Golf has never been an exact science. Then again, some of the more plootering, pondering exponents of this game almost look like they are devising some kind of E=mc2 equation for getting a 7-iron onto the green as they take an eternity to calculate a bloomin’ yardage.

One can only imagine how Colin Prater, a qualifier for this coming week’s US Open at Pinehurst, is approaching his first appearance in a major championship. He is a high school science teacher, after all.

As for our own Robert MacIntyre? Well, his formula for success is quite simple. He just comes back to Oban.

The 27-year-old’s fondness for his home town has been so well-documented in recent years, you half expect his affectionate musings to be held in a vast vault of cuttings in the town’s public library.

After making his breakthrough on the PGA Tour last weekend, with an emotional victory alongside his dad at the RBC Canadian Open, Orlando-based MacIntyre travelled back to Scotland for some invigorating gulps of the west coast air. And perhaps one or two gulps of some celebratory beverage.

It's back to business now, though. The US Open will be MacIntyre’s 14th major appearance. Last time out, at the US PGA Championship in May, he shared eighth place, his third top-10 in one of golf’s grand slam events.

Having missed just one cut in all of those major campaigns, MacIntyre continues to compile a decent body of work.

The step up to the PGA Tour and the relocation to the other side of the pond has been challenging, both professionally and personally, but MacIntyre continues to rise to that challenge.

Slowly but surely he’s working out a way to juggle home life and working life. That process has been made easier by the fact that he’s now a tour winner and can pick and choose a schedule instead of careering here, there and everywhere in the quest to gain a foothold on the circuit.

“A couple of months ago, I wasn’t enjoying playing golf in America,” he admitted. “Even going back to Orlando and not touching the clubs for a few days, it felt like there was no escape from the golfing world.

“So my girlfriend and I came home, spent time with family and friends, I had a couple of games of shinty … and a couple of injuries.

“No joke, I touched the clubs twice in three weeks. I felt like I was back living a normal life. It was great.

“I then went back out to the Zurich Classic and I wanted to play golf again. I wasn’t worried going back out there. When I’m in a good mindset, normally my golf will reflect that.

“I think that was a massive turning point for me this season.”

MacIntyre always knew that he had to commit to the US if he was going to make a decent fist of his newly acquired PGA Tour card. As he said, there could be “no half a***ing it.”

Asked if he was a better player now than when he first departed for the good ol’ US of A at the start of the year, MacIntyre’s response was swift and affirmative.

“Totally,” he said with a reply that was quicker than a green running at 14 on the stimp. “The facilities are unbelievable. You’ve got more resources out there and the weather is a massive part of that as well.”

The majors come thick and fast. It seems like only yesterday that Scottie Scheffler, the world No 1, was getting arrested at the US PGA Championship. Time moves on quickly in this game.

Martin Kaymer will probably agree with that. It’s 10 years now since the German cantered to a commanding eight-stroke victory in the US Open at Pinehurst.

Kaymer was in the midst of a great period of pomp and prosperity. He’d won the US PGA Championship in 2010, ascended to world No 1 for a spell and clinched the winning point as Europe completed the Miracle of Medinah in the Ryder Cup of 2012.

Here in 2024, Kaymer, who now plies his trade on the breakaway LIV Golf series, returns to Pinehurst without a win in the decade since landing his second major title.

A niggling wrist injury hasn’t helped him while tossing away a whopping 10-shot lead in the final round of the Abu Dhabi Championship in 2015 left some deeper scars.

“I know why I haven’t been on top of the leaderboard the last three, four years, but now I can focus on all the good stuff again,” he said.

“Mentally I’m ready to win again. I don’t know if it will happen soon or maybe I need to wait another year, but I’m not stopping chasing that win.”

For Kaymer, MacIntyre and the rest, it’s the US Open they’re all chasing.