It’s crack open the champers time for Robert MacIntyre as, despite a poor Omega European Master showing, he is celebrating his automatic selection in the European Ryder Cup later this month in Rome.
MacIntyre joined England’s Matt Fitzpatrick in securing the last two automatic spots into Luke Donald’s side, with Donald to announce his full 12-man team at 2pm on Monday.
MacIntyre was en-route to Geneva Airport in learning of his automatic selection, and this after his nearest automatic selection rivals Germany’s Yannick Paul and Poland’s Adrian Meronk fell well shy of denying the Scot.
MacIntyre said: “It has been a tough qualifying campaign, but I am pleased with the way I have dealt with the challenge and to have earned one of the six automatic places.
“I’ve worked hard to play in the Ryder Cup, but it’s now important to go on and win it”.
MacIntyre proudly becomes the first Scot since Stephen Gallacher in 2016 to earn a Ryder Cup cap, and the 23rd Scot since Stirling’s Stewart Burns was selected, but did not contest the 1929 Ryder Cup.
It’s an understatement to say it’s been a stressful few weeks for MacIntyre, who virtually had a target on his back with as many as six players looking to ‘steal’ MacIntyre’s third place standing on the Europe points list.
There was also the added pressure on MacIntyre’s shoulders in being grouped last week alongside European Team captain Luke Donald for the opening two days of the Czech Masters while Omega European Masters organisers used the first two rounds in Switzerland to group MacIntyre alongside Paul and Meronk.
The German-born Paul was MacIntyre’s nearest Ryder Cup rival and the No. 4 ranked player on the Rome standings signalled his intentions right from the outset with a sizzling Swiss opening 64 before fading to finish T20th.
Meronk saw his Swiss hopes fade in needing a second place or better, ending with a last round 66 but not helped with a 14th hole double-bogey and eventually shareing 13th spot.
However, both Paul and Meronk should be rewarded with a Rome ‘wildcard’ pick.
MacIntrye headed off the Swiss alpine course bitterly disappointed with his showing that included a 72nd hole double-bogey, and this after a wild drive right that landed close to the plaque celebrating Seve Ballesteros’ historic shot exactly 30-years ago.
Though unlike Seve, MacIntyre had to chip backwards to a clearing from where he brilliantly found the green but three-putted for a closing double-bogey in a score of 70 and an eventual share of 55th place.
MacIntyre said: “I am just happy to be heading home to be honest with you, as it’s been a poor week on the greens,” he said.
“I had played half-decent but then the last round today … well, I was just trying to find a decent game. I was trying different shots and my week rounded off with the last hole there.
“So, it’s just disappointing”.
However, he arrived home to Scotland to countless congratulatory text messages and, no doubt, a few celebratory drinks with his proud family.
MacIntyre now joins Jon Rahn, Rory McIlroy, Viktor Hovland, Tyrrell Hatton and Fitzpatrick as automatic Rome picks.
Fitzpatrick saw his chance of joining Ballesteros with three Swiss victories end, finishing third to ultra-talented Swede Ludvig Aberg, who brilliantly birdied four of his closing five holes in a sizzling last day 64 and won by two shots at 19-under.
Fellow Swede Alexander Bjorn was runner-up at 17-under.
While Fitzpatrick, who shared third place with Connor Syme (67), last year’s US Open champ needed to finish top-7 to secure a third Ryder Cup cap.
Syme’s effort is his best all season, lifting him to 21st on the Race to Dubai money list.
MacIntyre will sit out this week’s Horizon Irish Open before returning to competition in next fortnight’s flagship BMW PGA Championship.
Aberg’s enormous effort could now every well see the 23-year-old also earn one of Donald’s picks.
He said: “I thought I needed to win this week to have any chance of a pick, so it was great to finish well and win the tournament.
“It would mean the world if I was now chosen. For anyone, as a young golfer growing-up in Sweden and Europe, those are the tournaments you want to be a part of.
“If I do get that chance I would be over the moon. It would be really cool”.