‘I’ve got a dogged attitude’: Robert MacIntyre makes early case for 2023 Ryder Cup with Italian Open playoff win over Matt Fitzpatrick

Roman golf fans will be treated to the best of the best next fall when the 2023 Ryder Cup descends on the city, and they got an early taste of what to expect from this week’s Italian Open.

Robert MacIntyre shot a 7-under 64 on Sunday to match 54-hole leader Matt Fitzpatrick at 14 under and force a playoff at Marco Simone Golf Club in Rome, which will play host for the biennial bout between the United States and Europe. Both Fitzpatrick and MacIntyre are poised to feature for Luke Donald’s European side, and it was the latter who left with the trophy for his second DP World Tour victory.

On the first playoff hole, MacIntyre’s tee shot found the fairway on the par-5 18th while Fitzpatrick’s sliced into the thick rough left of the fairway. From there the 26-year-old Scot just missed the green with his approach but got up-and-down for birdie to beat Fitzpatrick, who had to scramble for par.

In his post-round interview, MacIntyre said he, “was down and out two, three months ago, I didn’t know what I was doing, I didn’t know where to go,” before he praised his caddie, coaches, family and friends for supporting him through his struggles. After a pair of bogeys on Nos. 14 and 15, MacIntyre could hear the roars of the crowd as Fitzpatrick made a move, but he wasn’t deterred. Instead, he birdied Nos. 16 and 18 to force the playoff.

“We dug in. I’ve got a dogged attitude, never give up,” MacIntyre said. “I get punched but I punch back and the birdies coming in were massive and thankfully I got one in the playoff.”

MacIntyre was viewed as a snub for the last Ryder Cup matches in 2021 after veterans Sergio Garcia and Ian Poulter were selected despite ranking 10 and 14 spots lower on the European points list, respectively.

“It’s my only goal for the next year,” MacIntyre said of making the European Ryder Cup squad. When it comes to team selection, with the future status of players on the LIV Golf series in question for the event, this week is a big step forward for MacIntyre and his 2023 goals.