He didn’t do it on purpose, but Robert MacIntyre’s choice of flat with extremely dodgy phone reception has been a genius move by the up-and-coming young Scottish star.
The left-hander can’t get a signal most of the time in the new flat he bought for himself in his home town of Oban. It makes for the perfect bolthole to get away from all the attention.
“It’s brilliant, there’s days when I don’t even look at my phone,” he said, ending a three-week break to be the highest ranked player in the field at the Betfred British Masters at the famous Ryder Cup venue of The Belfry this week.
‘It’s nice to shut off the world’
“I just chill, look at the view, relax, play a bit of Playstation. With this lifestyle now, it’s hard to do, but as soon as I get home, it’s nice to shut off the world. The reception is horrific, my manager is always saying he can’t get in touch with me!
“For a week and a half after America, I didn’t touch a club. They were still zipped up in the travel case. I spent time with family, friends, had the boys round one night for dinner and a few beers.”
‘My mum brings me down to earth every time I go home. It’s brilliant’
While MacIntyre has quickly become a known name in the US after his performances at the Masters and the WGC Matchplay last month, you’re not taking the boy out of Oban.
“I struggle sometimes when there’s a lot of attention here and there,” he admitted. “I’m a quiet person and try and let the golf do the talking.
“My mum brings me back down to earth with a bang every time I go home. It will never change, it’s brilliant. I get treated the same way my sisters get treated. There’s no special treatment, same with my pals.
“The chat will be the same. Obviously there are things I have to sacrifice, but I still enjoy life with my pals, picking up a shinty stick now and again, that’s the way I’ll always be.
“It can be difficult at times but it’s the job I’ve gotten myself into, it’s the lifestyle that I’ve dreamed of as a kid.
“It’s a dream come true, you’re playing the best events on the planet and putting in good performances, not just showing up and being a number. That’s what it’s all about.”
‘I felt I should haave won both tournaments’
MacIntyre comes back to the European Tour this week, and he’s holding true to his word that he’ll stick with his home circuit despite the growing lure of the PGA Tour.
“I’ve got the US PGA after this week then Denmark and Germany, if everything goes according to plan,” he said. “America is always there. I only have 12 events in the States to get that temporary status and I think I’ve got five left and that can include majors and WGCs. I’ve got to do well in the big events.
“This (the European Tour) is where I started and I’m happy to come back for these events. I did well in Denmark and Germany two years ago and I’ve got fond memories of both golf courses – I felt I should have won on both tournaments.”
As for this week, it’s his first real look at The Belfry’s Brabazon Course, the place of so many Ryder Cup legends.
— The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) May 11, 2021
“Monday was pretty much the first time I’d seen a lot of the holes,” he said. “It’s a little soft in the fairways and rough but the greens are absolutely perfect.
‘It was playing monstrous’
“It was playing monstrous (on Monday). Some people said it was a short golf course and yesterday I was hitting five woods and stuff into par fours. At 18, I hit a drive and then a five wood into the green.
“I’m really looking forward to it. I’ve put in a lot of practice over the last few days, and can’t wait to get going.
“I think it is the first time in my life (as the top ranked player in the field). It’s obviously good and means I’ve done a lot of things right, but it is any man’s to win this week.
“There’s no pressure on me to win. After all this has happened in the last year, there has been expectation on me. But I try and keep it as low key as I can.”
MacIntyre is just out of the places on both points lists for qualification for the Ryder Cup, but he’s in no hurry.
“Points are big for qualification,” he agreed. “But again, it is just one tournament out of 15 or so left. It would be nice to get big points, but everyone is in exactly the same position.
‘It doesn’t need to happen right now’
“I am still young so I try and see it as (the Ryder Cup) doesn’t need to happen right now. Obviously I am in a position where it can happen this year, so it’s up there with my priorities now I am there.
“It was like The Masters. That was something I was so close to, that I wanted it now. I’ve got plenty of time ahead of me. I’ve just got to let it happen and if I keep doing what I am doing. I believe and the people around me believe that it will happen.”
And he’ll keep his basic philosophy – let it happen naturally.
“I hate standing on the range practicing at home in the cold,” he said. “I’d rather be out playing – we played Loch Lomond, Archerfield and Gleneagles when I was off.
“I just love to play golf, I love to compete, and can’t wait to get going this week.”