Bob MacIntyre bids to help Hurricane Laura recovery in Louisiana
Young Scot aiming to raise money for alma mater through birdies in US Open
It's not just living in Oban and being around good people that has made Bob MacIntyre a fine young man. Part of his golfing DNA and development came from spending time on a scholarship at McNeese State University in Louisiana.
Seeing his alma mater bearing some of the brunt from Hurricane Laura at the end of last month has prompted the 24-year-old to try and help with the clean up operation and recovery process following one of the worst storms to hit the US state, killing 67 people.
In next week's US Open at Winged Foot close to New York, debutant MacIntyre will donate $3,500 for every birdie, or better, he makes, having joined forces with his main sponsors - Orion Group, Aberdeen Standard Investments and Arnold Clark - to come up with the idea.
The money raised will go towards the Campus Emergency Fund, with the young Scot admitting he is really feeling for the people he came across during his spell in Louisiana at a time when they were already trying to cope with living in a Covid-19 world.
"I’ve got a lot of friends who still live out there," said last season's European Tour Rookie of the Year. "And I saw when Hurricane Laura was coming into hit. I saw it on social media, coming into hit right on Lake Charles. Following that, I’ve seen the devastation caused by it.
"I’ve got some pals out trying to clean it up just now. They’ve sent us pictures. There’s a big refinery literally about a mile outside of Lake Charles that’s been leaking chemicals and everything. So it’s not just flattened houses. It’s businesses, the full lot. The whole place shut down there for a bit.
"It’s starting to come back with people coming together and helping each other to rebuild, clearing things. But one of my pals is out there with his family working all day, every day just trying to clear trees off roads.
"When you see the pictures, it’s horrific. But I can’t be there to help, I’ve got to do my job. If I do my job well, I’ll raise as much money as I can."
MacIntyre showed his caring side when he decided to sport a logo on his golf bag for 'Martyn's Monday Club', a mental health club in Oban, to help him keep some perspective on the golf course whenever he thinks about depression having claimed the lives of people in his hometown.
He also freely admits that he has been brought up to think about other people and what they are going through by his mum and dad, Carol and Dougie, at home on the west coast.
"I come from a family background and my mum supports so many folk from around this area, trying to help them, whether it’s just going to get their shopping or other little things," added MacIntyre. "With the background I’ve been brought up in, I now have the opportunity to help others. I’m in a position where I can do this. And I felt like it was the right thing for me to do.
"Martyn’s Monday Club is on my bag just off my own back. They’re supporting folk with their mental health. I feel that the Covid situation we’re in at the moment is bad enough without getting hit with a hurricane. That’s devastating to be hit with two things at once like this.
"They’re trying to fix everything they can and I’m just trying to support them. I mean, it’s not going to be a big life-changing amount for folk. It may just be enough for them to tick over. Hopefully I can make a few birdies for them because every little helps.
"With the support I have, I respect people as much as I can. My mum and dad have brought me up to help people who need help. And I feel like Lake Charles and Louisiana are in need of some help. And I’m in a privileged position where I can do this kind of thing."
MacIntyre cut short his spell at McNeese State University just a few months after winning the Scottish Amateur Championship at Muirfield in 2015, but that hasn't stopped him from retaining a strong feeling for the place.
"I only did a year-and-a-half. But I learned so much," he admitted. "It was one of the biggest learning curves of my life. ‘I was a boy brought up at home. My mum pretty much did everything for me.
"Then I got thrown out to the Deep South in Louisiana, where I had to do everything myself. I think that’s made me who I am now. Travelling the world on my own, I can do that kind of thing because of that experience. It’s part of growing up and it was a huge step in my golfing career."
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