After WD in Italian Open title defense, Robert MacIntyre said he’ll push through ‘niggling injuries’ at PGA Championship

Robert MacIntyre, whose defense of his Italian Open title was ended by injury last week, has declared he is in perfect physical condition ahead of the  PGA Championship at Oak Hill.

MacIntyre withdrew from the DP World Tour event at the Marco Simone Golf and Country Club, where the Ryder Cup will be staged in September, before the second round on Friday due to a back strain.

The 26-year-old from Oban had recorded his second professional victory in the tournament following a playoff with Matt Fitzpatrick 12 months earlier and was disappointed he was forced to pull out.

However, the Scot has undergone extensive treatment on the problem since and is confident he will be in decent shape when the second major of the year gets underway in Pittsford, New York, on Thursday week.

“I’ll be good to go next week,” he said at a media event to preview the Genesis Scottish Open in July at the Renaissance Club in East Lothian today. “I’ve seen the right people and am doing the right things. So I’ll get on with it.

“It’s far better. I tried my best when I was out there (in Italy). On the Wednesday morning, when I woke up I could hardly move, just from the way I’d slept. I’ve been in for physio yesterday and this morning and it’s feeling far better.

“If I’m being honest, I push as much as I can. I’ve had niggling injuries already this year, most recently my arm, and pushed through that. I pushed as much as I could on this one.

“I managed to get out in the first round feeling good. But I tried to hit a tee shot hard down nine and felt it going. I kind of tried to manage my way round after that, but I struggled late on in the first round.

“I then almost didn’t have enough time between rounds. When I woke up on Friday morning, I thought: ‘This ain’t good’. I went into the physio room for about an hour then went out and tried to warm up, but the speed was that far down. It wasn’t good enough to go out and play.”

MacIntrye added: “The guys in the physio truck were absolutely brilliant. They’d said it wasn’t going to do any long-term damage trying to push through it. It was just a case of how much pain I could take.

“I could get through it with an iron, but when I was trying to hit a driver I was full tilt and the way I move the back wasn’t allowing me to tilt. I could have played with an iron, but it was too long a golf course to hit something soft.

“I’ve got a strapping on my arm as well because of the ligaments. I just over-extended it. But a couple of painkillers, a bit of strapping and I’m good to go.”

Gutted to withdraw this morning from the @ItalianOpen with a back strain. Hopefully nothing too serious. Now for a week of rest before the PGA Championship.

— Robert MacIntyre (@robert1lefty) May 5, 2023

MacIntyre is hoping to play his way onto the European team for the biennial Ryder Cup match with the United States in Italy later this year and knows that a good performance in the PGA Championship next week will kick start his season and boost his chances.

He revealed that he enjoyed being at home in Oban with his family and friends as he recovered from his back problem and is feeling good mentally as well as physically heading into his first major since the Open at St. Andrews last year.

“It is going to be really important,” he said. “If you have a good week, it’s a big push in the right direction. I’ve not seen anything of the golf course, I don’t know it, but I try to keep it simple. Good golf takes care of it.

“The traveling I’ve done since I came home has been unbelievable. But it’s good to get home and see the people I enjoy spending time with.

“I was walking along the beach with my little niece, just enjoying it. It was pouring with rain, but I didn’t have a worry in the world, just enjoying myself.

“That’s how I almost recalibrate. There is so much going on in the golfing world that you can get too bogged down in golf. For me, it’s good to get away from the course.

“I mean, I had five weeks off there and I reckon I touched the clubs five times. For me, I don’t need to hammer it. It’s more about clearing my mind, being happy when I go back to work, step on that golf course with Mike (Thomson) carrying the bag. I want to make life easier for him and easier for myself. I prepare the same way at every tournament.”

MacIntyre added: “My game has been good. It was a far better start to the year in the Middle East. Abu Dhabi, if I’d putted halfway decent I would have been there or thereabouts. I’ve played really well.

“In Kenya, I had so many opportunities from 10 or 12 feet. Again, if I’d putted well, I would have got across the line. In Japan, I was coming back after five weeks off, but my game was still good. And Korea was one that almost got away from me.

“But I feel like 2019 (when he finished Rookie of the Year in his debut season on the DP World Tour) again. If I keep giving myself these chances, it’s going to happen.”