Golf News: Genesis Scottish’s Open statement trigger MacIntyre and McIlroy into action

By | June 30, 2024

Golf News:

Genesis Scottish’s Open statement trigger MacIntyre and McIlroy into action

Last year’s finish to Rolex Series event hailed as ‘one of the best finishes’ in DP World Tour history

It was golf at its very best. One player produced a wonder shot at the final hole to set pulses racing only for the only other player who could deny him to come up with something equally majestic to walk away with the title.

I’m referring, of course, to a dramatic end to last year’s Genesis Scottish Open at The Renaissance Club, where Bob MacIntyre and Rory McIlroy served up one of the greatest finishes in golf on any circuit for an awfully long time.

Bidding to become the first home player to claim the coveted crown since Colin Montgomerie in 1999, MacIntyre thought he’d done enough after producing the “best shot in my life” for a birdie at the 72nd hole to set the clubhouse target in the Rolex Series event.


Rory McIlroy shows off the Genesis Scottish Open trophy after landing his first-ever success on Scottish soil. Picture: Andrzej Majdanik Photography

On another day, it would have been job done but, unfortunately for the Oban man, not this one as McIlroy finished birdie-birdie in a howling gale on the East Lothian coast to land his first-ever success on Scottish soil.

Both players are heading back to the same venue for this year’s edition the week after next and, if the finish to that eagerly-awaited tournament at the start of another ‘Festival of Golf’ in Scotland this summer is even close to the last one, then the fans heading there are in for another tasty treat.

“It was absolutely amazing – one of the best finishes I can remember,” declared Miguel Vidaor, the Genesis Scottish Open tournament director for the DP World Tour in an event that is now co-sanctioned with the PGA Tour, as he recalled the last hour or so of that dramatic denouement just under 12 months ago.

“Another one was in the 2018 Irish Open at Ballyliffin with Russell Knox and Ryan Fox, but this one was just incredible with the local hero in Bob, an absolute Cinderealla story, a life-changing situation. Then someone like Rory, a magnet and an incredible player, doing what he did on those final holes in that wind was absolutely out of this world. It was just incredible.”


Winner Rory McIlroy embraces runner-up Bob MacIntyre after the duo produced a dramatic finish to last last year’s Genesis Scottish Open at The Renaissance Club. Picture: Andrew Redington/Getty Images

MacIntyre hit a 3-wood off a spectator walkway from 212 yards to around three feet for his closing birdie before McIlroy produced something equally special with a 4-iron for his approach to match it, admitting what effectively was the title-winning blow had “definitely been in my top ten and maybe even top five”.

“That shot from Bob on 18 was one of the best I’ve ever seen and then the stinger from Rory was absolutely incredible – it was magic,” added Vidaor, who has worked for the DP World Tour since 1993 and, consequently, has witnessed thousands of shots from close quarters.

There was also no disguising the tone of genuine excitement in another voice as John Sarvadi, the new CEO at The Renaissance Club after taking over that role from his brother Jerry, reflected on last year’s event from the perspective of the American family who own the venue on Scotland’s Golf Coast.


“It was amazing,” said Sarvadi. “The conditions that day were at least a three-club wind the entire day, extremely difficult conditions. When Bobby came in with the shot he hit on 18 and made that putt, most of us were saying ‘it’s over’ and probably best case a play-off, especially after Rory didn’t make a birdie on 16.

“But what he was then able to pull off with the birdie-birdie finish and the second shot on 18, which he said in the Genesis Lounge afterwards that he’d remember when he is 80 years old and in a rocking chair, we couldn’t have asked for a better finish. Obviously a lot of local fans were disappointed that local favourite Bobby didn’t carry the day, but it was a fabulous finish and we are looking forward to a great one as well this year.”

From a title sponsor’s perspective, the late drama last year was worth its weight in gold in terms of not only the live coverage but the replays thereafter around the world. “It was fantastic,” admitted Graeme Russell, a Scot who is the Genesis brand advisor. “To have one of the world’s great golfers putting on a show, as Rory did coming off the back of Bob’s incredible performance in front of his home crowd, was one of the best golf tournaments of the year. We saw two of the best shots into the 18th that we may ever see, so I think it had all the components.

“I think many of us, possibly myself included, were cheering for Bob as the home golfer, but I think it was a case of Rory demonstrating his class. It was just a great finish and to have Rory winning following Xander Schauffele’s win the previous year just shows the calibre of player who is winning the Genesis Scottish Open is getting stronger and stronger.

“It’s always been strong with the likes of Min Woo Lee, Aaron Rai and others and before that many other well-known golfers. But I think the quality field that attends each year is seeing that cream rise to the top, so to speak, and, of course, it’s also great preparation for The Open the following week. I think all the components are there.”

McIlroy’s return will mark his first appearance since an agonising finish left him losing out to Bryson DeChambeau in the US Open at Pinehurst while MacIntyre will be making his first appearance on Scottish soil since landing a breakthrough PGA Tour win in the RBC Canadian Open with his dad Dougie caddying for him.

“Wasn’t it fantastic?” said Rory Colville, the DP World Tour championship director for the $9 million event, of that success. “I think having a globally-recognised Scottish star is unquestionably really positive for the event. We are all excited to see his ascent in the game. His runner-up finish last year gave him arguably the platform to play in the Ryder Cup and then get his PGA Tour card and having won the RBC Canadian Open, we are hugely excited about Bob coming back to the Genesis Scottish Open as a PGA Tour winner.”


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