With dad doing emergency duty on his bag, Robert MacIntyre has chance at a special victory

Robert MacIntyre has a comically Scottish way of describing those times when he gets down on himself on the golf course: “Mumping and moaning.”

Though the 27-year-old has done his best to do less of it as the current PGA Tour season moved forward, golfers’ memories can be short when it comes to positive self-talk, and MacIntyre again found himself “mumping” as he walked down the 10th fairway on Saturday in the RBC Canadian Open. He’d hit the fairway, but not with nearly the yardage he wanted to off the tee.

So, pretty nit-picky stuff for a guy in deep contention to win his first PGA Tour event.

Thankfully, that’s where MacIntyre’s dad, Dougie, stepped in. He’s been caddieing for his boy this week when Robert needed an emergency looper, and Dad flew in from Scotland to be on the bag for the first time since 2017. Dougie hasn’t bitten his tongue either when Robert needed a pep talk, as he did at 10.

“Yeah, he was having a wee go at me when I was walking from the 10th tee down to the fairway,” MacIntyre recalled. “Look, he was a sporting guy, he knows how to win, knows how to lose, he’s been through it all. He could see my head going a little bit and he’s like, ‘What have you been working on for the last eight weeks, 10 weeks, whatever I’ve been doing, when I realized what was the problem.’ I kind of flipped into that mode and tried to find the positive in everything.”

In what could be one of the more emotional finishes of the season, MacIntyre heads into the final round at Hamilton Golf and Country Club in Ontario with a four-shot lead over home country favorite Mackenzie Hughes, Ben Griffin and Ryan Fox. The Scot built that margin with a tremendous third-round back nine of 30 in which he made three straight birdies at 14 through 16 and an eagle at 17. MacIntyre’s six-under-par 66 followed rounds of 64-66.

MacIntyre has been open in talking about the difficulties he’s faced in coming to the States this year to play fulltime on the PGA Tour. He’s called it lonely and less family-like than on the DP World Tour, and those feelings showed early in his play this season, with three missed cuts in his first four starts and only one top-10 finish through March.

After taking the lead on Friday in Canada, MacIntyre, 76th in the World Ranking, said, “I’ve got the golf game to compete anywhere in the world, and I knew that. … I felt like I had a terrible start to the year. Something was stopping me. We dug in deeper into stats and whatnot and we’re like, ‘Everything’s all right here, what is it?’ And then you’ve got to look yourself in the mirror and go, ‘You might be the problem.’”

MacIntyre concluded that his attitude needed to change, and after setting his mind to be more positive, better results came. Those include three top-13 finishes in his last five starts, with MacIntyre taking a big step two weeks ago with a T-8 in the PGA Championship.

It’s only helped him this week by having a taste of home with his dad on the bag. Remember, it was last summer that MacIntyre nearly won his home Scottish Open—a co-sanctioned event of the PGA Tour and DP World Tour—before Rory McIlroy overtook him in the final round.

The family togetherness this week has taken the MacIntyres back to the days in Oban, Scotland, when Robert had just begun to play and the family spent time together at Glencruitten Golf Club near their home. While noting the importance of any caddie, MacIntyre said Saturday of hearing his dad’s thoughts: “It’s just different; it hits differently, because he properly means it. And I know the caddies mean it for another reason … but my dad wants me to do well because we’re blood … and there’s nothing other than pride and guts and what we’re trying to do. He’s been through thick and thin with me.”

On Sunday, it’s likely to be the two Scots against an entire country, as Canadians in the gallery will be pulling hard and loudly for Hughes—one year after countryman Nick Taylor’s 72-foot winning eagle putt in a playoff sent them into a frenzy in the Canadian Open at Oakdale.

“Obviously, they’re going to be rooting for their guy,” MacIntyre said. “I’m going to go out there and try and play my best and give the crowd something to hopefully cheer about good shots and see where we end up.”

Of course, it would incredible if Hughes, 33 and a Hamilton native, were to be a second straight Canadian to win the home Open after Taylor snapped a 69-year winless drought for his countrymen last year.

A two-time winner on the PGA Tour, Hughes is relishing the attention while also trying to temper his nerves and expectations with so many hopes riding on him.

“Not that I don’t enjoy playing every day, it was more just the fact that I never get cheered for like this before or really ever,” Hughes said. “Because when I’m playing in the U.S., I’m pretty much a nobody, so being here at home you feel like they’re really pulling you across the line.”

Source: Golfdigest

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