Regular readers will not be interested in the slightest to know that I have been attempting to do much more creative cooking over these past few months. 

For a man who used to think that Haricot Verts was a French spy, while believing I’d reached the peak of my culinary invention by delicately sprinkling some hand torn basil over a Pot Noodle, this period of gastronomic enlightenment has been quite the eye-opener.

“Corden Bleu?,” asked my wife with an inquisitive, concerned peer at the hob as various things boiled and bubbled like the witches’ cauldron in Macbeth. “No, it’s just my apron is a bit tight,” I spluttered with a wincing gasp.

So much for a recipe for success eh? At least Scotland’s golfers have managed to dish up some fine fare in this strangest of sporting years. Now there’s a crushingly awful link to today's haverings that is as limp as the pastry on my Boeuf en Croute.

Marc Warren’s win on the European Tour in Austria back in July was followed by Martin Laird’s terrific victory on the PGA Tour a couple of weeks ago. And now here we are, savouring Robert MacIntyre’s maiden triumph at the top table in Cyprus on Sunday which was so satisfying it should have been awarded a Michelin star.

After those trio of runners-up finishes during his rookie season last year, as well as a few more top-10s and some sterling showings in various debuts at major championships, all and sundry have been saying “it’s just a matter of time before he wins.”

Of course, in this pursuit, winning does not come easily. English Ryder Cup player Oliver Wilson, for instance, had nine runners-up finishes on the European Tour before finally making the breakthrough in his 228th event on the circuit and winning the Dunhill Links Championship in 2014.

Nothing is a given in this endlessly fascinating, fickle game of fine margins, fine lines, what ifs and what might have beens. At 24, though, and just over three years after he began his professional career with a 78 in a MENA Tour event in the Middle East, MacIntyre is a European Tour champion.   

It’s been a thrilling rise and one that has been, and continues to be, captivating to watch. MacIntyre has managed to establish himself in the upper echelons of the game in a way that a succession of young, talented and eagerly championed Scottish golfers before him did not.

In many ways, the Oban left-hander’s rise to prominence goes against the Caledonian trend of recent years. Here is a golfer who achieved just about everything he could in the amateur game actually hitting the ground running in the professional scene and thriving, from winning in just his second pro event on that aforementioned MENA Tour to coming up through the Challenge Tour in his first full year in 2018 and now winning on the European Tour.

It’s been the kind of instant impact that’s often made by young players from other countries … but not Scotland, right?

There have been countless Scots down the seasons with similarly shimmering amateur cvs to MacIntyre who we thought were stick-ons or would at least be solid touring campaigners. None of them have been close to scaling those heights as the tricky conundrum of the amateur-to-pro transition continues to generate the kind of head-scratching you’d get if Stan Laurel was asked to re-count the US election votes in Georgia.

In this nation’s cherished position as the cradle of the game, we certainly have no right to success. We were probably spoiled by the exploits of the likes of Sandy Lyle, Colin Montgomerie, Sam Torrance, Paul Lawrie or Catriona Matthew who were all successful for very different reasons. In this very individual pursuit, there is certainly no one-size-fits-all model.

You can talk and argue about development programmes here or pathways and academies there. But there is no support system or network that can fortify natural talent with the necessary drive and discipline needed to give yourself a fighting chance of prospering in this inherently imperfect game of unpredictable fortune. That can only come from within.

MacIntyre has that special “something” in bucket loads while his easy-going, grounded nature masks a fierce, business-like approach that can be as ruthless as Alan Sugar on a cost-cutting exercise.

From quitting US college halfway through a scholarship back in 2015 as he felt it wasn’t right for his future ambitions to parting from his caddie earlier this season, MacIntyre has the strong-will and the single-mindedness to do what he feels is best for him.

It’s not been an easy ride, of course. His admission in the emotional aftermath of his win that life in the European Tour’s strict coronavirus-enforced bubble had taken a mental toll on him put into sharp focus the psychological rigours of life on the road, particularly in this challenging, wearisome year when freedom of movement has been curtailed and the churn of golf course, hotel room, golf course has been magnified. That he speaks openly about those fragilities is a credit to him.

The bunting will be up in Oban this week as MacIntyre returns to a hero’s welcome. He’ll certainly not be resting on his laurels, though.