil playing in a few European Tour events, but it hasn’t happened.
“I feel it will be a step up and a surreal moment, but, when I step back from it, it is just going to be another guy marking my scorecard and that swings it the same way I swing a golf club.
“It is no different from me playing with Paul Casey, Grant [Forrest] or Callum [Hill]. They are just there to mark your card, as simple as that. It is about taking each individual person separately and trying to embrace what’s going on and learn from what they do.”
By virtue of his top-50 status, MacIntyre has now been guaranteed a spot in next week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill while he is then set to tee it up for the first time in The Players Championship at Sawgrass the following week.
The WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play in Texas is also on his schedule, with a first trip to Augusta National on the cards if he is still inside that top 50 on the conclusion of that.
“It’s where everyone wants to be,” said MacIntyre of making that breakthrough into the game’s elite bunch of players. “It’s where I have wanted to be for the last year when I had my sights set on it.
“Now that I am there, it’s about trying to take the opportunity by playing well in these events to climb the rankings even more and try to put your own mark on the world of golf.”
Those five upcoming events carry a total prize fund of just under $60 million while a huge pile of world ranking points are also up for grabs. “Huge,” replied MacIntyre to being asked about his excitement levels, “not just for me but my caddie Mike [Thomson] as well. It’s another step up in the standard of golf.
“Hopefully it could be five world class tournaments in a row. It is about getting comfortable as once I get comfortable I start playing good golf. I have played a few big events but it is about being comfortable week-in and week-out.
“I have felt comfortable on the European Tour for a good year and a bit now. It is a step up but it is about trying to feel you belong there. I know a lot of the guys out there now and I feel comfortable amongst most of them.
“There are still the odd people who if I was drawn with them I would feel a little starstruck. That is part of golf and until I get over the line and play with these guys it will feel the same way.”