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Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship: Robert MacIntyre ready to fire in 2022 after welcome home break

Robert MacIntyre is ready to launch his 2022 season in Abu Dhabi.

Robert MacIntyre thinks he’s “pretty sound” going into the season opening Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship and wants to build on his previous Gulf successes.

The top-ranked Scot had planned to open his new season in South Africa before the Omicron variant hit, but that just gave him more time to relax and prepare for the New Year.

‘Everything’s been pretty sound’

“It was great being at home for seven weeks, I think it was, before coming out here to Abu Dhabi for a week’s training,” he said.

“I’ve not really done much technique-stuff. Everything’s been pretty sound. I’ve just started working with Stuart Morgan on performance-related stuff and it’s been really good.

“I’m seeing the effects of it in practice and it’s just trying to put it into my performance on the golf course.”

MacIntyre’s four best performances of 2021 were the Masters, The Open – and two big events in the Gulf, the Dubai Desert Classic and the DP World Championship at the end of the year.

“Really we’re just trying to do what we did last year in the DP World,” he said. “Maybe hole more putts. If I do that, then we can compete.

“But it’s just about going out there and enjoying myself again. I started doing that at the end of the year. Just ignoring everything around the golf and going out there because you love playing it.

“I’m comfortable out here. I don’t know what it is. I just go out there and play golf and see where we end up.”

‘It gives you room to play’

The Abu Dhabi event has moved the Kyle Phillips-designed Yas Links this year, a familiar design to MacIntyre and many others despite a very different setting next to the Abu Dhabi F1 track.

“It’s obviously designed for the wind,” said the Scot. “It’s the same designer as Kingsbarns, which is designed for the wind as well.

“Like there, the slopes on and around the greens are massive. Pins are going to be in sections of the greens that will reward good shots.

“It gives you room to play. But if you are off (line), you do get punished and that’s the way it should be.

“It’s a bit of everything. You can’t really bump anything into banks and hop them up. Any time you try to play something into a bank, it seems to kill it.”

The main aim of the year is to win again, and he’s confident he can do it.

“100 per cent,” he said. “The final event last year was disappointing the way I finished it, but I was there all the way.

“Now I feel the putting is there and tee to green game is there. It’s just about matching it up.

‘I can start enjoying myself a bit more’

“I don’t really set many goals. Obviously, I have little targets like getting back in the top 50 in the world and will just ride the waves when they come.

“The main thing is enjoying myself and with Covid disappearing hopefully, I can start enjoying myself a bit more with friends and family at more events.

“If I can enjoy myself and play with a smile on my face, then I can be a dangerous man.

“It’s no surprise that I’ve played well in the majority of my majors and that’s because I’ve had friends and family around to support me. That makes me feel as though I am staying at home in Oban.”

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