Top-ranked Scot Robert MacIntyre has admitted to being ‘fearful’ of spectators getting too close while competing Stateside.
MacIntyre, speaking ahead of this week’s European Tour Made in Himmerland, highlighted examples during last week’s PGA Championship when he may have been off-line with a shot but was then very concerned with the crowd gathering too close ahead of playing his next shot.
The current World No. 46 was contesting a second straight PGA Championship and while the PGA of America approved a maximum of 10,000 spectators for each of the four days at Kiawah Island, MacIntyre and his caddy, Mike Thomson had to work overtime in moving spectators who would rush, as they do in the States, to gather around any errant shot.
“It’s so different in the States as sometimes I would hit the ball into the crowd and I was a bit …’Mike? we have to get everyone back here'”, said MacIntyre. “It’s almost like we have to be retaught how to go about life and about getting close to anybody and you are almost fearful of people. It’s as simple as that.
“There was a couple of times last week when I hit it off-line and I’m like saying to Mike that we need to get everyone as far away as possible here which is completely different as normally it’s brilliant and the buzz, but at times I very wary of what was going on and who was around. With the Covid situation I was strict in making our own bubble as we don’t abuse the privileges of the PGA Tour and while you do get more space out there, we still treat as though we were over here in Europe and create our own bubble.”
MacIntyre’s comments come after the PGA of America apologised to both Phil Mickelson and Brooks Koepka following the crowd invasion on the final fairway at Kiawah Island. And in speaking of crowds, MacIntyre said it was ‘brilliant’ news coming from the R&A that they are hoping for a 75% attendance at July’s rescheduled 149th Open Championship at Royal St. George’s.
Martin Slumbers, as Chairman of the R&A, indicated on Tuesday that an official attendance figure remains uncertain but it will be in the range of 25% to 75% given the continuing ‘social distancing measures’ in the UK.
MacIntyre, who is no stranger to Royal St. George’s having contested the 2017 British Amateur, declared: “That’s brilliant news. Everyone wants fans back and it is going to take a bit of getting used to but hopefully the majority of fans will have been vaccinated and had their first shot. So, everyone is wanting fans back and it is going to take a bit of time to get used to.”
MacIntyre is among eight Scot teeing-up this week in Denmark with the Oban lefty grouped with Austrian Bernd Wiesberger for the opening two rounds. It was Wiesberger who held off MacIntyre by a shot to win the 2019 Danish event two months before the now 35-year-old Austrian captured the Scottish Open at The Renaissance Club.
MacIntyre said: “My last time here in Denmark was disappointing as a bogey at the 17th hole cost me the tournament but the 17th hole has been changed this year so there’s a positive. My golf game’s not changed much, I’ve just matured as a golfer. I’ve got Mike on the bag now so it’s a different outlook on things and when I’m in contention I have a bit more maturity around what we are trying to do and a bit more conviction.”
Cormac Sharvin, Paul Dunne, Niall Kearney and Jonathan Caldwell are all in the field this week in Denmark.
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