It’s not often one stays in a swanky hotel – my idea of opulence is an unlimited supply of fiddly 12ml UHT milk cartons and a packet of custard creams – but, when the opportunity to nestle in the lap of luxury does arrive, it merely serves to illuminate my own muddling ineptitude.

Take the showers in the bathroom, for instance. Doddering into the sumptuous, spacious embrace of a lavishly-pointed cubicle, you peer up to glimpse a vast ceiling-mounted faucet.

With de-robing gusto, you eagerly anticipate being drookit by the tumbling torrents while blissfully ignoring the variety of other aquatic accoutrements that are dangling here and there like a holster of water-spouting weapons King Neptune may have used in duel with Poseidon.

And what tends to happen when you switch the thing on? Yes, that’s right. The water comes thundering out of the one shower head you weren’t expecting it to and makes you shriek like a pantomime dame before forcing you to embark on a frantic, gasping, tap-twirling palaver as great spates cascade and erupt in triumphant abandon like the fountains outside Caesars bloomin’ Palace.


Meanwhile, here in the world of golf, we’re always waiting on our next young hopeful to make something of a splash and Robert MacIntyre has certainly done that this season.

The 23-year-old Oban lad has made so many waves in 2019, marine experts are trying to harness him for renewable energy sources. Becoming the European Tour’s rookie of the year put a shimmering lid on a stellar year for the young Scot.

That particular prize is named in honour of the great Sir Henry Cotton, the decorated English golfer who won three Open Championships in 1934, 1938 and 1948.

READ MORE: MacIntyre set sights high after winning rookie prize

Among his various pearls of golfing wisdom – “imagine the ball has little legs and chop them off” – Cotton also spouted an observation that remains pertinent when discussing MacIntyre’s intrepid campaign. “Golf is a matter of confidence,” said Cotton. “If you think you cannot do it, there is no chance you will.”

MacIntyre’s confidence has coursed through him for much of the year and his can-do approach has been wonderfully refreshing.

At times he would adopt the kind of bold, gung-ho sense of daring adventure that Evel Knievel used to employ when confronted by a row of London buses.

Think of his charging, throw-caution-to-the-wind, eagle, birdie finish at the British Masters that gave him the first of three runners-up finishes or that driver off the deck into a few feet at the 623-yard par-5 during the Italian Open which would be a candidate for shot of the season.


Having finished 11th on the Race to Dubai, and risen to 66th in the world rankings, MacIntyre is, quite rightly, setting his sights higher, with talk of Ryder Cups and breaking into the top 50 on the global order.

It’s not bad for a lad whose first round as a touring professional was a sobering 78 in Jordan on the third-tier MENA Tour in October 2017.

Speaking to his coach, Davy Burns, the other week it was interesting to note that one of the most pleasing moments of 2019 for him was watching how MacIntyre reacted to a sloppy bogey on one hole with an eagle and then a birdie on the next two during the Turkish Airlines Open.

That bouncebackability, for want of a better word, is something MacIntyre has developed and it is a highly valuable asset.

Let’s face it, golf is an inherently imperfect game of mistakes and unpredictable fortune. Nobody will ever truly master it but accepting the errors and responding with a defiant, positive attitude goes a long way in this pursuit of small margins and infuriatingly fine lines.

READ MORE: Rahm raid secures double delight in Dubai

MacIntyre’s willingness to knuckle down, take the mistakes on the chin and learn from them continues to stand him in very good stead. He may have earned nearly £2million but money can’t buy the talent, the drive, the mental fortitude, the humility and that special “something” that has taken MacIntyre to a level that countless other talented Scots coming out of the amateur game aspired to but got nowhere near reaching.

Amid all the plaudits and back-slapping, MacIntyre, and the team he has around him, will enjoy reflecting on a job well done but they will be well aware there can be no room for resting on laurels.

At the top level, you have to improve just to consolidate your position, but MacIntyre is not one to stand still.

He has achieved things in one season that many touring golfers will never experience and all the while it’s been done with an endearing nature that’s as down to earth as a muddied shinty stick.

This scribe and some of his colleagues got a hint of this honest and homely character when we had our first encounter with a young MacIntyre at the Scottish Boys’ Championship in 2012 at Murcar.

On the basis that Bubba Watson had won the Masters a couple of days earlier, we all decided, in the grand traditions of tenuous sporting links, that we would keep the left-hander theme running in the domestic Under-18s showpiece as MacIntyre eased through round two.

After parking himself in the press Portakabin, an environment so modest it made a disused quarry look like The Savoy, a slightly sheepish MacIntyre confessed to the small gaggle of scribblers that he didn’t actually know who had won the green jacket at Augusta and was hoping to watch a re-run of the highlights when he got home.

It was a rather cheery, chortling chapter broadly equivalent to that episode of the Likely Lads in which Terry and Bob tried to avoid hearing the result of an England fitba’ game during a prolonged caper.

Here in 2019, it is MacIntyre who is very much Scottish golf’s likely lad.