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As Oban’s Bob MacIntyre prepares for a return to action in the opening event of the 2021 season in Abu Dhabi today (Thursday), he finds himself tantalisingly close to breaking into the world’s top-50 ranked players.
Without having struck a competitive shot since early December, Bob’s ranking has moved up to 51st in the world and a good finish in the HSBC Championship this week would finally see him achieve his ambition of breaking into that most exclusive of groups. The left hander is, however, not limiting his ambition.
He said: ‘We’re not just trying to get into the top 50, we’re trying to surpass that. If that’s my limit then that’s my limit, but I don’t think it is.’
It will not be an easy task this week, with the Oban star teeing up with some of golf’s biggest names including Rory McIlroy, Justin Thomas and Tommy Fleetwood in the Rolex Series event, which carries a prize fund of $8millon as well as a chunk of world ranking points. However, Bob’s strong finish to the 2020 season sees him go into the tournament brimming with confidence.
‘If I can keep playing the way I was playing at the end of last year, personally I think anything is achievable.’
Even this early in the season, the next couple of months could prove crucial to the Oban star. Getting into the world’s top 50 and remaining there until March 25 will secure a place in April’s US Masters and also boost his chances of forcing his way into the European Ryder Cup team in September.
While Bob is acutely aware of both those possibilities, he is only focused on his game: ‘Everything will happen for me if I play good golf,’ he said. ‘It comes down to that. Every goal and everything people say about me is achievable.’