Robert MacIntyre feels he is a better golfer right now than he’s ever been, just a couple of weeks after feeling the lowest he’s felt since turning pro.
The Scot finished a gruelling and tough season on a high, revitalised after performing his best in months at the DP World Championship – just after playing his worst as a pro in Portugal.
The Scot is prepared for a similar season of Atlantic-hopping in 2022, but feels as Covid restrictions loosen and the valuable knowledge from his experiences this year, he can kick on.
But the bottom line is he feels he’s a far better player than he was two years ago, although it took the strong finish in Dubai to bring that out.
‘A massive relief almost’
— DP World Tour (@DPWorldTour) November 20, 2021
“Portugal (where he shot 82 in the final round) was obviously the lowest of the lows for me,” he said. “It’s the worst I’ve ever felt coming away from a golf tournament. The feeling was go to Dubai or just go home and just throw in the towel for the year.
“But Dubai was a massive confidence boost, and a massive relief almost. It said to me ‘You’ve not lost your game completely, you’re actually better than you have been in the last two years, right now’.”
MacIntyre didn’t have a bad 2021 as such. He played in all four majors and made the cut in every one, won return trips to the Open and Masters with high finishes, and twice had chances at Dubai to win, bookending the campaign.
But the needs of a player on the fringes of the World Top 50 made for an energy-sapping schedule. With the same aims of getting a PGA Tour card and cementing Top 50 status, 2022 is going to be any different.
“All in all, the year was another big step in right direction,” he said. “It was my highest finish yet on the Race to Dubai.
“I haven’t played as much on the European Tour this year as previous years. But I feel my game is far, far better than it was two years ago when I had my highest year on the rankings.
“I wish I was able to firm the schedule up, but it’s all up in the air right now. I’m back in that position where I’m just outside the top 50. It takes just one good event, and I would jump overseas to the big events after the Middle East swing.
‘We can pick and choose the right battles’
That's the end of another year and ending top 10 on Race to Dubai is an improvement but I know there's plenty of room to go higher and that's what we'll be doing
My family, my friends, my sponsors, my team – You all know who you are & couldn't do it without you
We go again 👊🏽 pic.twitter.com/srYSapB0Ok
— Robert MacIntyre (@robert1lefty) November 23, 2021
“I’ve always known the harder the golf course the better it is for me. I’m not a guy who’ll go out and shoot 24, 25 under par in one of those that becomes a putting competition.
“The biggest thing is being able to schedule it. We know the toughest golf courses in the world now, not just Europe. We can pick and choose and fight the right battles.
“It’s difficult to do (this kind of schedule), but it means I’m doing something well. This year it was difficult with Covid to get family and friends out just to break up the trip.
“If we can do it again, I’ll be a lot more comfortable, it’ll be a lot easier. Trying to compete at the top end of the world stage you’ve got to be playing the PGA Tour.”
The form of Dubai means that Bob wants to keep going. He’s added the Alfred Dunhill Championship at Leopard Creek in South Africa early next month.
Adding in South Africa in December
"Look at all that power & coil!"
— DP World Tour (@DPWorldTour) May 13, 2021
“It’s one of my favourite places in the world and I’m playing great,” he said. “The scoring is always difficult there, which suits me perfectly.
“At Dubai I just put everything else aside, just made everything simple. On Sunday (at Dubai) my head was calm. Mike (Thomson, his caddie) said that’s probably the calmest I’ve been in a year and a half working with him.
“I had a wobble for two holes but that’s to be expected, because I knew (the win) had got away. But, other than that, that is the best attitude I’ve had on a golf course.
“If I can have a good attitude every week, who knows what I can do?”