Robert MacIntyre’s Canadian Open Victory is Just What Golf Needed

Over the last two years golf has moved into a dangerous territory. 

Rather than the focus being on the players and their magnificent accomplishments, golf’s civil war between those on the PGA Tour and those who have made the move to LIV, has seen conversations about money become the norm for the everyday golf fan, and for many, the game has lost its way.

Regardless of what tour a player now chooses to perform on, just four (or three in LIV’s case) good days of golf, can see a player earn life changing sums.

Rarely has money been the central topic in other sports as it has with golf. We all know that our favourite football, NBA, NFL, Formula 1 and tennis stars all go through their careers earning fortunes, but in all of those sports money isn’t what connects to the fans, the passion, the glory and the stories are what drive them and currently golf just isn’t doing that. 

Whilst LIV is constantly attracting new players, the needle still isn’t moving. The franchises that exist in LIV haven’t translated to the mainstream and whilst the viewing numbers are up, it still isn’t enough for most of the sporting world to sit up and take notice. Things aren’t much better on the PGA Tour, in a time where it needed its stars to step up, this year has seen a host of lesser known players win their first PGA titles and whilst that achievement should never be quashed, viewing figures and attendances are massively down.

The Canadian Open: A Short Tale

With all in the game desperate to move away from the narrative of greed and vulgarity, the game received a tremendous boost at last week’s Canadian Open.

An always well attended event, the 2023 tournament captured the imagination when hometown hero Nick Taylor became the first Canadian in history to win his country’s home open. With a passionate fan base and the brilliant introduction of ‘The Rink’, a hole where spectator noise and participation is actively encouraged, hopes of another brilliant week were high.

Headlining the field was Rory McIlroy who was looking to score a third Canadian Open, but it would be one of McIlroy’s European Ryder Cup teammates who would end up stealing the headlines.

Having cemented his place on the PGA Tour by finishing inside the top ten of the 2023 DP World Tour Order of Merit, Robert MacIntyre is still a name unfamiliar to most.

The Canadian Open: A Short Tale

The Suprise Victor: Robert MacIntyre

A winner in Italy and Cyprus, MacIntrye is different to most professional golfers. A man who wakes up every day pinching himself that he gets to play golf for a living, MacIntyre isn’t driven by money, he already knows that he has won more than enough money than most people make in a lifetime. Instead, MacIntyre is driven by glory and wants to head down a new path that Scottish golfers haven’t previously been able to tread.

A PGA rookie, life in America hasn’t been the easiest for the Scot. Leading at the Myrtle Beach Classic heading into the final round, MacIntyre blew up and would have to settle for a 19th place finish. 

Upon reflecting on his near miss, MacIntyre was honest enough to admit that he was homesick and he was finding life on the PGA Tour difficult. Despite his difficulties, he managed to finish 8th at the PGA Championship before missing the cut at the Charles Schwab Challenge.

In need of some home comforts, MacIntyre made the decision that for the Canadian Open his dad would be the man on the bag.

A greenkeeper from MacIntyre’s home town club, ‘Dougie’ (as he has now become affectionately known) is a fine player in his own right and it seems that his arrival had the Midas touch on his son.

Jumping out to a four stroke lead at the end of the second round, MacIntyre was able to keep his lead until the back nine of the final round. With both Ben Griffin and Victor Perez starting to close, MacIntyre was starting to make mistakes and as he headed up the last, his lead was just one.

Unlike in his near miss at Myrtle Beach, MacIntyre was able to keep it together and with the calming presence of his Dad on the bag, he fired a dart into the 18th green. Being able to have the luxury of two putts from 6 feet, MacIntyre made no mistake and popped in a tiddler of a putt to wrap up his first PGA Tour victory, becoming only the third Scotsman after Martin Laird and Russell Knox to have won a tournament stateside.

Overcome with emotion, MacIntyre was quick to praise the man who had been carrying his bags for the week. Credited as the inspirational figure in his life, it was his Dad who taught him to play the game and it seemed fitting that the man who represented home for MacIntyre the most was there first hand to witness his son breakthrough in his new surroundings.

With his victory, MacIntyre climbed into the world’s top 50 and secured his biggest ever payday as well as cementing his place in the field for the U.S Open, Memorial and Travelers Championships. 

The Suprise Victor: Robert MacIntyre

The Prize

The Memorial and Travelers are two of the PGA Tour’s latest signature events. Designed as a response to the mega money available on the LIV Tour, these limited field events see the winner take home over $3,000,000.

Arguably playing the best golf of his career, MacIntyre once again showed the rest of the world that he is a different type of golfer. Opting to swerve the potential millions on offer at Memorial, MacIntyre is instead heading home to Scotland to celebrate his victory with his close family and friends.

He also pledged that with the million dollars burning a hole in his back pocket, he would be paying off the mortgage on his parents home. 

In this era of golf, money has been the buzzword. With many being turned off by this ruthless age of professionalism, MacIntyre’s Canadian Open heroics have managed to put golf back in the headlines for all the right reasons. For the first time in a long time there is a buzz about the game and a feel good factor has returned.

At the heart of MacIntyre’s story is persistence, dedication, love and family. These aspects have been present throughout the history of the game and it could be argued that these are the foundations on what the PGA Tour has been built on.

MacIntyre’s victory reminded us all of why we love this game and for those connected with both the PGA and LIV Tours they will hope that wave of greed will stop and golf can get back to its roots.