Robert MacIntyre was quick to point out that the next Ryder Cup is still over a year away, but he still couldn’t ignore the magnitude of his victory Sunday at the Italian Open as it relates to next September’s matches in Rome.
“This means everything,” MacIntyre said after closing in 7-under 64 and then taking down Matt Fitzpatrick in a playoff at Marco Simone Golf and Country Club.
MacIntyre, the candid 26-year-old from Oban, Scotland, was bypassed as a captain’s pick for last year’s Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits despite finishing ahead of all three picks in European points. At the time, he was hovering around the top 60 in the Official World Golf Ranking thanks to made cuts in all four majors, including top-12s at the Masters and Open Championship.
In other words, his prospects for making the next European squad were high – or so everyone thought.
Prior to the Ryder Cup picks, MacIntyre had entered Korn Ferry Tour Finals (via non-member FedExCup points) in search of his PGA Tour card, but he missed each of his first two cuts and didn’t even play the finale. Having to go back to the DP World Tour full-time, MacIntyre struggled to build on his career year.
Until this week, which marked MacIntyre’s second-career DPWT win, the Scot had notched just one top-10 since tying for fourth at last season’s DPWT finale in Dubai. He had also dropped to No. 110 in the world rankings.
But as MacIntyre described himself on Sunday, “Just got a dogged attitude, never give up, if I get punched, I punch back.”
Now, he’s back on the European Ryder Cup radar – European qualifying began at last week's BMW PGA Championship – having just notched the biggest victory of his career on the future Ryder Cup layout and over several likely European team members, including Fitzpatrick, Victor Perez (third), Rory McIlroy (fourth) and Tyrrell Hatton (eighth).
MacIntyre wasn’t shy about revealing how much making that squad would mean to him.
“We are well away from the Ryder Cup obviously, and you know what, might as well say it, it's my No. 1 priority,” MacIntyre said. “I was close last time, and I went to try to get my PGA Tour card, didn't work out, both sides. But this is what I want. This is my only goal for the season, is to make that Ryder Cup team.
“I think I've made a good start... I've started off in perfect fashion. I can't think of a better way to start than winning."