IT’s a glamorous old life being a globe-trotting professional sportsman.
“I’m standing in a queue at Tebay services,” said Robert MacIntyre as he fuelled himself for the final leg of a trip back to Oban from Manchester.
Even the 66th best golfer in the world needs an overpriced dollop of some motorway pit-stop grub now and then.
MacIntyre will have a longer trek this weekend when he travels across the Atlantic ahead of the star-studded, cash-soaked WGC-Mexico Championship in the country’s capital city.
It is all systems go for the 23-year-old left-hander following a period of doubt brought on by a niggling injury.
Having missed the cut on his last European Tour outing in Saudi Arabia the other week, MacIntyre confessed that he was pondering pulling out of the Mexican event because he didn’t want to “make a fool of myself” against some of the best players in the world if he was not fully fit.
The wrist injury which had nagged away at him since last summer began to have an effect on his whole arm.
Rather like applying a good squirt of WD-40 to some creaking hinges, though, a visit to his Clydebank-based fitness guru, Kenny McKenzie, has helped to get things moving nicely again.
“I wasn’t in a good place physically and I just had to get myself moving properly again,” said the 2019 European Tour rookie of the year.
“I couldn’t hit the shots I needed to and was struggling to commit to them.
“It was fatigue in my arm because I was trying to protect my wrist. I hadn’t seen Kenny for a while but he gave me some exercises to strengthen the areas that were weak.
“I had been a bit cautious with the arm but the work I’ve done on it is now allowing me to swing with freedom again.
“I knew at the end of last week that my body was starting to feel much better so I knew I’d be okay for Mexico. We’re ready to get up and at it again.”
Because of his injury, MacIntyre had taken six weeks off after his thrilling rookie season and began his 2020 campaign with a spirited share of eighth in the Dubai Desert Classic last month.
“But I struggled a bit in Dubai even though I had a top-10,” conceded MacIntyre, who posted a trio of runners-up finishes during that purposeful maiden year at the top table of European golf.
“I was hitting it terribly to be honest but managed to chip and putt like never before. The period of time I was off was long but I think I’m getting my golf brain going again rather than my chill-out brain.”
An early exit in Saudi Arabia was just one of those weeks – “I’m allowed to miss a cut now and again” – and MacIntyre is now looking to make strides in the no-cut WGC event as he closes in on the world’s top-50.
On his WGC debut in China at the tail end of 2019, MacIntyre finished in an admirable tie for 17th.
“I know what to expect from these events now so it’s nothing to be fazed by,” he added.
The trip down Mexico way will be another new experience in a blossoming career that has featured plenty of eye-opening experiences over the past 12 months or so.
“I’ve never played in Mexico before although I did play in an event right on the border, at Loreto, when I was at college in the US,” he said. “The altitude will be a different test next week. And the food should be pretty tasty.”
Perhaps even tastier than that motorway service station fare?