THE food maketh the Masters. But forget those Augusta National staple sandwiches of pimento cheese, egg salad or classic chicken. Robert MacIntyre has his own recipe for success in this corner of Georgia. Well, it’s his mum Carol’s recipe actually. 

“It’s the cakes,” drooled the young Scot with the kind of excessive salivating that could cause flooding in Rae’s Creek. “She’s brilliant at baking. On that first morning last year, we were up at 6.30am and there were homemade cookies and blueberry friands on the table ready to go. I can’t help myself.”

There’s always food for thought at The Masters. And MacIntyre provided plenty of it last year. A thrilling debut, capped off by a brave birdie putt on the final green, gave the Oban lefty a wonderful share of 12th place and ensured a return invitation to this annual golfing rite of spring.

The wider MacIntyre clan will be on site too. With a family unit that’s as tight knit as a closely fought sewing bee, the 25-year-old has always extoled the benefits of having his nearest and dearest around him at golf’s big occasions.

“It’s daft, but if you look at all my top results you can see where my mum’s been,” he said. “I don’t have to worry about anything when she’s there. I get back and she says, ‘right, what time are you wanting dinner?’. It’s absolutely brilliant and that’s a massive help for me.”

This edition of the Masters will be MacIntyre’s eighth appearance in a major championship. He’s made the cut in every one and has two top-10 finishes at The Open. It’s an impressive body of work in a professional career that’s only four-and-a-bit years old.

“Even last year, I could have walked away from the game knowing I had played in all the biggest tournaments apart from the Ryder Cup,” reflected MacIntyre, who remains proudly tethered to his Oban roots.

“People say you can’t do things coming from where we come from. And if you’d said that by 24 or 25 I’d be doing all this, I probably would’ve said ‘no chance’.

“But if you have the drive and the backing from the people who are behind you, I think you can do anything.

“Touch wood, I’ve not missed a cut in a major yet. But I’ve not really had a chance to win one yet either.

“Hopefully, this year, we’ll have a couple of opportunities. I have as much chance as anyone when I peg it up on Thursday and that’s the best thing about our sport. Even if you’re three or four back on the Sunday, you’re still in the fight. That’s all you can ask for at the top level … although I hope I’ve got a five-shot lead.”

Last year’s Masters was a step into the unknown for MacIntyre but he embraced the challenge with great gusto. Augusta National, with its elevation changes, subtle slopes and abundant nooks and crannies, just about requires the nous of a cartographer to chart a successful course. 

MacIntyre can always call on a little help from a Masters-winning friend in the 2018 champion, Patrick Reed. “I get on absolutely magic with him,” said the world No 73. “I played with him during my first year on tour in Turkey along with Nacho Elvira. I shot nine under, Patrick shot eight and Nacho shot seven. It was daft.

“I think that was when they thought ‘who is that?’ They realised you are not just there to make up the numbers. I got the respect there. When I would go out to America, and I’d lost a bit of weight, Patrick would crack jokes. He still does, and he still calls me certain names. I think that’s great for making you feel comfortable. 

“I got his number after a while and messaged him for some advice. If I want to ask him anything he just says ‘message me’ and he’ll give me as much advice as he can. 

“For Augusta last year, he did so much. There are certain things associated with Augusta and they say the ball always runs to a certain point on that course. For example, halfway down the ninth fairway he (Reed) stopped Mike (MacIntyre’s caddie) and put a dot on every hole (in the yardage book) where the ball runs to.

“Mike turned to me and said, ‘he didn’t need to do that’. And he didn’t. He could have left us wondering where the ball was going to run but Mike handed him the book and he did it for us. It shows the guy’s got respect for you and I’ve got the utmost respect for him.”

Perhaps MacIntyre can repay Reed with one of his mother’s cakes?