Robert MacIntyre would have been “absolutely devastated” had Covid-19 isolation prevented him from playing the Scottish Open instead of the Irish.
He was forced to miss last week’s Irish Open after a passenger on his flight home from the US Open tested positive.
However, the 24-year-old will return to Europen Tour action at The Renaissance Club on Thursday.
“If a Scot could pick one golf tournament to win other than a major, this is going to be it,” he said.
“So thankfully it’s not happened this week. We’ve done everything right from isolation to testing.”
Scotland’s highest-ranked golfer was philosophical about having to miss out on playing at Mount Juliet.
“That’s the life we’re living just now – it’s the risk you take and you can’t do anything about it,” MacIntyre told BBC Scotland. “Whoever it was who tested positive, I obviously hope they’re alright. I’ve missed a big event, but there’s more to life than golf.”
MacIntyre spent his time in isolation “just chilling out” on the exercise bike “sitting looking at the view for a good six hours a day”.
“Then, if I wasn’t eating chocolate bars or whatever, I was playing the Playstation – that’s about it,” he said.
Despite the disruption to his preparations, MacIntyre is aiming high in a tournament that is often seen as simply a warm-up to The Open that follows – and a provider of three qualifying places for the major, this year being held at Royal St Georges.
“I’m not so much preparing for The Open but preparing for this week to try to win,” he said. “I’m going to give everything I can to be standing here on Sunday night with something special.”
For the first time, the highest-placed Scot will win the Jock MacVicar Trophy, in honour of the late Scottish golf journalist.
“It would be cool to win that, Jock being an Argyll man like myself,” MacIntyre said. “Jock was such a good guy to all of us – he was just an out-and-out nice guy.”
MacIntyre’s withdrawal left only four of the world’s top 50 players competing at the Irish Open, but he will be part of one of strongest fields ever for his home event.
“The standard’s high and hopefully we can get a bit of weather coming in and toughen them up a wee bit,” he added. “There are some new tees here and there and they’ve certainly narrowed it in.
“It’s more like what we’re going to get at The Open and hopefully the scoring gets pulled back a bit. If the wind gets up, that will do the job.”
Article courtesy of BBC Sport