MacIntyre has now played five events since that maiden main tour success in the Cyprus Showdown. He’s finished in the top 25 on each occasion and is a combined 48-under-par. He’s playing out of his skin, hence those high expectations.
That second win will eventually come and many others thereafter, you suspect, but, at this moment in time, he deserves a bit of patience from the nation willing him to become our new sporting superstar.
MacIntyre himself was a tad disappointed that he ended up having to settle for third place behind Paul Casey in the Omega Dubai Desert Classic on Sunday. That was understandable given that he’d played great all week and definitely had a win in his sights when he moved into a share of the lead early on in the final round.
However, a bit of perspective is required as the desert dust settles on that last-day duel between MacIntyre and Casey on the Majlis Course at Emirates Golf Club.
In just his 50th appearance on the European circuit, the 24-year-old Scot was up against a proven winner in Casey and, on this particular day, the Englishman just happened to produce one of the most composed performances you are likely to see. “He controlled himself brilliantly,” said MacIntyre of his conqueror afterwards.
With his tail up after a brilliant 64 on Saturday, Casey was always going to be a tough man to beat, and nothing negative whatsoever should be taken from how the last day panned out for MacIntyre.
He was going along exactly how he wanted, really, until being hit with the golfing equivalent of a punch in the stomach as a short par putt spun viciously out of the hole at the eighth. No matter how many times you watch that video clip, it’s still hard to believe your eyes.
Unfortunately, the greens at this terrific venue were not up to their usual high standard on this occasion, something that will be rectified for next year, and players were starting to find their patience being tested all around the course when MacIntyre then three-putted from close range at the tenth.
That was it, effectively, as far as winning was concerned, but the way MacIntyre responded to a disappointing run of four straight bogeys spoke volumes about what’s inside him as he gave himself birdie chances on every single hole thereafter.
The Oban man has found himself in the final group now on three occasions, finishing second the other two times. He’s certainly not thrown away any of his big chances and, as he knows better than anyone, it’s about giving himself those opportunities time and time again that is the big thing in terms of what he can eventually go on to achieve in the game.
“He knows how to win,” opined Wayne Riley, a former Scottish Open champion, in his Sky Sports Golf summary after following MacIntyre and Casey in the final group on Sunday. “But, on a big stage like this, he saw how it was done today by a seasoned campaigner in Paul Casey and that’s what he learned today.”
Referring to MacIntyre’s post-round interview, the Australian added: “I felt he was like, ‘you got me today and I’m coming back, I’m not scared, I’m a winner, I’m here to stay’, and that’s what you’ve got in Robert MacIntyre.”
On the back of his latest strong display, the left-hander has broken into the world’s top 50 for the first time, a climb of eight spots to 44th seeing him leapfrog both Tiger Woods and Bubba Watson. His sights are set on the top 10, though, and his lofty ambition certainly seems justified.
Fuelled by European captain Padraig Harrington, MacIntyre’s Ryder Cup credentials have been well and truly cranked up over the past week, with Casey saying he’d feel “very comfortable” standing beside the Scot on the first tee at Whistling Straits in September.
You get the feeling he’d not be alone in that respect and what an exciting six or seven months lie ahead for MacIntyre, though we all need to remember that he still faces a hell of a battle to make that 12-man team and will probably not to do so under his own steam as opposed to relying on a captain’s pick.
For now, though, we should all share the same view expressed by his home club, Glencruitten, in this social media post at the weekend: “Yet another week where Robert MacIntyre has done his club, home town and country proud again!”
And that, it must be said, is both as a golfer and a person.
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