Robert MacIntyre says 'it's three boys taking on America' as he targets The Masters

By Brian McLauchlinBBC Scotland
Robert MacIntyre
Robert MacIntyre is currently the world's highest-ranked left-handed golfer

"I'm just the pale kid from Scotland," says the 24-year-old from Oban who this week is setting out on a golfing trip that is the envy of all who love the sport. But, Robert MacIntyre is no ordinary 24-year-old.

The former shinty player is now at number 43 in golf's latest world rankings and is currently the highest-ranked left-handed player anywhere on the planet, with major winners Phil Mickelson and Bubba Watson trailing in his wake.

This week he begins a seven-week journey in America that, all being well, will end with him going head-to-head with the best at The Masters at Augusta National in early April.

Joining MacIntyre on the trip is his caddie Mikey Thomson and manager Iain Stoddart.

"It's going to be great," MacIntyre told BBC Scotland. "That's the way I try to approach it in my mind. It's a golf trip. Obviously with everything going on it's a lot more than that. We will be keeping ourselves safe. We will rent houses out. It will just be us. It's the three boys taking on America. That's the way we will do it."

'It's almost as if I'm playing hide and seek'

MacIntyre's rise to fame in the fiercely competitive professional golf ranks is in itself quite a story. He was a successful amateur and joined the Middle East and North Africa Tour three-and-a-half years ago. But it could all have been so different.

"I wasn't going to turn pro at the time," he said. "I was going to the MENA Tour as an amateur before going to tour school. But the I just phoned Iain and said let's just do this.

"What's the point in going out there and not playing for money and just playing for experience? Whereas we can go out there and if we play well and make some money it may cover the cost of the trip."

Since then he has not looked back. At the end of 2019 he became the first Scot since Marc Warren in 2006 to be crowned European Tour Rookie of the Year.

His rise through the world rankings gave him entry into both the US Open and the US PGA last year, making the cut in both majors. And after a good run of form he finally managed his first European Tour win in Cyprus back in October.

But MacIntyre is not one to forget his roots. On arrival back in Scotland he likes nothing more than jumping in his car and heading back up the west side of the country to his beloved Oban where he can blend back into society.

He explains: "It's almost as if I am playing a game of hide and seek with everybody. When I'm on the tour, when I'm on the golf scene, everyone is watching you. You can go anywhere but someone is watching you.

"But I feel like when I come back home to Oban it's like a relief, a freedom. I'm away from the golf world, away from everything and I can go back to being a 24-year-old Bob MacIntyre that I thought I would be."

MacIntyre's mum Carol and dad Dougie are foster parents, giving both Robert and his two sisters an outlook on life that many others do not see. Robert says he wants to be in a position to use his special talents in a way that will help those less fortunate and give them a similar opportunity to the one he has grabbed with both hands.

"That is something that we want to do down the line," he says. "It's something my mum and Stoddy [Stoddart] have looked into, whether it's a foundation or something. It's about trying to give people an opportunity.

"I wasn't from a background that had a lot of money. My dad still works two jobs and my mum still works probably about three jobs. Some kids just haven't had a chance. It isn't going to happen tomorrow but if I can keep going where I am going it will give me a good platform that will help people."

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