MacIntyre Emerges From L.A. Lockdown ‘Hideout’ For Maiden States Showing In Memphis

Robert MacIntyre has emerged for a fortnight ‘hiding’ in L.A. feeling fitter and looking slimmer to tackle this week’s lucrative and a maiden Stateside showing at the WGC – FedEx St. Jude Invitational in Memphis.

It will be a week short of five months since Scotland’s top-ranked golfer last competed in finishing well down in the Qatar Masters in Doha.

And now he’s set to make a long overdue maiden pro career appearance on U.S soil having spent the earlier lockdown period in Oban staying safe with his family before heading Stateside over a fortnight ago with his Irish-born caddy, Greg Milne to undertake a mandatory fortnight’s self-isolation period renting a house in suburban L.A.

He said:  “We spent the two weeks in a nice house in L.A. where we were hidden away from the world.

Top-ranked Scot Robert MacIntyre excited to be making his US soil debut this week at the WGC = FedEx St. Jude Invitational in Memphis

“I had been in L.A. before to play in the Walker Cup (2017), but we are both scared of catching the virus, so we didn’t do much at all in our time there.

“We basically hid in the house for two weeks before I had a fitting with TaylorMade then I started playing a bit late last week and it was good to get out of the house for a bit.

“To be honest, I didn’t do anything too stressful.”

The only journey of any sorts MacIntrye made was to drive to Carlsbad, and halfway between L.A. and San Diego, for a session with club sponsors TaylorMade.

But it turned horribly unsafe when MacIntyre and Milne found their way to LAX airport for their three-and-a-half flight east to Memphis and venue for MacIntyre’s maiden appearance in the $US 10.5m event (£stg 8.1m) on the TPC Southwind course.

MacIntyre, and who will turn 24 next Monday, said: “The hardest part of being out here so far was the journey from LA to Memphis. In the airport and aeroplanes, I just don’t feel comfortable at the moment as people are getting too close.”

It is the very reason former World No. 1 Lee Westwood chose not to contest both this week’s event and the next week’s PGA Championship in San Francisco, and with Westwood remarking at last week’s British Masters in saying: “America doesn’t take it as seriously as the rest of the world”.

MacIntyre said:  “Back in Oban, everyone seems to be sticking to the social distancing, but in big cities they don’t seem to be as worried about it as a small town in the west of Scotland.”

In fact, it was Westwood’s decision not to cross ‘The Pond’ that helped in some way for MacIntyre to eventually find his way into the elite 68-player and no halfway cut event.

Great tee markers in Memphis (Photo – www.golfbytourmiss.com

He said: “It’s been a real bonus to get into the FedEx as we thought my best chance would be being afforded an invitation for the Barracuda Championship, and being held in California close to Reno, hence the decision to head for L.A. to do the two-week quarantine.

“I was expecting to play the Barracuda and then drive up to San Francisco for the PGA Championship.

“We got a heads up from someone to say that it looked like I was going to be in the Memphis field and then there was a call on Friday to say I was the last man in the field, but I would not be getting in if the winner of the 3M Open, last week’s PGA Tour event, was not someone already exempt.

“Lee Westwood then said over the weekend that he would be withdrawing, which meant I was second last man in at that point, but I then became last man again after Michael Thompson won the 3M in Minneapolis.

“We were flying when that was coming to a conclusion, but I was keeping tabs on it in the airport.”

TPC Southwind – Host course for this week’s WGC – FedEx St. Jude Invitational

And in arriving into Memphis for a first time in his career, MacIntyre said he’s never felt fitter or stronger given the later stages of last year’s ‘Rookie of the Year’ winning season plus the earlier events this year were being spoiled by a continuing nagging wrist injury.

He said:  “The wrist is cleared up. The most I have practised was at the TaylorMade fitting centre out here last week. I put in a long shift and it feels fine.  In the lockdown period back home, I had about eight weeks when I didn’t touch a club.

“And the good thing also in literally sitting at home for the whole lockdown I was also losing weight for the right reasons and chilling out with my family and setting things out in my life for when I was back playing golf.

“To be honest losing weight was something I’d initially planned to do over Christmas, but doing something like that around that time of year is not so easy.

“I then said to Greg (caddie) in Qatar that I was going to get myself fitter.

“My dad, who had been on a strict diet, was lighter than me and I said to myself, ‘that can’t happen!’

“So, I’ve lost over stone in weight and feel so much better for it. That’s as much as I want to lose as the next step will be to do some gym work.

“Now it’s great to be back to work and I can’t wait to get started this week.”



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