Robert MacIntyre believes lessons learned in shinty will aid him in his quest to help Europe win back the Ryder Cup.
The left-hander from Oban, one of four rookies in Luke Donald’s European side, is gearing up for the biggest week of his career to date.
But MacIntyre, who regularly plays for Oban Celtic, believes his background in shinty has prepared him for the challenges ahead at Marco Simone Golf Club in Rome.
He said: “There’s been a lot going on but it feels very much like home.
“All the guys are behind each other for one goal.
“We say in shinty the one goal is to win the match and the one goal this week is to win the trophy back.
“Shinty is 12-a-side but it’s man on man.
“It’s not like football where the team will attack and they have a formation they attack with.
“In shinty it’s man against man.
“My dad is a coach and he always says, ‘Look, if you do your job right, then I’ll look after the guy there. If you do your job right, it takes care of itself.’
“It’s the same in the team aspect for golf.
“If I do my job, it helps the rest of the guys.
“I’m trying to take that into it and I find it very similar to the sports I enjoy.
“The main thing is just do your job well, and it will help the main goal.”
MacIntyre is enjoying the European team room but admits he hasn’t managed to wrestle control of the music yet.
He said: “I don’t think they will let me control the music. I like my Teuchter music.
“I don’t think they will let me put my phone to the speaker.
“I’ll probably drive them all out of the team room.”
On the team room, he added: “There’s a football changing room feel to it.
“You’ve obviously got the lockers on the one side and then you go through to another room and it gives you goosebumps when you walk into that room and they have got a shirt of Seve.
“It’s special. You’re in a special week.
“You’re in a golf tournament that means the world to the best players on the planet, and I’m sure once I kind of get more into it, it will be the same for me.”
An inspiration to European golfers
MacIntyre has also been spending time with fellow Scot Colin Montgomerie, who played in the Ryder Cup eight times before leading Europe to victory as captain in 2010.
MacIntyre said: “Last night I spoke to Monty, and for a Scotsman, Monty was everything.
“I’ve watched so many clips about him
“Monty has done everything in the game of golf. As a European golfer, he’s been an inspiration for many.
“Everything reverts back to just being yourself.
“You can try and change so much stuff and try to be something else.
“The majority of the experienced guys have said to just be yourself.”
MacIntyre was also asked if he already knew the role he is likely to play over the three days and who he could be paired with.
He added: I’ve got kind of a hint on who I’m going to be playing with and what I’m going to be playing in.
“Nothing’s going to prepare me for that first tee shot.
“It’s just plain and simple.
“It’s something bigger than I’ve ever been involved in and ever experienced.
“I just have to try and keep it as light as I can so that I can play golf the way I know that I can play golf, and the main part is just to enjoy it.”