ATHLETIC elegance, mindful innovation, refined performance? But forget the attributes of Robert MacIntyre for a moment. These were also the buzzwords and marketing phrases used to describe the finely-tuned engineering of Genesis, the swanky motor car company which is now the title sponsor of the Scottish Open. The same words could be used to paint a picture of this correspondent’s Austin Allegro too.

As for the Scottish Open? Well, it’s certainly attracting some sparkling golfing marques. MacIntyre will be at the vanguard of the home assault and, with reigning Masters champion and world No.1 Scottie Scheffler committing to the championship, four of the world’s top-10 are now already confirmed for the domestic showpiece.

“I don’t think there are many bigger tournaments outside the majors,” said MacIntyre of the kind of glittering line up you used to get at Live from Her Majesty’s. 

“I think it’s comfortably in the top-10 standard-wise (of a global event). I’ve only played a couple of Scottish Opens and one was during Covid, but the level it is going towards is out of this world. The first event I played was big, but now it has more big players playing and it has definitely elevated it to another level. It sits in a perfect position on the schedule too.”

That long-standing position, the week before The Open, certainly helps when luring in the global big-hitters while the co-sanctioning of the championship with the PGA Tour has given it added lustre.

MacIntyre made his debut in the Scottish Open at The Renaissance in 2019 as a rookie on the DP World Tour and was flung into one of the marquee groups with Rory McIlroy and Rickie Fowler

“It was unbelievable,” recalled MacIntyre.“I remember teeing it up and thinking ‘just make contact with this thing’. I was so nervous because I had never met these guys, never mind played with them. But, once I got playing with them, I realised they were just two normal guys.

“You have to gain respect from the top guys; you can’t just expect to have it. I think I showed that week in 2019 that I can handle it and play some decent golf. I think the majority now realise I’m not here to make up numbers, I’m here to compete.”

Three years on from that eye-opening Scottish Open outing, and now a tour champion and a regular in major championships, MacIntyre has found a level of comfort you tend to get with a nice cardigan that has been warmed at the three-bar fire

“To this day, I walk into a locker-room and mine and Rory’s lockers are often near each other because of our surnames,” added the 25-year-old. “I chat to him most weeks when he and I are playing. It’s just incredible for me to think this is the level of golf I’m playing at.”

Those locker room chats can be quite illuminating for a young man who has made great strides in the game but still has plenty to learn.

“One of the best ones was when we were in the locker- room at Riviera for the Genesis (the PGA Tour event in Los Angeles) with another player, Peter Malnati,” said MacIntyre.

“We were talking about schedules and whatnot and he [Malnati] asked how often we had to change an event. Rory said, ‘I don’t play more than 25, so I have to change one now and again’. Peter said ‘I wish I was one of the big boys’ and Rory turned to him and said ‘Peter, there’s nothing stopping you being one of the big boys’.

“It just shows that anyone can do it. Where Rory came from, people wouldn’t expect him to be who he is. There’s nothing stopping anyone from being a top golfer."

MacIntyre has certainly become a top golfer as he continues to carry the saltire with great aplomb. The expectations on him are akin to the burden Atlas used to shoulder but the young Scot is relishing his role as Scotland’s No.1.

“For me, outside of the majors the Scottish Open is the one,” added MacIntyre of his title hopes this summer. “As a Scot, it’s the one you want to win and, with the standard of the field and everything that comes with it, it would mean absolutely everything. For me it’s the fifth major.”