Scotland’s Robert MacIntyre returns to action this week after a three-week reset at home in Oban – and he admits that he’s got the Ryder Cup on his mind.
The 24-year-old is the top-ranked player in the field for the Betfred British Masters at The Belfry and, having consolidated his place inside the world’s top-50 after an impressive seven-week stretch in the States, he’s keen to capitalise by forcing his way into Padraig Harrington’s European side.
At present, MacIntyre is just outside the automatic qualifying places. He’s eighth on the European Points List, from which the top-four will make the team, and tenth on the World Points List, of which the five players not already qualified from the European list will earn a spot on the side.
In other words, he’s tantalising close and in with a fantastic chance of being aboard the flight to Whistling Straits in September. But, as he acknowledges, there’s a lot of work to be done in the interim.
"Points are big for the Ryder Cup [this week], but again, it is just one tournament out of, I don't know how many are left, 15 or so left, so there is plenty of time," MacIntyre added. "There's not a big rush to get them now but don't get me wrong, it would be nice to get big points, everyone is exactly the same, so I am not the only one on that side.
"I try and see it as it doesn't need to happen right now. I have plenty of time ahead of me but obviously I am in a position where it can happen this year, so it's up there with my priorities now I am up there in that position."
MacIntyre’s profile has ballooned in recent months, particularly in the wake of his impressive debut at The Masters. The Glencruitten man finished in a tie for 12th on his debut at Augusta last month, the best finish by a Scot there since the turn of the century. Success, of course, breeds pressure. Not that he’s necessarily feeling it.
"There has been expectation on me, but I try and keep it as low as I can,” he added. “Obviously, I put pressure on myself from time to time, and that is the only thing I really worry about, the pressure I put on myself. I don't really worry about outside stuff, that's for other people to do. I just look after myself.”