The gasp of relief that Robert MacIntyre let out when he held on to the final qualifying place for Europe’s Ryder Cup team the other day was considerable.

It was nothing, however, compared to the one his manager Iain Stoddart gave when his star client informed him that he was giving up shinty as the race to make Luke Donald’s side intensified. Stoddart’s puffing exhalation just about registered on the Beaufort Scale.

Thwacking away with the caman has always been MacIntyre’s preferred choice of escapism from the cut-and-trust of professional golf and the 27-year-old would regularly turn out for Oban Celtic in between his forays on the DP World Tour.

The crash, bang, wallop of shinty, of course, can easily lead to a few painful clatters in the, er, camanachds. And as for his hands, those precious tools of his golfing trade? Well, they are just about as valuable as Richard Clayderman’s digits. You can understand Stoddart’s delight, then, when MacIntyre informed him that the shinty stick would be staying in the cupboard.

“It was Bob MacIntyre’s instructions,” said a smiling MacIntyre of his own judgement call. “I was driving home from The Open and speaking to people in the car and we decided that if I played shinty, got injured, got in the team and was unable to play, I’d never live it down. I’d regret it for the rest of my life.

“So, I’ve not touched a stick. There’s too much to lose. This is the best thing that’s happened in my career. It’s a risk that’s not worth taking.”

MacIntyre’s place in Europe’s 12-man side was confirmed at the end of the Omega European Masters on Sunday. So far, life as Scotland’s newest Ryder Cupper has all been very down to earth.

“I spent some time with my mum, who was looking after my wee niece,” he said of some gentle domestic duties. “I then picked up my other niece from nursery. Nothing's changed. I’m going to play golf with some of the boys too. My life ain’t changing.”

The Ryder Cup is certainly career-changing, though. A decade ago, he was starting off in team golf as an under-18 amateur with Scotland and GB&I. Here in 2023, the Oban lefty will play in golf’s ultimate team tussle in Rome.

“When you are building up your career, you think the pressure of those weeks (in the amateur game) is the biggest thing ever,” reflected MacIntyre. “But when you have a good professional career, you’ll look back and wonder why you worried about, say, losing the Amateur Championship final. There is so much more to it (a career) than that. At the time, though, you think your career is over almost.

“I have stepped up all the way through my amateur career and professional golf has just been a gradual climb. The Ryder Cup was the next thing for me.”

MacIntyre is already a winner at this month’s Ryder Cup venue having won the Italian Open at the Marco Simone course last year to launch his qualifying push. The fevered colosseum of the Ryder Cup will be a different kettle of fish.

“I’ve spoken to a few people who said it took them over a minute to actually get the ball to sit on a tee,” chuckled MacIntyre of the knee-knocking, hand-shoogling tension of the contest.

“I’m quite a cool character, but I’m sure it’ll take me a wee minute to get the ball to sit on the tee nicely too. I can’t wait to experience it and, hopefully, it is the first of many.

“It’s just cool to be part of it. It’s what I have dreamed of as a kid. I just hope it’s everything I have dreamed of. I’m sure it will be and more.”

As the player in the last automatic qualifying place, MacIntyre was a hunted man last weekend as those behind him on the points tried to pounce. He must have felt as uncomfortable as a gazelle that’s just discovered it’s been surrounded by a pride of lions.

“It was pretty much out with my control by the end of the week as I didn’t play well,” he said of a 55th place finish. “I was banging my head of a wall in the hotel room there. I was just happy to get over the line.”

Those around him, meanwhile, are happy that the shinty stick has been ditched. For the time being at least.