Walker Cup 2017: Robert MacIntyre hopes to follow example of golf's elite

Scotland's Robert MacIntyre
Scotland's Robert MacIntyre wants to help GB & Ireland retain the Walker Cup trophy in Los Angeles

Scotland's Robert MacIntyre hopes to follow the likes of Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods by playing in the Walker Cup then rising to golf's elite level.

He is one of two Scots in the Great Britain and Ireland team that aims to retain the trophy against the USA at Los Angeles Country Club this weekend.

"[Most of] the top players in golf have played the Walker Cup," MacIntyre said.

"This is the pinnacle of the amateur game. Everybody is striving to get to the majors but not everyone can."

The 21-year-old from Oban was Scottish Amateur Golfer of the Year in 2016, and he is joined in the team by 22-year-old Connor Syme from Drumoig.

Completing the Scottish influence is East Renfrewshire's Craig Watson, who is planning to defend the Walker Cup following GB & Ireland's 16½-9½ win at Royal Lytham & St Annes two years ago.

Scotland's Connor Syme
Syme is also in the GB & Ireland Walker Cup team

MacIntyre is eager to play a role in a successful GB & Ireland team, but is also looking ahead to the next phase of his career.

"The Walker Cup has got to be the biggest thing for us," he said.

"Obviously the main focus for everybody this week is just to win it but in the future I'm sure having the Walker Cup on your CV is going to help.

"I've had a steady progress over the last few years through the ranks from boys golf into the amateurs. You've got to aim for high goals, though. If you don't, you won't reach your potential."

Ricky Fowler, left, and Rory McIlroy, right
McIlroy (right) played in the 2007 Walker Cup against America's Ricky Fowler (left)

This is the 46th staging of the biennial match - often described as amateur golf's equivalent of the Ryder Cup.

MacIntyre is relishing the prospect of taking part, even if he admits that there will be nervous moments during the build-up.

"Getting in the Walker Cup has been great," he added. "It's been my goal since the start of the year, so to achieve it has been brilliant. It's as good an honour as you can get for an amateur golfer.

"I'm sure there will be a few nerves on the first tee, that's natural. I just need to relax and enjoy it. Not many people get this opportunity. It's going to be brilliant."