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2024 PGA Tour: Robert MacIntyre Scores a Breakthrough Win at RBC Canadian Open

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Long before his epochal win at the 2024 RBC Canadian Open on Sunday, June 2, Robert MacIntyre knew he had the game to compete in any part of the globe. The two wins on the DP World Tour a few seasons back was proof, but there was something that was holding him back from contending more frequently on weekends.

Here was a player, who even before attaining adulthood, dreamt of playing golf for a living, and winning on the PGA Tour, so there was no shortage of inspiration. The problem lay elsewhere.

Robert MacIntyre scores a milestone win at 2024 RBC Canadian Open

Looking within

Introspection followed, and his father Dougie also helped provide some insight since as he was the one who introduced MacIntyre to the sport. The two delved into the stats and other technical aspects, but no red flags were to be found.

The search got deeper, and MacIntyre realised he himself was the obstacle. “My attitude was a problem. I’m working hard on that, trying to stay even keeled and deal with whatever comes,” the 27-year-old Scotsman had told PGA Tour on Friday, May 31, after his first 36-hole lead/joint lead on the tournament, which took place from May 30 to June 2.

With three top-10s this season on Tour, including one at the PGA Championship, MacIntyre’s game has been trending, but leaving it till the end is something Dougie had pointed out even before his son turned professional. “He said when I was 16 or 17, ‘you never make this easy’.”

History almost repeated itself at the Hamilton Golf & Country Club as the four-shot lead he carried into the final day came down. MacIntyre staved off Ben Griffin, Victor Perez’s Sunday challenge to win by a shot, his final score reading 16-under 264 (64, 66, 66, 68), but it wasn’t before a dogfight.

“That’s the way I play golf, I play it with the heart on the sleeve,” said the champion.

Nervous yet proud

Dougie may have sounded out his son on the problem long before he embarked on fulfilling a childhood dream, but watching him make that critical birdie on the 15th on the back of two dropped shots was an emotional roller-coaster ride.

He hadn’t caddied for MacIntyre in a long while, and carrying the golf bag this week was like destiny playing a hand after MacIntyre parted ways with his caddie after last week’s Charles Schwab Challenge.

Flying down from the family home in Oban, Scotland, after a late phone call from the son, MacIntyre Sr proved to be the perfect talisman, especially after his boy missed cut the week before.

After it was done on the 18th green of Hamilton, Dougie broke down while searching for words, the tears an outlet of what the father-son went through what often seemed the longest and toughest round of golf they had negotiated.

“I could see Dad getting a little bit edgy at times, and he kept saying, ‘keep going, keep going’…The mental side of the Game pulled me through. I was focused one step at a time, and I managed to birdie 15 and I didn’t react, I was head down, because you never know what’s going to happen,” said MacIntyre.

It turned out to be “a hell of a fight”, and a vindication of the work put in on the mental side. Coming into the week on the back of a missed cut meant expectations were zilch. Outside golf, Dougie’s visa issues and the uncertainty of whether he would make it in time all added up as a test of faith. While MacIntyre knew all along that he had it in him to slay the demons, “but until you do it, you really don’t know”.

Opening doors

As is the case after a week like this, MacIntyre will be redrawing plans. The USD 1.692 million prize purse ensures June will be a busy month, and maybe even more profitable. With spots in the Memorial and Travelers Championship, the PGA Tour’s remaining two Signature events, MacIntyre had planned to travel for the US Open 36-hole qualifier on Monday, June 3, with Dougie on the bag. The trip is off now as he is entered in the season’s third Major later this month.

“[This win] changes everything. It’s just a dream come true and I just can’t believe it’s happened with him (Dad) on the bag.”

Rory McIlroy’s best not enough

With two back-to-back wins this season already, Rory McIlroy is always a threat if he’s in a position to launch a charge. Plus, the RBC Canadian is an event he’s won twice in the past.

The 6-under 64 matched Sunday’s best card, but it wasn’t enough to challenge the leaders despite the ascent of seven spots on the leaderboard. Tied 4th at 13-under 267, McIlroy had his season’s fourth top-10, but was left ruing the over-par round on Day 2.

“I felt a little out of sorts on Friday. Overall, three rounds out of four were really good and just that one disappointing one, but overall, after a week off where I didn’t really, didn’t feel like I prepared as well as I probably could have, yeah, it was a solid week,” he said.

Up for a stretch of Golf, which can be defining, McIlroy took heart from the ground he covered on Sunday. He had aimed to close with a 14-under for the week, and despite falling short on that count and not making Robert MacIntyre earn the win at the 2024 RBC Canadian Open, “it was nice to see some good signs in my Game this weekend… we’ve got a lot of Golf coming up”.

Career thrusts

The disappointment of not closing it once again (he lost a playoff at the 2023 Sanderson Farms Championship) for that first career win was tough to fathom, but Ben Griffin was proud of the way he fought back after a far from ideal start to Canada’s national Open.

“Another second-place finish is tough, but going into this week, at least the first round, I was struggling with my swing, and I didn’t even feel that great with my putter. I came one short but I fought hard and stayed patient. I’ll be right back at it next week (the Memorial) now, so I’m excited,” Griffin said after closing with a bogey-free 65.

For Victor Perez too, it was a step-up as the sole third is his best finish this season.

“I just haven’t been able to put a big result and something to strive on for the rest of the year. I putted exceptional this week, which has been always a strength mine, but it’s something I haven’t really been able to do at a high level. I think that showed this week, and the result came with it,” said the Frenchman.

Honouring Grayson Murray

In many ways, Akshay Bhatia owes his two wins on the PGA Tour to Grayson Murray.

Murray is gone, lost to the uncertainties of life, but Bhatia ensured that his mentor found a mention at the RBC Canadian Open.
Spotting ‘G$’ on a trash can near the golf course during a drive led to a thought that had Bhatia ink Murray’s initials on his left wrist at the start of the week.

“I’m playing for him, and every round I play for the next however long. Yeah, he’s just with me all the time, and he meant a lot to me. Just happy and proud to wear Grayson’s name on my wrist,” said Bhatia.

The connect between the two started when Murray had secured his PGA Tour card, and Bhatia was growing up with stars in the eyes. Murray stayed in Raleigh and Bhatia often turned up to watch him practice. Over time, the conversations got deeper, and impacted Bhatia as he was figuring out the way to golf’s biggest stage.

“I was 13, 14 years old, and I’d ask him what’s it like being on the PGA Tour? He was always like, ‘Dude, you’re going to be there. Trust me’. I don’t know, he just always believed in me,” said Bhatia.

Muray was open about his mental battles, and Bhatia was appreciative of the helping hand Murray lent to a lot of people. “He just lifted a lot of people’s spirits. Even if his weren’t up, he still wanted everyone to live a great life. He just taught me to be kind to others,” said Bhatia.

(Main and featured images: RBC Canadian Open/ Instagram)

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Who won the 2024 RBC Canadian Open?

Robert MacIntyre secured his maiden win on the PGA Tour with a one-shot win over Ben Griffin at the 2024 RBC Canadian Open. His final score read 16-under 264.

How much prize money did Robert MacIntyre win at the 2024 RBC Canadian Open?

Out of a total prize purse of USD 9.4 million, MacIntyre won USD 1.692 million.

What are the other gains for Robert MacIntyre?

Courtesy of the 2024 RBC Canadian Open win, Robert MacIntyre is entered for the US Open, the season’s third Major, and the Memorial and Travelers Championship, the PGA Tour’s remaining two Signature events. Apart from the climb from No 76 to 39 on the Official World Golf Ranking, the 500 FedExCup points lifts him to No 32 on the FedExCup standings.

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