MacIntyre Left 'Absolutely Gutted' But Near Miss In Scotland Boosts Ryder Cup Hopes

Robert MacIntyre was "gutted" to miss out on the Scottish Open, but his performance was a big boost to his Open and Ryder Cup chances

Robert MacIntyre at the 2023 Scottish Open
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Robert MacIntyre will never forget the reception he got as he came so close to winning the Scottish Open - but his performance at the Renaissance Club sets him up nicely for the Open and also the Ryder Cup.

The 26-year-old said he was "absolutely gutted" that Rory McIlroy just foiled his dream to "win the one that I really, really wanted" and become just the third home winner of the Scottish Open.

However, one bright spot is that his performance has moved him up eight places into an automatic qualifying spot in the European Ryder Cup standings heading into the Open where more points are available.

MacIntyre played one of the shots of the year on 18 to birdie the hole and take the clubhouse lead, but McIlroy followed suit with a stunner on the last himself to finish birdie-birdie and win by one.

"It's one I've dreamed of winning since I watched at home, and I thought today coming down once I birdied 18, I thought, this might be the one," said MacIntyre.

"But it's not to be just now."

Along with also gaining a Special Temporary Membership on the PGA Tour, the left-hander got a rousing reception from the home fans after his incredible birdie on the last - to finish a week that will live long in the memory.

"I'll never forget it," he added. "I had to take a minute coming off 18. I mean, that's why I play this sport. That's why I'm in The Scottish Open, and if not The Open, The Scottish Open will be up there with the event I want to play for the rest of my life."

MacIntyre went close in Denmark the week before Scotland when a nightmare closing back nine cost him - but his finish this Sunday was superb.

Robert MacIntyre at the 2023 Scottish Open

(Image credit: Getty Images)

It took McIlroy playing some of his very best golf to beat him, and that will be a big boost heading to Royal Liverpool in what could be more challenging links conditions for MacIntyre to impress in.

"Last week, I felt like I had two hands on the trophy and I let it go," he added. "This week, I was nowhere near it. I wasn't even within touching distance of the trophy and went out there and put in a performance.

"Just Rory McIlroy's potentially the best in the world, and he showed why today. Take my hat off to him.

"Just looking forward to next week. Just go out there and play golf the same way. There's going to be a little expectation, a lot of talk from the media and stuff, but for me, same people going down next week, not as big a house, no tennis court, but we'll have fun."

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MacIntyre in position to make Ryder Cup team

The signs are now looking pretty good for MacIntyre becoming a Ryder Cup rookie in Rome this year - especially if he can replicate this form at Hoylake.

He's in one of the six automatic spots but captain Luke Donald must have been impressed with his finish in Scotland so he'd be right up there in his thinking even for a wildcard.

With his last DP World Tour victory also coming at the same Marco Simone Golf Club being used for the Ryder Cup, he's got plenty of things in his favour - including a vote of confidence from McIlroy.

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"If Bob can shoot 64 on a day like today, he can do anything," said McIlroy. 

"I mean, that was an unbelievable round of golf. And it's great to see him back in form, as well. 

"Obviously he had the win in Rome last year, and then he sort of went off a little bit but it's nice to see him hitting some form again, especially at an important point of the year when he's looking to try to make that Ryder Cup."

Paul Higham
Contributor

Paul Higham is a sports journalist with over 20 years of experience in covering most major sporting events for both Sky Sports and BBC Sport. He is currently freelance and covers the golf majors on the BBC Sport website.  Highlights over the years include covering that epic Monday finish in the Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor and watching Rory McIlroy produce one of the most dominant Major wins at the 2011 US Open at Congressional. He also writes betting previews and still feels strangely proud of backing Danny Willett when he won the Masters in 2016 - Willett also praised his putting stroke during a media event before the Open at Hoylake. Favourite interviews he's conducted have been with McIlroy, Paul McGinley, Thomas Bjorn, Rickie Fowler and the enigma that is Victor Dubuisson. A big fan of watching any golf from any tour, sadly he spends more time writing about golf than playing these days with two young children, and as a big fair weather golfer claims playing in shorts is worth at least five shots. Being from Liverpool he loves the likes of Hoylake, Birkdale and the stretch of tracks along England's Golf Coast, but would say his favourite courses played are Kingsbarns and Portrush.