‘When did you first feel you belonged? - the question Coltart would like to ask MacIntyre

Andrew Coltart, in his role as Sky Sports' on-course specialist, has been impressed by Bob MacIntyre's start on the European Tour. Picture: Getty.
Andrew Coltart, in his role as Sky Sports' on-course specialist, has been impressed by Bob MacIntyre's start on the European Tour. Picture: Getty.
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It may not necessarily be in front of the Sky Sports cameras, but Andrew Coltart has a question for fellow Scot Bob MacIntyre when they next come across each other.

“It would be interesting to know from him if he could put his finger on what particular point it was he felt he belonged out here and was comfortable out here,” said Coltart, referring to the European Tour.

He would like to find out because, in finding his feet quickly on the circuit as he won Rookie of the Year last season, MacIntyre succeeded where lots of others have failed after having star potential in the amateur ranks.

“It’s all very well being a good amateur, but some of them don’t make it as they don’t feel comfortable or fit into the environment,” added Coltart, a two-time European Tour winner before calling time on his playing career.

“I wonder when Bob thought to himself, ‘this is me, I love it’. He was fantastic last year. He was going along for the ride, everything was great and everything was a bonus. Then, all of a sudden, he came under the scrutiny of the media.

“He was being asked every week about the Rookie of the Year and that’s parallel to being in the running for the Ryder Cup and dealing with the same sort of scrutiny.

“That changes your perceptions about what life can be like out on tour, and he seemed to take to that like a duck to water.”

Like Coltart, who started out at Thornhill in Dumfriesshire, MacIntyre, pictured, a member at Glencruitten in Oban, is proving that good Scottish golfers don’t necessarily have to come from the Central Belt or the Aberdeen area.

“Bob comes from humble beginnings and he just loves life and what is going on in front of him,” added Coltart, speaking exclusively to The Scotsman. “I just see him as a very likeable young lad. Other people would talk about someone with the X-factor being Poulter-esque with a strut.

“I don’t see that with Bob. I see a lovely quiet confidence, which is testament to where he’s come from and his background. He’s welcomed the golfing world and made himself very likeable throughout golfing circles. Some people are too nice. You want them to have that killer instinct. But, at the same time, it’s a massive compliment to him that he’s a good lad.

“He thinks about his answers to questions as well. He’s very clever with some of his responses. When he talks about his mother and some of the stuff going on at home, for example, I think that is hilarious. He doesn’t have that other type of X-factor that ruffles a few feathers and puts noses out of joint.”

Coltart’s career was pretty impressive. In addition to title triumphs in the 1998 Qatar Masters and 2001 Great North Open on the European Tour, he also won the Australian PGA Championship twice and represented his country in both the World Cup and 
Dunhill Cup.

“I’d do things differently,” he said, recalling the events that led to him calling it a day as a player at 40, a decision that coincided with him starting his current career as a member of the Sky Sports Golf team.

“I got to a stage in my career where things were going pretty good, where I was enjoying it. But, in my search to improve and get better, I fell out of love with the game and, as a result of that, I had less enjoyment and played worse.

“That was purely down to a desire to improve and get further up the ladder and, ultimately, I went down a path that wasn’t conducive to the way I played the game and I suffered at the end.

“Do I have any regrets? When I was sitting in Wallace Hall Academy in Thornhill trying to pass my O Grade and Higher exams, I would have given anything just to be out on tour for just one year, so there are no regrets.”

The 49-year-old, who is now back living in Richmond after an enjoyable spell at Aberlady in East Lothian, has been toying with the idea of entering this summer’s Senior Open Championship at Sunningdale. “When I think long and hard about it, though, I’m not sure as I only play around six times per year,” he said.

He is much happier these days with a microphone in his hand and, though not complaining about having to do a stint in the “box” during the recent Saudi International, his more regular on-course beat is what he loves most.

“Being out on the course is fantastic as you are feeling the vibe of the event and experiencing the atmosphere, the tension,” he said. “You are able to look at how the players are reacting to situations on the ground and find themselves in. Off the back of it, you get some decent exercise during the year.”