Rankings rise for Bob MacIntyre without hitting a shot
Even before hitting a competitive blow in 2021, Bob MacIntyre has edged tantalising close to breaking into the world’s top 50 for the first time.
Helped by his breakthrough win on the European Tour in the Cyprus Showdown in November, the 24-year-old from Oban had finished 2020 sitting a career-best 55th in the global standings.
In the first update of the new year, he has climbed another two spots, handing him an unexpected boost ahead of a return to action in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship in a fortnight’s time.
MacIntyre needs to be in the top 50 on 29 March in order to secure a debut appearance in this year’s Masters alongside two of his compatriots, Martin Laird and Sandy Lyle.
Laird secured a first trip to Augusta National since 2013 on the back of his fourth PGA Tour triumph in the Shriners Hospital for Children Open success in Las Vegas in October, while 1988 winner Lyle is scheduled to make his 40th appearance in the event in April.
MacIntyre, who has already earned a berth in the rescheduled 149th Open Championship at Royal St George’s in July on the strength of his top-10 finish at Royal Portrush in 2019, will have other ranking targets in his sights before that Masters cut-off.
He’ll get into the WGC-Mexico Championship if the left-hander is inside the top 50 on 22 February, while a first appearance in The Players Championship will be on the cards at Sawgrass in mid-March if that is the case on 1 March.
Laird, who starts his 2021 calendar campaign in the PGA Tour’s Sentry Tournament of Champions in Hawaii this week, has already secured his place in The Players, as well as the US Championship in May and the WGC-St Jude Invitational in August.
In addition to Laird, Lyle and MacIntyre, Paul Lawrie is the only other Scot with an exemption for either majors or WGCs in 2021, the 1999 winner having a spot available to him in The Open.
Laird, incidentally, sits 85th in the updated world rankings, followed by Calum Hill (197th), Marc Warren (220th), Scott Jamieson (226th), Russell Knox (227th) and Connor Syme (228th).
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