Martin Dempster: Sky's the limit for Bob MacIntyre and now everyone knows it
I’ve heard it said so many times over the years. Apparently, the big, bad Scottish golf media don’t help promising young players in this country by doing, well, our job, actually.
Take Bob MacIntyre, for example. Myself and a number of fellow scribes have all charted the young Oban man’s career since he won the Scottsh Amateur at Muirfield in 2015 and, in some cases, earlier than that.
MacIntyre provided us with some great stories last season as he recorded three runner-up finishes en route to being crowned as the European Tour Rookie of the Year and also tied for sixth on his major debut in The Open.
He’s back in the spotlight again after landing his breakthrough win on the circuit with an impressive victory in the inaugural Aphrodite Hills Cyprus Showdown on Sunday, earning a shower of praise and congratulations in the process.
At 24, MacIntyre was two years younger than Colin Montgomerie when he secured his first title triumph on the European Tour, achieving the feat in just his 45th event.
From the minute he stepped on to the main tour last season, the left-hander had that X-factor and, though winning is a lot more difficult than many people think, it really was just a matter of time in his case.
I’ve listened to Tommy Fleetwood, Ernie Els and Justin Rose, among many others, sing his praises inside the past 24 months and these guys are not bullshitters.
Neither is Tony Johnstone, who made no secret of being a big fan of how MacIntyre plays the game during his stints in the Sky Sports Golf commentary seat in Cyprus.
Yes, of course, it is important to keep things in perspective. The field last week event wasn’t the strongest while the format was also different to the traditional 72-hole stroke-play. MacIntyre, incidentally, would have finished two shots behind American Johannes Veerman if that had been the case.
There can be no denying, though, that Scottish golf and, in turn, Scottish sport has a seriously talented and exciting individual in its ranks and why on earth should that not be acknowledged in fear of being criticised for doing so?
Make no mistake, the sky's the limit for MacIntyre and, in a short space of time, he’s made lots of fellow Scots awaken to the fact he has the potential to achieve big - no, make that very big - things in this game.
“My phone goes wild every time I have a good round,” he admitted. “It’s about the support, not just from my family, but the whole of Scotland. It’s good to see.”
For me, in many ways MacIntyre is very much like Rory McIlroy in that he’s exciting to watch, is extremely likeable and is as honest as a day is long, even if it means he ruffles the odd feather. Just ask American Kyle Stanley.
“I just try and treat everyone the way I want to be treated,” he said of the cheery demeanour that has made him such a popular figure, on and off the course. “It’s the way I’ve been brought up in life and the way I’ll continue to do it. There’s a standard of what I want to do and it’s about sticking to that.”
Well played and well said, young man.
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