Open special: Bob MacIntyre explains reasons for pulling out of star group
Bob MacIntyre, who played with Rory McIlroy and Rickie Fowler at last week’s Scottish Open, opted out of another tasty practice group at Royal Portrush because he was determined to have a low-key build up to his major debut.
The 22-year-old had been scheduled to play a practice round for the 148th Open Championship on Tuesday with defending champion Francesco Molinari and former Dunhill Links winner Oliver Wilson.
But he scrubbed his name from the tee sheet when he then saw that Ian Poulter had become an extra addition, explaining the decision was purely for selfish reasons and nothing personal in any way against the colourful Englishman who had thrown his hat into the ring.
“We had a wee bit of a change of mind after I thought I didn’t want to be in that environment,” said MacIntyre. “It was something I could control, I didn’t want to get overawed or anything.
“The reason I pulled out was that it was initially myself and Oliver Wilson and I’ve had a few rounds with him in practice. Then Molinari was there and then I looked in the morning and Poulter had put his name down.
“I said before I came here that I wouldn’t put my name up with big names and that was going to be two in the one group. It wasn’t for me. I went out with Haotong Li and that was fine for me. He was great. I prefer to keep things low key. It’s already nerve-wracking enough at an Open without the added pressure of being on the first tee with Molinari and Poulter when you’d don’t have to be.
“Come the weekend, if I’m in the same group as one of them, then I’ll be hopefully doing something right. I’ll take it as it comes.”