Twelve months after finishing third in the same event, missing the cut by four strokes in the Slync.io Dubai Desert Classic was not what he was looking for when he returned to Emirates Golf Club.
Having also made an early exit from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, the first leg of a Rolex Series double-header on the DP World Tour, it is not the whirlwind start to 2022 that the 25-year-old from Oban had in mind in Middle East.
“I’m not at the races yet,” MacIntyre admitted, speaking exclusively to Scotland Sunday. “I ride it really well, but my iron game just hasn’t been there. During the practice rounds, it was absolutely brilliant. I played well in training, but I just can’t win in the tournament.
“Obviously there are different feelings and a lot of things happen when you start a tournament and I really want that, but it’s just not happening right now.”
As he sat for a while next to the practice green and chatted with his manager, Iain Stoddart, after his fate was sealed in Dubai, MacIntyre received a few words of encouragement from Ian Finnis , Tommy Fleetwood’s caddy, as he walked. pass.
Since first meeting him at this event in Abu Dhabi three years ago, Fleetwood and Finnis have been big fans of the young Scotsman, both as a golfer and as a human being. Like many others, MacIntyre is determined to get back to his best on the course as quickly as possible.
“It’s about being patient and being proactive about it,” he added. “I could just say, ‘It’s been a few bad days’, but I have to work hard to get comfortable again.
“Right now I’m not quite sure what’s going to happen when I swing sometimes. At 18 in the second round here, for example, it was like 195 yards to cover the water on the left side .
“If you hit 100 balls, you won’t hit five in the water, like I did. For now, it seemed like that was the only place he was going to go.
“It’s hugely frustrating but I’m still driving it well. Last year’s stats for my driving were great and it continued. I don’t hit it straight in the middle of the bat so it doesn’t last the longest at the moment. But it’s not really in difficulty. It’s there or thereabouts and we can play it.
“It’s just my iron game that’s really frustrating. The putting, which was great, happened late in the second round, but that was because of my head and I was really frustrated at the end.
Our chat at the back of the driving range came after a lengthy chat with Stoddart, caddy Mike Thomson and swing coach David Burns. Although he is not there, his support team now also includes performance coach Stuart Morgan and putting guru Phil Kenyon.
“I expect a lot from myself and I expect a lot from everyone around me,” MacIntyre said. “We were just talking about it there, the higher you go in the game, the more things become available.
“You start to analyze things. There isn’t a stat I couldn’t get on myself, technically, physically, mentally, everything. I think sometimes we over-analyze things and I just need to start playing golf again. I want to start playing golf for free again and have fun again.
“I feel like we have a good combination and I don’t blame anyone in the team for the performance over the past two weeks. Last week I wrote this after being kicked off the golf course on Friday.
“But it was a week where I hoped to do well again. I love the golf course because my driving and iron game are normally solid and it’s a course where you have to do both of those things well.
“It’s so disappointing not only to be miles away from the cup, but miles away from the lead. I’m here to try to win golf tournaments, not just make cups, and right now, I feel a bit far off and it takes work.
While he may have been bubbly inside, MacIntyre, who returns to Augusta in April for a second Masters appearance and is also an bye for the 150th Open at St Andrews, had just had a young fan’s day in presenting him with a hat.
“I try to give back as much as I can,” he said after the youngster’s father came to personally thank him for the gesture. “It’s hard when it’s like this right now and you’re struggling and getting discouraged, but I always try to give back as much as I can, whether it’s at home in Oban or here.
“It’s about sometimes showing a brave face and doing the right things and getting angry behind closed doors if that has to happen.”
As he tries to recover from a double disappointment, he can count on his mother, Carol, to maintain an optimistic tone in communications at home. “While my dad will be a little tougher when I talk to him on Facetime, my mom is so positive,” he said. “I’m still her boy. It doesn’t matter where I am in the world.
” She understands. She understands that we travel the world doing our best and that some weeks it’s mediocre and other weeks it’s good. Golf is great when you play well. But it’s hard when you’re playing badly and you feel like you’re a million miles away. But that can change in the blink of an eye.