Robert MacIntyre hopes this week’s WGC at The Concession is the start of a memorable run of five tournaments in the United States which culminates in a maiden appearance at The Masters in April.
The 24-year-old from Oban will tee up in next week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational before hopefully playing The Players Championship at Sawgrass, the WGC Match Play in Austin and the first major of 2021 at Augusta.
His upcoming run of elite competitions on the PGA Tour is reward for breaking into the world’s top 50.
MacIntyre, sitting at 43rd in the rankings, is the top left-hander in the world – nine places ahead of American Bubba Watson.
The Scot will be assured of a first start at The Masters on April 8 if he is still inside the top 50 a week before the major gets under way.
MacIntyre said: “It’s where everyone wants to be. It’s where I have wanted to be for the last year when I had my sights set on it.
“Now I am there, it’s about trying to take the opportunity by playing well in these events to climb the rankings even more and try to put your own mark on the world of golf.
“The excitement levels are huge, not just for me but my caddie Mike (Thomson) as well.
“It’s another step up in the standard of golf.
“Hopefully it could be five world class tournaments in a row.
“It is about getting comfortable as once I get comfortable I start playing good golf.
“I have played a few big events but it is about being comfortable week-in and week-out.
“I have felt comfortable on the European Tour for a good year and a bit now.
“It is a step up but it is about trying to feel you belong there.
“I know a lot of the guys out there now and I feel comfortable amongst most of them.
“There is still the odd person who if I was drawn with them I would feel a little star-struck.
“That is part of golf and until I get over the line and play with these guys it will feel the same way.”
MacIntyre would love the chance to get the opportunity to tee up alongside one of his golfing heroes and fellow lefty Phil Mickelson during his run of tournaments in the States.
He said: “He is someone I have looked up to since I was a wee guy.
“To pass him and Bubba in the rankings is pretty cool.
“It’s another achievement as a young kid you would dream of happening. The chances of it happening are so slim.
“I have managed to do that and nobody can take that away as I have held that for a period of time.
“It’s not a big major achievement for me but it is cool to be able to say I have done it.
“Playing with Phil or Bubba would be massive for me.
“I thought I would have had the chance by now with Phil playing in a few European Tour events but it hasn’t happened.
“It will be a step up and a surreal moment but when I step back from it, it is just going to be another guy marking my scorecard who swings it the same way I swing a golf club.
“It is about taking each individual person separately and trying to embrace what’s going on and learn from what they do.”
Left-handed golfers have enjoyed a reasonable degree of success at Augusta over the years, which provides MacIntyre with even more motivation – as if it is needed – to make the trip down Magnolia Lane in April.
Mike Weir was the first lefty to don the Green Jacket in 2003, prompting a run of six left-handed winners in the space of 12 years thanks to the success enjoyed by Mickelson (2004, 2006 and 2010) and Watson (2012 and 2014).
MacIntyre said: “They have seen it a fair few times.
“I’ve never even been in Georgia, never mind Augusta. Hopefully I get there.
“I still have a lot of work to do but if the time comes we’ll take it all in. It’s going to be a bit of a shock but I’ll make sure I enjoy it.”
MacIntyre feels confident he can put any thoughts of Augusta out of his mind if he makes it into contention in any of the events leading up to the major.
He said: “I can’t worry about being at The Masters if I am coming down the stretch on a Sunday.
“I can’t be worrying about the fact a top-10 secures a place at the Masters.
“I need to focus on trying to win a golf tournament.
“It’s not about just the Masters, it’s about the bigger picture.
“There is so much more to gain than just playing in the Masters. There are so many more opportunities.
“If I play good golf it will all take care of itself.
— Bounce (@bouncespmgt) February 22, 2021
“I am pretty good at not worrying about these sorts of things.
“I used to worry about winning golf tournaments and I obviously had a few chances to do that in my first season.
“But it was drummed into me not to worry about winning tournaments and I did a lot of work not worrying about that and just going and playing golf and adding up my score at the end and I’m sure that’s helped me.
“I have been talking about the Masters for a year now since the pandemic started and I was getting close and then I dropped down the rankings.
“But I knew that as long as I put in the work these things are possible.
“I didn’t see that it wasn’t going to happen. It was about putting myself through my paces and doing the work and if it’s there, it’s there.
“But I’m still young and I have plenty years ahead of me.”