Robert MacIntyre crept closer to that crucial place in the world’s top 50 without striking a shot in the first two weeks of 2021, but his goals go way beyond that.
Being in the top 50 on the world rankings on March 25 will get the 24-year-old Scot into his first Masters in April and he now lies 51st – up from 55th at the close of 2020.
But he won’t really think about Augusta “until I’m booking the flights and the accommodation and I know I’m going”.
And it’s far from the limit of his ambitions for the 2021 season, which he launches at the Abu Dhabi Championship on Thursday.
“I’m not worried about the Augusta stuff,” he said after completing his first nine holes of practice at Abu Dhabi.
“That’ll be a by-product of good golf.
“We’re not just trying to get into the top 50, we are trying to surpass that.
“If that’s my limit then that’s my limit, but I don’t think it is.
“Top 50’s just a stepping stone to where I want to be.
“If I can crack that by March 25, absolutely brilliant, I’ll be at the Masters.
“If not, I’m only 25 this year, so there’s plenty years to be playing (Augusta).
“But I’ve got a great chance this year and golfers are always desperate for something better.
“If I can keep playing the golf I’m doing, I don’t see why not.”
Bob struggled a little with the constraints of the first lockdown last year, before blossoming again as the season continued and winning his first Tour event in Cyprus.
In the second lockdown, he knew what to do.
“If you go through a struggle and come out of it, then you’re in a better spot for the next struggle,” he said.
“I’ve been able to play more golf this lockdown.
“Last time I wasn’t touching a club.
“Also when I get away from home to go and compete, it changes me massively.
“I enjoy myself more, I feel the way I should.”
The win has relaxed him a little in some ways, but hardened his approach in others.
“Last season I was too worried about trying to win a tournament,” he said.
“If you are thinking about winning, you are focusing on the wrong thing because you can’t win them all.
“So now, if I set little goals that are achievable every week and keep feeling like I’m achieving, I can keep building, both on and off the course.
“You’ve got to be in a better place physically, mentally and emotionally, and when you do get a chance to win a golf tournament, come the last two holes, then you’re thinking ‘let’s win this thing’. Just think about the processes until it’s cut throat time.”
But he’s also learned from watching others that his happy-go-lucky style needed tempering towards more focus.
“I’ve played a lot of practice rounds with some of the top guys and I like to watch and study them,” he said.
“More into how they carry themselves and what they do in practice and in practice rounds.
“I used to play practice rounds with my phone in the back pocket, even on the range with it going ‘ping’ with all the notifications.
“Now I’ve stopped that.
“When I’m on the course or the range now, I’m there to do work.
“If that can help me get more focused on the range and on the course, if it improves me just 1%, then the phone’s staying in the bag.
“It was watching guys like Graeme McDowell, Tommy (Fleetwood) and Shane Lowry, mostly.
“They all do the same stuff and they’re more focused than I was.
“I’ve started to do that and I feel it’s helped me.”
Whatever comes this year, whether it be Augusta, the Ryder Cup or anything else, he knows what holds the key to it all.
“Everything will happen for me if I play good golf, it comes down to that,” he said.
“Every goal and everything people say about me is achievable.
“If I can keep playing the way I was playing at the end of last year, personally I think anything’s achievable.”