Why Bob MacIntyre is now one of European Tour's poster boys

A couple of things struck me as I watched a mix of the Sky Sports coverage of the European Tour, PGA Tour and Walker Cup action over the weekend. Or, more specifically, the advert breaks in between.

World No 1 Dustin Johnson shakes hands with Bob MacIntyreafter a tie in their match during the World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play at Austin Country Club in Texas at the end of March. Picture: Steve Dykes/Getty Images.

Admittedly late on Sunday night as the Walker Cup was heading to its conclusion at Seminole, one of the adverts was for a company that aims to help people spice things up in the bedroom and that made me laugh.

Having been lucky to attend a few Walker Cups over the years, I honestly couldn’t think of anything more inappropriate than the sight of bare flesh popping up on the screen just before Barclay Brown, wearing his bucket hat to combat the Florida sunshine, was about to hit a key shot into the 18th hole.

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Either the audience for a Walker Cup has changed vastly in less than two years or someone in charge of the advert schedule was having a laugh, though maybe not when you think we have constantly been told about advice for erectile dysfunction being on offer over the past couple of years.

Earlier in the weekend, my attention had also been caught in the breaks during the Canary Islands Championship on the European Tour and, this time, it was something that showed just how far young Bob MacIntyre has come in a short period of time.

In promoting its coverage of this week’s Betfred British Masters at The Belfry, Sky Sports used an image of Danny Willett, who is hosting the event at the Ryder Cup venue, and MacIntyre.

That, of course, is not exactly earth shattering, I know, but, at the same time, it is an indication of the impact the young man from Oban has made over the past few months.

Unfairly most of the time, criticism is often aimed at Sky Sports for a lack of coverage of Scottish golfers and, in particular, MacIntyre, which probably harps back to a wonder shot from him at the 17th hole at Hillside in the Betfred British Masters two years ago not being captured.

You only have to listen to the likes of Ewen Murray, Andrew Coltart, Nick Dougherty, Tim Barter and Tony Johnstone during commentary to know exactly what they think of the left-hander, not just a golfer but also as a human being.

This is MacIntyre’s first European Tour outing since early February and he’ll be in one of the marquee groups in Wednesday’s opening round on his first visit to the Sutton Coldfield venue.

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Two-time major winner Martin Kaymer could easily have been the other player used alongside 2016 Masters champion Willett or even Bernd Wiesberger, a double Rolex Series victor, but they went with MacIntyre.

Topping a group that included world No 1 Dustin Johnson in the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play in Texas in March would have been a factor, as would the fact he then tied for 12th on his Masters debut to secure a return trip to Augusta National next April.

World No 45 MacIntyre will be the highest-ranked player in the field in the Midlands before heading back across the Atlantic for next week’s US PGA Championship, the season’s second major, at Kiawah Island.

He’ll have enjoyed some time at home after a lengthy stint in the US but, at the same time, will be desperate to get back to the coalface and chiselling out results in the peak period of the season.

For Willett, this will be a week to treasure as he joins Ian Poulter (2015), Luke Donald (2016), Lee Westwood (2017 and 2020), Justin Rose (2018) and Tommy Fleetwood (2019) in hosting the British Masters on home soil.

Due to the fact he was helped by Jordan Spieth’s implosion at the 12th hole in the final round, there are times when you feel that Willett doesn’t get the credit he deserves for his Green Jacket victory just over six years ago.

Add in the fact that two of his seven European Tour wins have come in the BMW PGA Championship and the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai and the likeable Yorkshireman certainly deserves this opportunity.

It was brilliant to see the European Tour back at The Belfry last summer during its UK Swing and now the likes of Willett, MacIntyre, Kaymer and Wiesberger will all be aiming to boost 2021 Ryder Cup hopes at a venue that is synonymous with the biennial event.

I wonder what those advert breaks have in store for us this week!

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