After claiming his much-anticipated first European Tour title, Robert MacIntyre has revealed how he “struggled mentally” during the UK’s initial COVID-19 lockdown earlier in the year.
MacIntyre, 24, held off Japan’s Masahiro Masahiro Kawamura to win the Cyprus Showdown by a shot at Aphrodite Hills.
It gave the Oban man his first victory on just his 45th tour start and saw him become the 25th different Scottish winner on the European Tour.
Speaking to Sky Sports’ Tim Barter shortly after rolling in the winning putt, an emotional MacIntyre said that he had been through “a difficult few months”, adding that “only my family know what's been going on.”
Speaking to reporters a little later on, he expanded on those remarks, detailing the toll the coronavirus lockdown in the spring took on his mental health.
"The first nine, ten weeks was fine," he said. "I had things to do. I was trying to lose weight, become stronger, I had set myself goals. I was doing it alongside another person from my area and we were on Peloton almost every day, so there was a target.
"I TOOK UP GOLF AFTER
THE TALIBAN TRIED TO KILL ME"
"When that finished, there was nothing for us to do. I was like, 'I'm wasting time, I'm wasting away here' and I just started to struggle.
"I struggled mentally from about eight, ten weeks after lockdown, almost when it opened up slightly - it felt like you were getting released into the open but you were still getting told what to do and that was tough for me."
MacIntyre added that he started to lose his passion for golf as the weeks wore on. "It was in the back of my mind that I’d lost my game a little bit," he said. "When I put work in, I know my game will come back.
"I didn’t have the motivation for a wee while, I wasn’t wanting to play golf and wasn’t enjoying it.
Rather than suffer in silence, family man MacIntyre confided in those closest to him.
“Everyone knows that my family are right behind me and the support that I get from them is huge,” he added. “I spoke to my mum and she guided me in the right direction and I went to see a psychologist, who has helped me in a huge way.”
Now, having “got the bug back”, and unburdened by the pressure to win his first European Tour title, the Scot is excited about the future, particularly with new caddie, Mike Thomson, on his bag.
"I feel like he’s got the winning mentality that I was wanting,” added MacIntyre. “We’re not scared to take on the world.”