Justin Rose backed Oban’s Robert MacIntyre to produce Ryder Cup fireworks this weekend after the pair ensured Europe didn’t lose a single match to their US rivals on Friday’s opening day.
The Europeans led 4-0 following a clean sweep in the morning foursomes at Marco Simone Golf Club in Rome, and Rose’s clutch putt for birdie on the last meant he and partner MacIntyre tied their closing afternoon fourballs battle with American pairing Wyndham Clark and Max Homa to leave the home team with a handsome 6.5-1.5 advantage going into the weekend.
Despite the elation of the dramatic finish to their match, it was clear rookie MacIntyre was in a battle with his game at points during his maiden Ryder Cup round.
Afterwards, Rose gave him some words of encouragement, saying: “I’m obviously delighted we got something out of that game. We fought really, really hard out there today, and I just didn’t want us to be the only ones to let (US) red be on the board the whole day long. Do you know what I mean?
“What an epic performance from the lads this morning, and some really tight matches out there this afternoon, but the 18th hole looks like it’s been so incredibly kind to us.
“Bobby is going to get his turn. He played good today and just couldn’t get the momentum going. But that’s coming and he’s going to turn that around on someone this weekend.
“That was my moment there on 18 – which was for him, and for us, and for the whole team.”
— Ryder Cup Europe (@RyderCupEurope) September 29, 2023
MacIntyre nevertheless cut a smiling figure in his post-round interview and seemed to have enjoyed his first Ryder Cup playing experience.
He also paid tribute to veteran Rose, saying: “It was brilliant. I struggled out on the greens today, but that’s why we’ve got a partner and he was unbelievable.
“The guy (Rose) has been the world number one before. He’s done everything in the game of golf and he proved it again today.”
— Ryder Cup (@rydercup) September 29, 2023
Rose described the feeling of watching his climactic game-tying birdie putt drop as “immense”, insisting the lead Europe have over the US going into Saturday and Sunday is more than he was expecting at one point during the fourballs.
Scot MacIntyre and the Englishman were two down with two holes to play, and Rose added: “It looked like 2.5-1.5 to America (in the afternoon), and I actually thought that would be a pretty solid effort – leading by three after day one. You’d absolutely have taken that.
“But obviously the boys – Rambo (Jon Rahm), Viktor (Hovland) – all making puts on 18, and us squeezing out from two down with two to play… This 18th hole into the setting sun has done us proud.”