After justifying his captain’s pick at the Ryder Cup and enjoying a solid season on the European circuit, Bob Macintyre is set to broaden his golfing horizons next year after earning a place on the PGA Tour. Here, Scotland’s highest ranked golfer reflects on his achievements over the last 12 months and assesses his chances of adjusting to life competing on the other side of the Atlantic
As with European or American competing in the professional game, you must have dreamed of perhaps one day teeing it up in a Ryder Cup, but how was the reality for you?
It was everything that I always thought it would be and more. Getting the call from Luke was a dream in itself, but to be part of a winning team is a lifetime’s achievement. You’ve got to dream it before you can believe it and I was lucky enough to let it happen. Shoot for the stars and keep dreaming – that’s my motto!
Coming away with two-and-a-half points and an unbeaten record was great, but I really couldn’t care whether I got zero points or five points in five games, it was all about Europe winning Ryder Cup and we managed to do that.
Obviously getting 2 1/2 out of three was great, as was having a great partner in Justin [Rose], and having great team around me, but the highlight for me was just getting into that team room at the end with the Ryder Cup trophy in our possession. When it was just 13 of us in there in the one room, no cameras, nobody else, was a magical moment. We just had a bit of time together and kind of embraced everyone and realised what we had achieved. That memory will stay with me forever.
You talked about what a great partner Justin Rose was to have. What specifically did he say to you on that first tee on Friday and then as the matches progressed?
When I came off the range on Friday morning and was walking towards the first tee I was almost crying, and Justin could see that I was very nervous. After we’d done all the introductions and handshakes and posing for the cameras, he came over and put his arm around me and said, “Everything is going to be all right. This will be over in two-and-a-half minutes.” He was brilliant. He’s so experienced. He kept me calm. He trusted me. He believed in me. Even though I was terrible on the greens on Friday.
I think he spoke to Luke and said, “He’s close.” And I felt that tee-to-green I was solid. I was never out of a hole. I was never having a disaster. I was almost allowing him to be more aggressive because he was playing so well. Then on Saturday, he just kept believing in me. I still had not made a putt for 12 holes, and I stood on 13, and he was trying to help me read the putt. I was like, “Justin, it’s all right. I got this one.” And once I holed that, he put his arm around me and was like, ‘That’s what it’s all about. We fight together.” He was incredible the whole week. He was someone that I knew I got along with, but I know him on a different level now.
Did your experience of playing team golf as an amateur, and maybe as member of the Hero Cup team, help in your preparations for the Ryder Cup?
Yeah, everything I did with Scottish Golf at the amateur level was always team stuff, European teams, Nations Cup, Walker Cup. I went to college for a year-and-a-half and it was all about the team there. My whole life’s a team. I don’t do anything without a team behind me. I treat a team like it’s a family, and Ryder Cup week was pretty much the same. Team sport just feels kind of normal for me.
Most first-time Ryder Cup players – whether they win or lose – say that it made them feel like they never want to miss another one. I’m guessing that’s the case for you?
I’d love to play in another one, in fact lots of them, but you only get in that team by playing consistently good golf for a long period of time. With only six automatic spots on offer, half the team are having to rely on a wildcard, which
kind of takes it a little out of your hands. It’s a very special week and one that I’d like to be a part of again.
What goals did you set yourself at the start of 2023?
The main goal was to get into the top 50 in the world by Christmas so that I could get an invitation to the Masters next year. I’ve got myself up to 56th, so I’m not quite there yet, but we’ve got until January 31, so we’ll see if we can get
You came within a whisker of winning the Scottish Open, your home Open, earlier this summer, only to be pipped at the post by Rory McIlroy. How do you reflect on that week, and how quickly were you able to put the disappointment behind you?
The Scottish Open will be one of the events I want to play for the rest of my life. It’s one I’ve dreamed of winning since I watched at home when I was a kid. Once I birdied 18 I thought this might be the one, but sadly that wasn’t the case. Yeah, look, obviously it was pretty tough not to come away with the win, but it wasn’t like it was mine to lose. I went out and shot a decent score on Sunday and then someone came along, who was higher up the leaderboard, and also shot a good score and that was that. I was proud of the way I performed. I played some good golf that week and it really gave me the confidence to kind of kick on from there. Hopefully I’ll get another chance in the future – there’s plenty of years ahead.
You earned your PGA Tour card for next season after finishing inside the top 10 in the DP World Tour points list. How do you think you’ll handle it all – and not just the playing side of things?
My life will change quite dramatically with where I have to live, what I have to do and where I have to play, but I won’t change. I’m going to be the same guy and I will still live my life the same way. It’s not the be-all and end-all though. I’ve got a great life. I’m making good money. I get to travel the world, and my family are all healthy and happy.
I came close to getting temporary PGA Tour status and I’ve done well in the past couple of years, so will see how things pan out. I know what dreams I want to achieve, but I just don’t know how much I’m willing to change in order to achieve them. But we’ll sit down and have an open chat with the whole team and see how we move forward.
What do you say to those who say that by giving PGA Tour cards to the top DP World Tour players is simply turning the latter into a feeder tour for the former?
I get why some people are saying that, but I don’t think it [the DP World Tour] is a feeder tour. It is home for me and I think it’s only going to get stronger. You look at the fields we get around the world; the top guys still come back and play on the tour and probably enjoy it more. There is more of a family feel. It’s where you can go for dinner with the boys and we have fun, a great laugh. That’s the thing about the European tour, it’s not all about the golf, it’s about the life and the memories and the friends you make. To me that’s everything. There are a couple of things that need to change in the world of golf – whether they happen is outside my control, but I’ll let other people work that out background and I’ll carry on playing my golf.
BOB MACINTYRE FACTFILE
LIVES: OBAN, SCOTLAND
TURNED PRO: 2018
WORLD RANKING: 56
TOUR APPEARANCES: 119
CUTS MADE: 98
TOUR WINS: 2 (2020 Cyprus Showdown, 2022 Italian Open)
TOP 10s: 25
2023 RACE TO DUBAI RANKING: 13th
BEST MAJOR RESULTS: OPEN – 6th, 2019; Masters – 12th, 2021; US Open – 35th, 2021); US PGA – 49th, 2021
RYDER CUP APPERANCES: 1 (2023)
CAREER EARNINGS: €7.25m