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Sunday, June 16, 2024


WHEN IN DOUBT CALL DAD. Scottish golfer Robert MacIntyre embraces his father and emergency caddie Dougie after sealing his first PGA Tour victory at the RBC Canadian Open in Ontario earlier this month. Image: R.J. Johnston/Toronto Star/Getty Images 

Robert MacIntyre wins first PGA Tour event with father as caddie 

GUEST BLOG / By Jack Bantock, CNN Sportwriter--Most parents would do anything to have a front row seat to their child’s success, yet merely spectating was not quite close enough for pro golfer Robert MacIntyre’s father. 

As his son tapped home to clinch his first PGA Tour title at the RBC Canadian Open on Sunday, Dougie MacIntyre – the head greenskeeper at Glencruitten Golf Club in Oban, Scotland – simultaneously became a PGA Tour-winning caddie. 

Having parachuted in his father to work the bag at the last minute, 27-year-old MacIntyre overcame a nervy start and a flock of chasing rivals to win by one stroke at Hamilton Golf and Country Club in Ontario. 

Just the fifth win by a Scotsman on the PGA Tour since 1940, and the first since Martin Laird in 2020, secured MacIntyre $1.69 million in prize money – the largest single event total ever claimed by a Scottish golfer and enough to fulfill the new champion’s aims of paying off his parent’s mortgage. 

Tears flowed freely for father and son as the duo soaked up the weight of the achievement on the 18th green. “I’m crying with joy, but I’m laughing because I didn’t think it was possible,” MacIntyre, a first-time PGA Tour victor on his 45th start, told CBS Sports. “I was going down the last and my dad’s trying to tell me to stay focused and swing smooth because [on Saturday] I got a little bit too fast, but in my head, I wasn’t listening to him – I was like, ‘I want to win this for my dad.’ 

“This is the guy who has taught me the game of golf and I just can’t believe I have done this with him on the bag. This is just everything for me and family, my girlfriend, my team.” 


Father and son pose with the Canadian Open trophy. Image: Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press/AP 

Two-time European Tour winner MacIntyre had rotated through a string of caddies following triumph on his Ryder Cup debut last October, parting ways with most recent bagsman Scott Carmichael last week after missing the cut at the Charles Schwab Challenge. 

Though there had been excellent performances, highlighted by a tied-eighth outing at the PGA Championship last month, MacIntyre missed the cut at seven events and had made no secret of his difficulties adapting to his first experience of full-time life on tour in the US. “I was struggling,” MacIntyre told reporters Sunday. “My girlfriend [and I], we just weren’t enjoying the America Orlando lifestyle that we had thought would better my golf. 

A homesick MacIntyre had taken a trip back to Oban in April, picking up the clubs just twice across the three-week visit. “It just clears my mind, being back home. I get to spend time with the boys, a couple of beers with ‘em, and they just treat me like Bob … I don’t get treated as Bob MacIntyre the golfer, I get treated as Bob MacIntyre, one of the boys.” 

After a string of requests for caddies fell through as he called around last Saturday, thoughts again turned to home and a long-time mantra: “If in doubt, call Dad.” Naturally, MacIntyre senior – who will return to his greenkeeping duties with immediate effect – answered. “It’s unbelievable. I’m a grasscutter not a caddie,” 59-year-old MacIntyre, wiping away tears, added to CBS Sports. “Last Saturday night, I’m sitting on the couch at home and I’m [thinking], ‘Can I leave my job here? I’m busy at work.’ 

Eight o’clock the next morning, I’m on a flight out here and wow.” 

“It’s unbelievable. I’m a grasscutter not a caddie,” 59-year-old MacIntyre, wiping away tears, added to CBS Sports. Image: Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press/AP 

Yet the unorthodox partnership continued to make short work of Hamilton Country Club, as MacIntyre – ranked 76th in the world heading into the tournament – soared into Sunday with a four-shot lead. After opening with a stellar six-under 64 on the first day of the Canadian Open, MacIntyre had said he was trying to keep things simple to help an emergency caddie who – despite being “a good golfer” – was “out of his depth” on the bag at the game’s highest level. 

That healthy cushion had been ripped apart just a few holes into the Scot’s final round though, as Canadian home hero Mackenzie Hughes rattled home three quick birdies to capitalize on MacIntyre’s opening bogey. 

A first PGA Tour win looked to be slipping away, but MacIntyre – steadied by his father’s reassurances – responded brilliantly, fighting back with three swift birdies of his own and shrugging off a back-to-back bogey run after the 9th hole to take a one-shot lead to the final tee. “He just kept telling me, ‘We just stay in the fight’ … He knows what to say and when to say it,” MacIntyre said. “He thought that being here was a bit easier on his own mental health … [rather than] watching the scores on the app, but I don’t think this week’s done him great with the head because of the stress. 

“But he’s the guy that’s taught me the game of golf and he knows my game inside out. I can’t thank him enough for this week.” A steady par at the last hole was enough to see MacIntyre over the line ahead of American Ben Griffin at 16-under par overall, with South Korea’s Tom Kim and world No. 3 Rory McIlroy among those within three shots of the victor. 

It lifts MacIntyre to a career-high world No. 39 position and stamps his ticket to the US Open at Pinehurst in North Carolina on June 13 – though plans for a first major chase will have to wait until some big-time celebrations have subsided. 

In a video call with his mother shared by the PGA Tour on X, formerly known as Twitter, MacIntyre warned her of the level of revelry expected to follow. “You might not see Dad till next week!” he laughed. 

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