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Robert MacIntyre celebrated wildly after winning the Ryder Cup with Team Europe on Sunday. But good times were a million miles away from his mind as he prepared to make his debut in the intense matchplay event on Friday afternoon.
MacIntyre was one of the automatic qualifiers for Luke Donald’s team after a successul year on the DP World Tour. The Scot was one of four rookies to represent Europe in Rome, but even after debutants such as Ludvig Aberg and Sepp Straka had helped give the hosts a commanding 4-0 lead in the morning session, the Scottish Open runner-up was a bag of nerves before he had even reached the first tee.
Fortunately, he was playing alongside Ryder Cup veteran Justin Rose and it was the mentorship of the Englishman that successfully navigated him through a difficult 18 holes in their fourballs match against the American pairing of Max Homa and Wyndham Clark.
MacIntyre explained how Rose came to his rescue in Rome, during a press conference ahead of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship at Carnoustie Golf Links on Thursday.
He said: “Probably the first tee shot on Friday. He saw I was nervous. I mean, I was almost crying walking off the range. But when we’d done all the video and the TV cameras and that were on you, he came over and put his arm around me and goes… ‘Everything is going to be alright. This will be over in two and a half minutes.’
“He was brilliant. He’s so experienced, he kept me calm. He trusted me, he believed in me. Even though I was terrible on the greens on Friday. I think he spoke to Luke and said ‘He’s close.’
“I felt in my tee-to-green I was solid. I was never out of a hole. I was never making a disaster. I was almost allowing him to be more aggressive because he was playing so good.”
McIntyre and Rose eventually tied their fourballs match with Homa and Clark, taking half a point each, but the European duo were paired with each other again the following afternoon, recording a brilliant 3&2 fourballs victory against the experienced US partnership of Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas.
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McIntyre said: “And then Saturday, he just kept believing in me. Even when I still hadn’t holed a putt for 12 holes and I stood on 13, and he was trying to help me read the putt. I was like ‘Justin, it’s alright. I got this one.’
“Once I holed that, he put his arm around me and was like ‘That’s what it’s all about. We stay in this fight and we fight together.
“He was incredible the whole week. He was someone that I knew I got along with but now I know him on a different level.”
MacIntyre won his Sunday singles match 2&1 against Wyndham Clark as Europe completed a superb 16.5-11.5 victory and regained the Ryder Cup.
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