Showing his sense of humour, Bob MacIntyre posted a photograph on social media on Tuesday night of him wearing Ryder Cup jammies in his room at the plush team hotel overlooking the Italian capital.
“I think they are beauties!” declared the Oban man, speaking to the Scottish media at Marco Simone Golf & Country Club on Wednesday morning before heading out onto the course on the second official practice day. “I’m actually trying to wean off social media, but I couldn’t help myself. I’m just trying to have a laugh with all the serious stuff that is going on.
“They were just gifts we got in the room the other night and I just put them on when I was brushing my teeth. I took a picture and sent it to Stoddy [Iain Stoddart, his manager] and a few others and they were like: What the hell are those? I thought what a great picture it was and it has taken off a wee bit more than I thought.”
The snazzy sleepwear was part of the package of gifts awaiting Luke Donald’s players in their rooms when they arrived on Monday ahead of Europe’s bid to win back the trophy after a 19-9 hammering at Whistling Straits two years ago.
“There is so much stuff,” said MacIntyte, smiling. “You get asked what you want in your room and you tell them bits and bobs and you are thinking there’s no way they are going to have them in there.
“Then I walked in and there were so many sweets it was outrageous. There were Squashies, Twixes, Kinder Buenos the lot in the room. I was expecting that, as we are meant to be athletes, they won’t hit us with all the sweeties, but it’s been brilliant. The whole week has been brilliant. Anything you want, you can get it because it is serious stuff and there is just one goal.”
On Tuesday, both Shane Lowry and Jon Rahm talked about motivational messages that had been relayed to the home players on their first night in the Eternal City and stirred strong emotions for the transatlantic tussle.
“We got the videos from family and stuff and I was in tears,” said MacIntyre. “You are watching some of the guys you have looked up to for years and they are human. Obviously, they are doing what they are doing in their careers, but for me it’s like, I always say we all use the same toilet.
“It was my mum [Carol] who spoke. Normally, she’s a tough nut to crack, but she was very soft and it was just brilliant. That makes you realise the hard work and effort that has gone into it to get you to this point.”
It’s been a hot week so far in Rome and the temperature is set to stay close to 30 degrees for the match itself. “I’m on Factor 50,” revealed fair-skinned MacIntyre, laughing. “The boys were taking the mickey out of me going down the 16th on Tuesday, saying I was looking a bit red. I said: ‘Don’t worry boys, the Factor 50 is on’. I’m just red because I am roasting hot. I’m not burning. I’m sweating out the chocolate!”
MacIntyre, who is excited to be making his debut on a course where he won the DS Automobiles Italian Open last September, is the first Scot to play in a Ryder Cup since Stephen Gallacher made an appearance on home soil at Gleneagles in 2014.
“I have dreamed of this, but you don’t believe it is going to happen,” he said. “You think I can maybe achieve it, but, deep down, you never know if you will. I put in the work, I sacrificed a lot, I changed a lot, I wobbled with everything that has gone on, but the main thing is trust yourself. Even at the end leading up to qualification, it was trust yourself. It is unbelievable to be here, but we ain’t finished yet.”
Among those cheering on the left-hander will be a group of people from Oban who not only had their flights paid for by MacIntyre but also their accommodation costs. “I’ve had a lot of people support me from amateur stuff as I travelled from A to B and obviously my parents couldn’t afford to travel all the time,” he said.
“So, for the people who have sacrificed a lot, I decided that I was going to phone them and see if they wanted to be here. Obviously they said ‘yes’ so I booked a big house for them, booked some flights and it’s great that they’re here to cheer us on.
“Angus MacEachen, for instance, helped me travel to events when my parents couldn’t get off work as they were trying to fund me while Kenny McCallum helped me with my golf clubs. There’s been so many people and, while I couldn’t get all of them here, I gave it my best shot.”