You should always savor the successes when they come in this infinitely complex game that rewards, maddens, satisfies and frustrates in equal measure.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re a professional winner on one of the major tours, or whether Norman and Bessy have won Broomieknowe’s Husband and Wife Salver, the feeling of winning is something to cherish.
In his young career, Robert MacIntyre was either the winner, or he was always up front. The 24-year-old has the clinical edge and competitive instinct that distinguishes the best from the rest, from a spectacular double in the amateurs in 2013 when he won the Scottish Youths and Scottish Boys’ Strokeplay titles during a scintillating season, to his first European Tour win recently in Cyprus.
MacIntyre had time to take stock, having been back in Oban for a few weeks before going back on the road this weekend to South Africa and then Dubai.
“Thinking back to my first big win as an amateur, I’d broken my elbow earlier in the year and thought my season was over,” he commented on that breakthrough as a youth and the comparisons with his latest victory. And now, this year, because of the whole thing with the corona virus and my shape, I almost had it written off, too. But things have changed unexpectedly. That’s the way it’s with golf. You can have a poor season and save it with a few good results.
Any victory I had in my career was a stepping stone. All I’d like to do is win. That is what I love, being on the last day in the heat of the moment. You get a sense of not getting into everyday things, and you want to experience that feeling as much as you can.
Of course, MacIntyre still had his own low points to deal with in what was a tough and morale-sapping year for everyone, away from those feelings of giddy euphoria.
He spoke of the mental toll that the lockdown and the confines of the tight yet required bubble of the European Tour have taken on him in the emotional aftermath of his Cyprus victory.
This season, MacIntyre is wearing a badge on his golf bag for Martyn’s Monday Club, an Oban-based mental health charity created in memory of Martyn Cruickshanks, a local man who killed himself two years ago.
“His family lived just up the road from us,”His family lived just up the road from us. “It’s not until you start feeling bad yourself that you realize, ‘wow, this could happen to anyone,'”
“It made me a little nuts with the lockdown and tour bubble. I was even fed up with my mom and dad at home. It wasn’t their fault, it was just the way the world was and it was harsh at that time. I like to have my team with me when I’m at events, and when I can’t do it, I really struggle with it.
“Don’t get me wrong, being on tour is a great lifestyle for certain people, but it’s not a vacation. Some people don’t enjoy it as much as people think they do. When things started to open up a little bit, I was able to have my coach (Davy Burns) back with me and I was able to work the way I wanted to work instead of being told how to work.”
The squad MacIntyre has around him during the 15th season is as tight-knit as a sewing box. He said with fervent love, “My mom is my caregiver,” “She’s made of tough stuff. When I was struggling, she guided me through it. Most of the time, she can read me like a book. She’ll just say, ‘Okay, what’s going on with you today,’ and we’ll talk. I’m not afraid to talk to my family or my close friends. I have people that I talk to about things that I wouldn’t tell anyone else. Talking to those who care about you makes a big difference.”
MacIntyre has added momentum to his campaign with a victory following his third-place finish in Cyprus, as he prepares for the final three tournaments of a turbulent 2020 season.
“Before Cyprus I was playing almost just for the sake of playing, but now I’ve got a real buzz. That’s the way I like it. I don’t like going through the motions. That’s when you don’t work hard. In this game, you can’t rest on your laurels.”