Robert MacIntyre says mindset is better a year on from Abu Dhabi withdrawal

By Brian McLauchlinBBC Scotland
Robert MacIntyre
Robert MacIntyre claimed his first European Tour title at November's Cyprus Showdown

Robert MacIntyre believes he is psychologically in a much better place 12 months on from having to pull out of the Abu Dhabi Championship.

MacIntyre, who was European Tour Rookie of the Year at the time, missed the first big event of 2020 due to injury.

However, he will take his place in this year's event, which starts on Thursday.

"I was asking myself: 'Have I lost my golf game now and am I ever going to get back to where I want to be?'" said the 24-year-old Scot.

"I turned up here and I tried my best to play - but couldn't hit the golf ball, so I withdrew.

"It just takes hard work. Everyone has spells when you are down but it's getting to the other side of that.

"I spoke to the right people. I spoke to my parents and if I ever get that low again then I would do the same thing again and we will get back out of it."

Oban's MacIntyre cited the positive influence of his mother - "she is like Superwoman to me" - for negotiating such difficulties and is grateful to have "the right people around me".

He secured his first European Tour victory in November in Cyprus and has risen to 51 in this week's men's rankings. He now hopes to reach the Masters at Augusta in April by breaking into the top 50 by the end of March.

"The journey I have been on, it's been upwards since I was about 17 years old," he explained. "I have always just slowly taken a step up.

"I do things differently from most people. Everything I have done so far has always been thought through. Not just by me or my manager or family, it's all about the team.

"If I feel comfortable about doing something I'm going to do it well. If I don't feel comfortable then I am going to be on edge and doubt myself.

"I'm going all in this year. At the start of the year I'm going to play in as big [events] as I can."

'It's not Oban but the weather is decent'

This week's tournament, as well as being the first European Tour event of 2021, is the first of four in the Rolex series and major winners Rory McIlroy and Justin Thomas are among those competing for the $8m prize pot.

"I've played in The Open and Scottish Open and played with Rory and Justin and was comfortable around them and to chat to them," MacIntyre added. "That is half the battle. If you can gain respect from these guys you are doing something right.

"Its not bad out here. It's not quite like Oban but the weather is decent. The courses are more detailed because of the desert and you can see the way golf courses are meant to be played. I just feel it suits my eye better.

"If I play a parkland course sometimes I don't see it visually. I don't see the shots. Out here I just love it."

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