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US PGA Championship 2024: Robert MacIntyre making strides in year of transition

US PGA Championship 2024: Robert MacIntyre making strides in year of transition

For Robert MacIntyre, 2024 is so far proving to be a year of transition.

While playing stateside is by no means new for the Scot, having competed there intermittently in previous years, there is no doubt in his mind that 2024 is proving to be a year of adjustment.

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From his fantastic final day charge to finish runner-up to Rory McIlroy at the Genesis Scottish Open, co-sanctioned by the PGA Tour, to going undefeated on his Ryder Cup debut a few months later, MacIntyre created many memorable moments last year.

While they were the undoubted highlights, it was his consistency across the campaign last year that saw him finish among the top 10 players not already exempt to earn a PGA TOUR card for 2024 through the Race to Dubai Rankings.

As a result, MacIntyre now finds himself playing on new courses most weeks as a dual member of both the DP World Tour and the PGA TOUR.

Amid all that, the pressures of playing in Major Championships is something the 27-year-old is well versed in. Last month’s Masters Tournament was just the second Major he has missed since the US PGA Championship in 2020.

While playing predominantly this year on the PGA TOUR has brought about its own challenges, MacIntrye is excited by the opportunity ahead of him this week.

"I obviously tried to make it to the Masters and didn't quite do it," he said.

"But to be honest, it's less daunting coming from the PGA TOUR and playing the PGA Championship than it is coming from Europe and playing it because it almost feels normal because the guys you're playing against.

"Obviously there's a few from other Tours that will be playing. But it's not anything out of the order, which is a good thing, so you can just pitch up and prepare the same way that you always do and feel a lot more comfortable."

A well-liked and affable character on the DP World Tour, MacIntyre admits settling in to life on the PGA TOUR has not come easy.

In his own words, there is less of a "big family feel" on the PGA TOUR compared with the DP World Tour.

"A lot of the European guys, if you're sitting on you're own, they will come and join you," he explained during a recent media call.

"Out here, because you don't know many folk. You don't know them in that same kind of depth, they don't come to sit with you. It does become a lonely place at the golf side of it.

While results have been harder to come by so far this year, MacIntyre firmly believes that despite its challenges his status now as a dual member will be to his betterment in his development.

In his 13 starts so far this season on the PGA TOUR, MacIntyre has recorded two top 10s, while he came close to a third last week at the Myrtle Beach Classic. Despite a disappointing Sunday in South Carolina, his form is trending in the right direction.

And with the U.S. Open and The Open, which he is already exempt for, to come over the coming months, there is plenty of opportunity to improve his status on the FedExCup standings.

"It's a great place to play golf," he said. "It's obviously where the best players in the world are.

"You're playing against the best in the world out here. It's a different environment for me but I'm just trying to enjoy it as much as I can and learn as much as I can week in and week out."

But in his own words, he is starting again from scratch.

"In Europe, you build your way... You kind of come off the Challenge Tour, go on the DP World Tour, and then we build our way up, and that's what we've got to do here."

But in fellow dual member Matthieu Pavon, MacIntyre has seen how quickly progression at the top of the game can come.

Having started the year just inside the top 100 on the Official World Golf Ranking, the Frenchman finds himself just outside the top 20 ahead of his US PGA Championship debut this week.

"If you asked him before he won in Madrid last year, you're thinking, under a year, you're going to be top 20 player in the world, he'll probably say, I believe I've got the game but do I expect it? Probably not," he said.

"So things can change really fast in this game. It's the same for everyone. It can change in an absolute heartbeat."

With MacIntyre joined by more family members than otherwise would be the case for a regular event on the PGA TOUR, the Scot is remaining upbeat.

"I think I've been getting annoyed because I'm impatient," he reflected.

"But again, it's a golf season. There's so much golf to still play. When you think things are not going well, one good shot, one feel can change it all. I try not to worry about, now I'm trying really not to worry about the results."

But as MacIntyre alludes, it doesn't take much for things to click.

Could this be the week that serves as a springboard for better times over the remainder of 2024? There will be many hoping it is.

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