WHILE Robert MacIntyre was sitting out in Texas waiting for his Masters invitation to officially arrive, spare a thought for his dad, Dougie, back home in soggy Oban.

“He was raging because the burn had overflown and the bridges have been swept away,” said MacIntyre of the meteorological trials and tribulations that his faither was facing as a greenkeeper at Glencruitten. “Other than that, he is over the moon for me.”

Every sodden cloud has a silver lining. After a spirited showing at the WGC Matchplay Championship in Austin, which featured a thrilling share of the honours with world No 1 Dustin Johnson and a spectacular, conceded eagle on the final hole against Adam Long which confirmed the Scot’s passage to the last 16, MacIntyre ensured that he will make a Masters debut next week. If they have any bunting left in Oban, it’ll be getting flung up again outside the Glencruitten clubhouse.

“This is what I’ve dreamed of since I was a wee kid,” said the 24-year-old world No 44. “You watch year in year out and think I’d love to play there one day, but realistically you think it’ll probably never happen.”

In MacIntyre’s rapid rise to global prominence in recent seasons, it’s easy to forget that the young Scot came within touching distance of a trip to Augusta back in 2016 when he was narrowly beaten in the final of the Amateur Championship at Porthcawl.

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The unpaid game’s showpiece offers all sorts of goodies to the champion, a Masters invitation among them. Missing out was a sore one to stomach but it injected MacIntyre with great purpose. “That loss was a driving force,” he reflected of that 2&1 defeat to Englishman Scott Gregory. “When you miss that opportunity, you think you’re never going to get that chance again. But it made me put everything in place to go and achieve it when I then started out as a professional. 

“From signing up with Bounce (his management company) to working with Davy (Burns, his coach) I believed we could do anything in the game that we wanted to with hard work. Now I’m going there as a pro and well within my rights to be in there trading punches at the business end.”

Augusta National conjures its own kind of acclaim. Such are the levels of worship showered upon this cathedral of golf, you have to be careful you don’t trip over folk who are crawling around on all fours in gushing reverence at the majesty of it all. MacIntyre is not one for being overawed by his surroundings but the European Tour winner will still allow himself that little bit extra time to gulp in Augusta’s abundant charms and iconic landmarks before getting down to business.

“I’m sure there will be emotions when I go but we’ll get there early to get that out of the way,” he added. “Driving up Magnolia Lane is going to be absolutely incredible. I’m sure we’ll be able to video that and save the moment for the rest of my life. 

“Just being there and being in the tournament will be great. But it’s not like I’m turning up as someone who isn’t going to compete.

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“I’m not worried about being a rookie. It doesn’t put me up or down whether I’m a rookie or a I’ve played a course 10 times. It doesn’t matter if I’m playing Glencruitten or Augusta. A bad shot will be punished, just more severely. At the end of the day, it’s just golf.”

MacIntyre’s matchplay efforts in Austin, and the fright he gave Johnson, raised his profile considerably on the other side of the pond. Some of the American golf writers, meanwhile, probably choked on their own brains trying to pronounce Glencruitten. “I’m not going out there shouting and screaming who I am but people take notice when you play good golf,” said MacIntyre, whose tussle with Johnson went to the wire as the reigning Masters champion covered his last three holes in three-under to salvage a half. “I think people took notice when I gave DJ a bit of a scare. He had to throw the kitchen sink at me. It lets me know I can compete against the best." 

MacIntyre has played Augusta “plenty of times” on a games console. Next week, though, it’s the real thing. The Oban lad continues to live the golfing dream.