Sat. Jun 15th, 2024

5 things to know about Robert MacIntyre, the 54-hole leader of the 2024 RBC Canadian Open

By admin Jun6,2024

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HAMILTON, Ontario – With the highest percentage of lefthanded golfers in the world, it’s no surprise that Canadian golf fans have adopted a lefty from Scotland as one of their own.

“Lefties rule!” one fan shouted to Robert MacIntyre.

Despite having won on the DP World Tour, represented Team Europe in Rome at the Ryder Cup last fall, and being in the hunt at the 2019 and 2021 British Opens and the PGA Championship in May, MacIntyre is still making a name for himself as a PGA Tour rookie. 

MacIntyre is ranked 76th in the world entering this week and through 36 holes he was bogey-free at the RBC Canadian Open, sharing the lead going into the weekend with another Tour rookie, 37-year-old Ryan Fox. Then, in the third round, he reeled off three birdies and an eagle beginning at No. 14 to grab a four-stroke lead heading into the final round.

Here are five things to know about the 27-year-old pride of Oban, Scotland.

MacIntyre said his father, Dougie, was “a bit out of depth,” but it hasn’t shown through 36 holes.

“He jumped at the chance,” the PGA Tour rookie said of his old man, who serves as a greenkeeper back home at Glencruitten Golf Course in Oban, Scotland. “It’s good to just spend an extra week with loved ones.”

MacIntyre, who fired a 4-under 66 at Hamilton Golf & Country Club on Friday, parted ways with his previous caddie after missing the cut last week. He called his father Saturday to ask him to fill in this week and he hopped on a flight the next day. It’s the first time MacIntyre has had his dad, who he tabbed a good golfer in his own right, on the bag since he caddied at DP World Tour Q-School seven years ago. For more on this story, click here.

MacIntyre hit an incredible fairway wood to 4 feet at the 18th green at Renaissance Club in Scotland during the final round of the 2023 Scottish Open. He handled swirling, gusting winds to shoot 6-under 64 and took the clubhouse lead. But Rory McIlroy proved spoiler, making birdie at the final two holes to win by one.

“I think National Opens are massive,” he said after shooting 66 on Friday at Hamilton Golf & Country Club. “For me, for a Scotsman to win this, my national Open, Scottish Open, is a dream of mine. I mean, if I don’t win a major I want to win the Scottish Open.”

On Friday, MacIntyre was asked to name a lesson he learned from his father.

“Keep playing shinty,” he said.

Shinty, for those not familiar with the sport, is a popular game played mainly in the Scottish Highlands. It’s a team sport with a stick and ball and often draws comparisons to field hockey. The difference is in shinty players are allowed to play the ball in the air and use both sides of the stick, called a caman. MacIntyre travels with one and said the majority of the time he keeps it in his golf travel case.

“It’s a way for me to de-stress,” he told BBC Scotland. “I’m professional when I’m out here playing golf, but when I get home I’m there with the boys, just enjoying myself.” 

He stopped playing shinty for 5-6 years to avoid injuries but resumed it after struggling to adjust to life as a pro golfer.

“I kept it quiet for as long as I could,” he said, “and then the week of the (2021) Ryder Cup I scored away from home (in a match) and it got all over Twitter and now everyone knows.”

MacIntyre became a Ryder Cup legend – in part for picking up 2 ½ points from three games as he helped Europe to a victory over the US. But it was his role in singing the classic Proclaimers song on the team bus as the victory celebration kicked off that went viral.

A video circulated of MacIntyre, with beer in hand and waving his cap, leading his teammates in a singalong of 500 Miles on the team bus.

Legend!

Former Golfweek writer Alastair Tait noted it’s 96 miles from MacIntyre’s Glencruitten Golf Club in Oban to Dunaverty Golf Club on the tip of the Mull of Kintyre. MacIntyre made that drive on April 28, 2021, not to play the course but rather to pay his respects to Jock McVicar, a longtime Scottish journalist who had covered MacIntyre’s career since he was a wee lad. When MacIntyre was reminded of his good deed on Friday, he downplayed it, saying, “It was only an hour and 40 minute driver.”

He continued, saying that those interviews through the years with Jock had meant a lot to him. “They were usually at least an hour (in length),” he said. “It was usually 10 minutes about golf and 50 minutes discussing life.”

As Tait put it, “a selfless act of class,” by MacIntyre and another reason to root for the pride of Oban this weekend.

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