Bob MacIntyre facing 'big changes' if he decides to chase 'more dreams' as Ryder Cup hero opens up on potential America move

Bob MacIntyre and his caddie Greg Milne on the 18th tee at St Andrews during a practice round prior to the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship. Picture: Octavio Passos/Getty Images.
Bob MacIntyre and his caddie Greg Milne on the 18th tee at St Andrews during a practice round prior to the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship. Picture: Octavio Passos/Getty Images.

As he gradually comes back to earth after helping Europe regain the coveted trophy with a 16.5-11.5 win at Marco Simone Golf & Country Club in Rome on Sunday, the Oban man’s immediate focus is trying to land the $5 million Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, which starts on Thursday.

Shining again on home soil - it took a brilliant birdie-birdie finish from Rory McIlroy to deny him victory in the Genesis Scottish Open in July - would represent a huge step towards clinching a Masters return next April by finishing the calendar year in the world’s top 50 and also secure one of ten 2024 PGA Tour cards on offer through this year’s Race to Dubai on the DP World Tour.

“It's business as usual as for me,” insisted world No 55 MacIntyre, who is joining two of his team-mates, Tommy Fleetwood and Matthew Fitzpatrick, in the 22nd staging of an event that has either been an extension of the European party from the transatlantic tussle or a week to drown sorrows.

“I know my golf has been up-and-down for the last wee while, but there's been a lot of stress going on in the background with the Ryder Cup and getting on that team. But now I feel like I can just cruise around and play aggressive golf.”

As for what comes next in a wider sense, that will give him a big headache because, though he didn’t say it himself, he’s almost certainly been told by the likes of Rory McIlroy and Shane Lowry in the wake of his most recent achievement that getting to the next level is going to be difficult to achieve if he retains his beloved Oban as his base.

“No, I've not,” replied the 27-year-old in reply to being asked if he’d a chance to think about now sharing something in common with the likes of McIlroy, Rahm and Viktor Hovland as team-mates and what could lie ahead, both in terms of a team and individual perspective.

“I was due to have a (backroom) team phone call last night, but pushed it back to next week. We'll talk about that then and set different goals. More dreams. I know what dreams I want to achieve. But a lot has got to change within my life and I don't know if I'm willing to change as much as I need to to achieve them.”

Asked if a potential move to America could be on the cards if he felt he could commit to making those changes, he added: “Yeah, it would be. I know a lot of things that potentially could happen. I actually had that conversation with my mum yesterday about it, and I was like, I think I've got to do certain things to get to that next level.

"She was like, ‘what's your strategy now?’ It's like, ‘how do we achieve this?’ I know inside what I need to do. But it's a lot. I mean, I enjoy family time. I enjoy home life. I don't know whether that's the be-all end-all. I need to weigh it all out with the team around me. I need to sit down next week and have an open chat with the whole team, and see how we move forward.”

MacIntyre, who picked up two-and-a-half points from three and was the only rookie on either team to be unbeaten over the three days, partied in the plush team hotel in Rome until 3am on Monday before jumping on a flight back to Glasgow rather than taking a charter flight from the Italian capital to Edinburgh.

“My friends and family were all on that flight…and my car was in Glasgow,” he explained, smiling. “It was going to be a bit of a nightmare to fly to Edinburgh and then get a taxi and, when I woke up in the morning, I felt half-decent. I thought, ‘I could make this flight’. The people that supported me back home were all on it and that's why I play golf, to support the ones closest to me. If I had not had the support from people outside my family, I wouldn't be here today.”

Having shown that a wee boy from Oban can “shoot for the stars” and tick off a “lifetime achievement”, he’s now hoping to help other young Scots do likewise. “My biggest thing before I finish in my career is giving people opportunities,” he declared. “I was lucky enough to get an opportunity through my family, but there's so many good sportsmen and sportswomen at home that can't finance it, can't fund it.

“I want to be able to give back, so at some point I will set up a foundation that supports people from the same or similar background as me an opportunity to achieve things in any walk of life, whether it's sport, music, you name it, just give them an opportunity.”

In a nice touch, world No 1 Scottie Scheffler stopped and spoke briefly to MacIntyre as the US players congratulated their conquerors at the trophy presentation on Sunday night. “I’ve known Scottie since college golf and also the amateur scene,” said MacIntyre when asked about that. “They absolutely battered us in the Walker Cup (at Los Angeles Country Club in 2017). Collin Morikawa was also on that team so it felt good. Not revenge, but back to a 1-1 draw. Scottie’s one of the nicest guys out there. He’s world No 1, but, more importantly, he’s a great guy.”

In an event that sees Kiwi Ryan Fox as the defending champion, MacIntyre is in action at Carnoustie for the first round and is teaming up with Seminole member Brett Overman, the CEO of National Disaster Solutions. Also flying the Saltire in the $5 million event are Richie Ramsay, Ewen Ferguson, Callum Hill, Connor Syme, David Law, Grant Forrest, Scott Jamieson, Marc Warren, Sandy Scott, Rory Franssen and 2004 winner Stephen Gallacher.