If Robert MacIntyre never wins a Scottish Open he’ll ‘struggle to forgive’ Rory McIlroy for stealing one

Robert MacIntyre admitted he might struggle to forgive Rory McIlroy for snatching victory from his grasp if he fails to add the Genesis Scottish Open title to his resume.

MacIntyre had set a daunting clubhouse target last year thanks to a sensational birdie on the 18th, just the second of the day on the closing hole at the Renaissance Club as strong winds made for testing conditions.

However, overnight leader McIlroy birdied the par-three 17th to get on level terms and then hit a stunning 2-iron approach into the last – which has since been commemorated with a plaque – before holing from 10 feet to seal an improbable win.

According to Ryder Cup statistics guru Edoardo Molinari, the probability that McIlroy would birdie both the 17th and 18th was just 0.15 percent.

“I don’t think I’ll ever forgive him if I don’t win a Scottish Open,” MacIntyre said with the hint of a smile. “If it’s not a major championship, this is the one I want.

“It was an incredible golf shot he hit. That was the winning shot, really. It was a good shot and it was a bit heartbreaking.”

Asked if he had spoken to McIlroy about it when they were teammates on Europe’s Ryder Cup side two months later, MacIntyre added: “I asked him one question at some point during the party.

“I had not spoken to him at all about it since the day it happened, and I always wanted to ask him about the putt (on 18). He thought he had missed it and it went in. So it just shows you, it doesn’t have to be perfect for it to work out.”

MacIntyre’s decision to take up his PGA Tour card this season certainly did not look like working out earlier this year, the left-hander openly admitting he was struggling to adapt to being away from home before benefiting hugely from a three-week spell back in Scotland.

2023 Genesis Scottish Open
2023 Genesis Scottish Open

Robert MacIntyre tees off on the 14th hole during the final round of the 2023 Genesis Scottish Open at The Renaissance Club in United Kingdom. (Photo: Octavio Passos/Getty Images)

The 27-year-old returned to the United States and finished eighth in the US PGA Championship before winning the RBC Canadian Open with his dad caddying, but will not be renewing the lease on his rental property in Florida when it runs out shortly.

“I’m still going to play over there,” MacIntyre said. “I’m just not going to pay a lot of money for a rental that I’m not staying in. I’ll maybe take a house for maybe a month, two months when I’m there.

“I’ve joined Isleworth so that will always be a place I go and practise in the wintertime, but there’s nothing like home. Scotland, this is where I want to be.”

MacIntyre admitted he was a bundle of nerves when he played alongside McIlroy in the Scottish Open in 2019, but it will be a different story when the pair are joined by Ryder Cup teammate Viktor Hovland for the first two rounds this week.

“Obviously with the Ryder Cup, being part of a team, I know him a lot better personally,” MacIntyre said.

“I’m still miles away from being one of his close pals, but I feel like if I ever need anything or ever want to ask a question, I can pick up the phone and ask. And Viktor I’ve known since we were 14, 15 years old playing boys’ golf.

“This is probably the most calm I’ve been (coming into a Scottish Open). It’s not been as frantic. Things have been under control. Yeah, my game has been up and down but it’s been up and down my whole golfing life.

“But this is the one that, as a Scot, I really want.

“Last year I came really close but there may not be another opportunity like that in my career playing golf. I’ve just got to try and play it as another event and give it my absolute best, which I will do.”

Story originally appeared on GolfWeek