Scottish Ryder Cup star Robert MacIntyre is back for a second tilt at the Joe Kirkwood Cup but this time arrives for the Fortinet Australian PGA Championship as one of the tournament favourites.
Ranked No.56 on the Official World Golf Ranking, the 27-year-old is in Australia for the next fortnight of Australian majors with trophies and ranking points high on the priority list as he kicks off his 2024 DP World Tour season down under.
MacIntyre is hoping to rise six or more places on the ranking by year’s end to secure an invite to next year’s Masters, where he finished T12 on debut in 2021 and shared 23rd last year.
“I get to see family and I’m chasing top-50 in the world. If I can achieve that in the next two weeks, I get in The Masters come April, so, I’ve got a lot to play for,” MacIntyre, who has family in Melbourne, said.
“There’s a lot on the line and I also get to see some family within that. For me, the biggest thing is getting to Augusta come April.”
Missing out on taking golf’s most treasured drive down Magnolia Lane this year, MacIntyre is determined to return after a year where he placed in the top 20 11 times and made his first Ryder Cup appearance on Luke Donald’s victorious European team.
“For me it’s plain and simple – win a golf tournament. I think if I win this week, it’ll be very close,” he said of his World Ranking aspirations.
“I’ve played it (The Masters) twice now and I see it in my eyes.
“One of my life goals was to play the Ryder Cup and win the Ryder Cup. I achieved that. I’ve got another few goals, but one of them is win a green jacket and I think I can do it.”
MacIntyre will be up early Thursday morning, the two-time DP World Tour winner starting his Kirkwood Cup challenge off Royal Queensland’s 10th tee alongside defending champion Cameron Smith and Min Woo Lee at 6:10am local time.
Similarly chasing a Masters spot via the world rankings at the end of 2023, and the second half of Australian golf’s big title double, Adrian Meronk will get the field underway in the group ahead of MacIntyre in a threesome with Adam Scott and Cam Davis.
Winner of the 2022 ISPS HANDA Australian Open, Meronk missed out on the Ryder Cup team despite three wins on the DP World Tour during the circuit’s 2023 season, including his Stonehaven Cup triumph in Melbourne when he played alongside Scott in the final round.
“Every year I’ve been progressing and improving my ranking, getting Ws all over the world,” said Meronk, who will make his 100th start on the DP World Tour this week.
“It’s been an amazing ride and I know it’s only the beginning for me.”
Currently No.48 on the world ranking, Meronk will be looking to solidify his place and earn a second trip to Augusta, Georgia for the first full week in April after debuting in 2023 and failing to make the weekend.
Aussies Lee and Davis are also around the all-important top-50 bubble, with the 2017 Australian Open winner sitting 44th and Lee one spot further back, the quality of the field at Royal Queensland and in Sydney next week providing ample opportunity to ensure they also return to Augusta.
“It’s going to be very exciting over the next few years,” Davis said Wednesday.
“I’d love to be a part of that sort of group that starts getting a few more trophies on the board and up those world rankings and getting some majors coming our way.”