It’s going to be fascinating to watch Robert MacIntyre take on Dustin Johnson in the WGC Dell Technologies Match Play today.
Robert will know he has a tough task ahead, but it would be a major boost to his Ryder Cup aspirations if he manages to beat the world number one.
He feels that the match-play format suits his game, but he has been dealt a tough group with Kevin Na and Adam Long.
That's one way to win the hole.@Robert1Lefty sinks it for eagle from off the green.
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) March 24, 2021
I love the format of this event and there were some great draws, including a ‘‘group of death’’ with Lee Westwood, Tyrrell Hatton, Matt Wallace and Sergio Garcia all drawn together.
Only one player progresses from each of the 16 groups to the knockout stages over the weekend, so the players know they have to be hitting form straight away.
It’s the top 64 players in the world and the last man in the field is more than capable of beating one of the players in the top three.
I will be tuning in to watch Robert face Dustin and it’s going to be a great experience for him.
If he wants to do well in this tournament, he is going to have to beat guys of that calibre at some stage. Hopefully he’ll give DJ a real test and gets the win.
If Robert does make it out of a group containing the world’s number one, I’m sure it won’t go unnoticed by Europe’s captain Padraig Harrington.
What a back nine from Bob MacIntyre.
— The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) March 24, 2021
It will also be interesting to see how Rory McIlroy gets on after confirming he will work with a new coach, the celebrated Pete Cowen.
He has admitted he has made mistakes trying to alter his game to match Bryson DeChambeau’s distance.
Rory is not the type to do something on the whim. He will have thought long and hard about this, particularly as he has worked with his coach Michael Bannon since the age of eight.
He has worked with Pete on an informal basis in the past at tournaments that Michael couldn’t attend and clearly feels he will benefit from a different set of eyes looking at his swing.
Pete will keep it simple and not overcomplicate things. That’s all Rory needs and there is no one more experienced than Pete.
It’s a bold decision and time will tell if he has made the right choice.
Connor Syme shows promise in Kenya
Drumoig’s Connor Syme finished third in the Magical Kenya Open presented by Johnnie Walker to leap 101 spots up the Race to Dubai rankings to 57th place.
He flew up the leaderboard on Sunday with a closing 64 to cap off a fine performance.
Callum Hill also finished in the top 10 and it was great to see a couple of Scots near the top.
Last season would have been useful for players such as Connor and Callum as they were able to experience European Tour events knowing that they were going to retain their cards for 2021.
He went close at the Wales Open at Celtic Manor last year so he knows he can compete at this level. It won’t be long before you see Connor winning.
I played with Callum in Qatar and he is another good talent. I feel Scottish golf is in a good place as we seem to be seeing more Saltires in the leading groups on a regular basis.
Everybody needs a buddy to bounce off
I am pleased that the buddy support initiative launched by my foundation and my management company Bounce last week has been well received.
I have been working with my manager Iain Stoddart to put this in place.
The initiative will see a professional taking an amateur under their wing by playing the occasional game together and being there to offer advice.
Robert MacIntyre has paired with fellow left-hander Cameron Adam, while Grant Forrest, Liam Johnston and Callum Hill are also buddying up with amateur players.
We have players at my foundation who are reaching 16, 17 and 18 and contemplating trying to make a career in the sport.
The transition from amateur to professional can be tough, but we have young pros like Robert who can talk to them.
I am there for them whenever they want, but we feel buddying them up with a young pro will also help.
Iona Stephen, the former Ladies European Tour pro who now works as a television presenter and commentator, is also going to buddy up with Carys Irvine as she is interested in working in the media.
I have been overwhelmed by the young pros who have been so ready to give up their time.
Hopefully this can play a part in giving these amateur players that little bit of extra support if they want to turn professional.