Robert MacIntyre is made of sturdy stuff. Given his background in shinty, a sport in which the myriad thwacks and clatters could potentially leave you nursing a higgledy-piggledy face that resembles a clump of raw ginger, it’s not surprising to learn that a sair wrist ahead of the BMW PGA Championship is being dismissed with a nonchalant shrug.

“I’ve had some sore hits on the shinty pitch so a bit of pain in my hand is not going to bother me,” said the Oban left-hander. “I was pretty lucky at shinty though. Actually, my worst injury was playing football with my mates and I broke my elbow.”

MacIntyre is making his debut in the European Tour’s flagship event this week while the qualifying race for next year’s Ryder Cup also sets sail here in the leafy Surrey stockbroker belt.

Not so long ago, the idea of the 23-year-old being in the Ryder Cup equation would have seemed beyond his wildest dreams.


The strides MacIntyre has made during his rookie year on tour, however, means the biennial bout is not so fanciful after all. He was even given a ringing endorsement by the European captain, Padraig Harrington, during a press conference in which the Dubliner unveiled the experienced Swede, Robert Karlsson, as his first vice-captain.

“I’ve already played with him and was really, really impressed with him,” said Harrington, who admitted that he has a list of 20 or so up-and-coming young players that he is keen to keep an eye on over the next year.

“I definitely liked his game, no doubt about it. I’d be very happy if he plays his way into my team.”

READ MORE: McIlroy welcomes tour's new pace of play measures

With three second place finishes to his name this season – the latest arrived in the European Open a fortnight ago – MacIntyre continues to make his presence felt at the top table.

He has hit the ground running and with every impressive result comes new opportunity. Despite his huge advances up the golfing order, the canny, unassuming MacIntyre, who remains as grounded as a delayed flight, is not one for being distracted by visions of grandeur.

“I’ve got my own goals and the Ryder Cup is a by product of that,” said the former Scottish Amateur champion. “If I reach all my goals then who knows where it could lead to?


“The Ryder Cup not one of the main goals just now, I’m just focussing on doing the right things with my game. I just want to keep doing what I’m doing. It’s obviously working so why change it?”

The West Course here at Wentworth is a demanding beast and MacIntyre knows he will have to be at his best in a mighty field that features 20 of the world’s top 50.

“It depends on what Bob turns up,” added the world No 96 with a smile when asked if the course suits his style. “If I’m striking it well then it will suit. If we’re not then it’s going to be tough. Driving and long irons will be key.

READ MORE: Europe win thrilling Solheim Cup at Gleneagles

“This is as strong a field as there’s been on the tour but I’m still going out to win. That’s the name of the game. I wouldn’t be playing if I didn’t think I could contend.”

And as for that aforementioned wrist? Well, MacIntyre had an MRI scan on it last week and bruising on the bone was diagnosed.

“It’s from the links turf,” he added of that period during the summer where he played three seaside showpieces on the trot. “I was struggling at the Scottish Open tee to green during practice. I then went and battered balls for hours and they think that’s what caused the injury.

“I’m taking the odd painkiller and I’m taking it a bit easier in practice. I’m not going to be easing off in tournaments, though.”