Robert MacIntyre will fulfill a childhood dream on Thursday when he makes his debut at the Masters. Far from overawed by the occasion, the Scotsman is at Augusta National to win and hopes some “little secrets” sought from 2018 champion Patrick Reed could make it an extra special week.
Despite the novelty of his surroundings, MacIntyre, who qualified this year by virtue of his top-50 world ranking, is confident he can do more than just make up the numbers in the field.
“Obviously, it’s my first time so you’re not really expecting too much but I’m there to compete,” he said ahead of his final practice round on Wednesday.
“I’m there to give myself a chance to win on the Sunday and, if I can play the way I know I can play, I don’t see why not.
“If I wasn’t here to try to win a golf tournament then I’d be sitting at home in Oban. I wouldn’t be trying to compete out here and probably wouldn’t be playing golf.
“Every single player in this field is wanting to try and win the golf tournament and obviously there’s only one winner so there’s going to be, what, 88 guys that are going to be disappointed. But then it’s not really a disappointment because you’re learning and, for me, I’m going to be learning a lot.
“I’m going to just try to enjoy it as much as I can and soak it all in and what will be, will be.”
The 24-year-old from Oban has taken in advice from 2018 Green Jacket holder Patrick Reed as he gets to grips with the Georgia venue, he has for so long wanted to tackle.
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MacIntyre, one of three Scots in action this week alongside Sandy Lyle and Martin Laird, says the pair struck up a bond when they played together in Turkey during his first season on the European Tour.
“I gained his respect early on because I played well and that is what I feel you have got to do with the top guys,” he said.
“He has been great with me. Anything I need to ask him I can ask him and he gives me advice.
“Around this place he has not got a bad record! So he obviously knows where and where not to go.
“Me and [caddie] Mike [Thomson] didn’t have a clue about certain things and he just told us little secrets that are great and we are going to use them this week.”
World No 1 Dustin Johnson, who MacIntyre beat at the WGC Match Play last month, won last year’s Masters on 20-under, the lowest 72-hole score in tournament history. Does the Scot expect a change with the winning score now the event is back in its traditional Spring setting?
“Yes, seriously lower,” he said with a smile.
“The ball was spinning back [a few months ago]. Patrick (Reed) was telling me it was a lot softer.
Referencing the unanimous verdict among the players that the course will play firm and fast this week, he added: “You are not stopping anything on the greens unless it is a wedge.”
Augusta has proven a good venue for left-handed players, with Phil Mickelson and Bubba Watson both multiple-time winners in recent memory.
MacIntyre does believe the course is “absolutely perfect” for a left-hander with a fade.
“But you have still got to hit the shots, hole the putts,” he said, with 2004 champion Mike Weir and C.T. Pan his playing partners for the first two rounds.
“But visually it can suit a left-hander. I can see why with the fade but again you have just got to hit the golf shots.
“The man who hits the least bad shots is probably going to win this week with how firm [the greens] are. The accuracy is going to be rewarded this week.”
MacIntyre, who has his parents on site to watch him play, intends to wear a black ribbon in honour of sportswriter and fellow Argyll man Jock MacVicar, who died at the weekend.
“It’s obviously sad to hear of the passing of Jock and when someone close to me passes away like that.. he is huge in the golf world Jock,” he reflected.
“It is only part of what I do, and I would expect it the same way if it was Jock in my seat and I was obviously in Jock’s position. It is just a mark of respect.”
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