The Open: Lee Westwood says Bob MacIntyre will move on from being 'one dimensional'

While he wasn’t necessarily saying anything that Bob MacIntyre doesn’t know himself, having admitted so as recently as last week, Lee Westwood reckons the young Scot needs to move on from being “one-dimensional” to really make his mark in the game.

Bob MacIntyre and Lee Westwood chat during the first round of the abrdn Scottish Open at The Renaissance Club last week. Picture: Mark Runnacles/Getty Images.
Bob MacIntyre and Lee Westwood chat during the first round of the abrdn Scottish Open at The Renaissance Club last week. Picture: Mark Runnacles/Getty Images.

The Englishman in fairness, was speaking from experience as he delivered an honest assessment of the 24-year-old Oban man, who is the sole Scot in the field for the 149th Open at Royal St George’s this week.

Westwood sees himself in MacIntyre at the same age, attacking pins at every opportunity before learning over time when and when not to do that and becoming a prolific winner over time in the process.

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The pair were out together in the opening two rounds of the abrdn Scottish Open last week, having already been in the same group for the first two days of the Players Championship at Sawgrass earlier in the year.

“It’s nice to see him make a few birdies!” joked Westwood of the former, something MacIntyre himself had referred to as he recalled the latter, having missed the cut on his debut in the so-called fifth major.

“I think it took him about 60 holes playing with me to make a birdie. When he birdied the first hole on Thursday morning, I was very happy for him.

“No, he’s a good player. He’s got a good future. If I’m being completely honest, his game is still a little one dimensional, but he’ll learn that as he goes along. He'll learn the knockdown shots you need.

“When I look at him, I see a good short game and a good putter, which is obviously what you need, but I see he’s a little bit too flat out all the time at the moment, which is what kids do.”

Told that MacIntyre had said that himself at the same time as also acknowledged how he’d been aware of how Westwood had made an opening 65 in East Lothian “look simple”, the European No 1 added: “Well, there you go, he knows it. He’ll get the nuances of getting it round a links course, feeding it in, the subtleties that come with experience.

“I was exactly the same. I grew up watching Greg Norman and loved his aggressive nature. I always wanted to be like that and found out the hard way that you can’t play like that all the time.”

MacIntyre was crowned as European Tour Rookie of the Year in 2019 before landing his breakthrough win on the circuit in last year’s Cyprus Showdown, the latter coming soon after he’d linked up with Mike Thomson, a Fife caddie.

“It’s important to have a good caddie to pull the reins on him now and then,” said Westwood. “When I listen to them on the golf course, they sound like a sensible pair.”

Westwood said he can relate to MacIntyre finding himself as a nation’s sporting focus this week. “It’s much easier when there’s a group of you,” he remarked.

“At the turn of the century, I was the only one in the top 100 of the world rankings. Pretty much everything was about me when an Open came around. Now we’ve got 10 possible winners when we turn up to the big championships. It dissipates the focus a little bit.”

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