In this moneygrabbing era Robert MacIntyre’s tears showed what golf should be all about

Robert MacIntyre of Scotland and his caddie and father Dougie MacIntyre are interviewed by reporter Amanda Balionis after winning on the 18th green during the final round of the RBC Canadian Open
Robert MacIntyre, left, had his father Dougie as caddie on in Ontario

Golf is all about timing and it is fair to say that Robert MacIntyre’s heartwarming win on Sunday came at an apposite moment. At the start of a week that will feature an ignominious anniversary, the emotion of the Scot and his proud father is a reminder of what this sport is truly all about. And no, it is not money.

Of course, the £1.33 million first prize for lifting his first PGA Tour title will be a notable aspect for MacIntyre and naturally he was asked if he is giving the standard 10 per cent to his emergency caddie, MacIntyre Snr.

But the tears from both on the 18th green at the RBC Canadian Open were not shed in joy at any windfall, but instead at the fulfilment of a dream that was built on the foundations of a man taking his boy on to the course and showing him how to grip and how to swing and how to behave when the damn thing refuses to go where you want.

Golf is about children playing with parents, with grandparents, with uncles, aunties and friends. There is no other sport like it in that regard and the glorious MacIntyres of Oban re-emphasised its ability to unite and inspire. The triumph was pure and, boy, if professional male golf needs anything at this juncture it is purity.

On Thursday it will be one year since the PGA Tour and the Saudi Public Investment Fund announced the “framework agreement” that shocked the game and beyond. Remember those comments from Jay Monahan, the Tour commissioner, and Yasir Al-Rumayyan, the PIF governor and chairman of LIV Golf, the breakaway league that has driven a juggernaut across the previously pristine and cosseted fairways these past three years?

This was peace, the pair told us. No more infighting, no more recrimination. Al-Rumayyan assured us that the ultimate deal to end the division would take but a few weeks. Well, 52 weeks on and what has happened? Nothing positive. The people who supposedly count have not yet even managed to get around a desk to negotiate. There is no framework and there is no agreement. Golf fans were sold a myth.

Monahan somehow stills holds his position, but only because he ceded control to the likes of Tiger Woods and Patrick Cantlay who seem intent on proving that player power rather than sound governance is the way forward. Meanwhile Jon Rahm, an individual who not so long ago declared that he already had more riches than he and his young family could possibly ever spend, was lured for £400 million and dares to moan about the supporters being sold short.

Guess what? Everyone has their price and the Saudis know it, as what Phil Mickelson has the cheek to label a highly intellectual chess game continues to unfold in all its brinksmanship grubbiness. Except the supposed dumb pawns in this gambit of self-interest – ie. those fans – are clearing the board. At a time when participation levels have never been as healthy on a global basis, TV ratings are plummeting and sponsors are walking away.

Granted, the Strategic Sports Group – a conglomerate of US sports owners including Fenway Sports, the owners of Liverpool FC – have ploughed in more than £1 billion in equity, but to what end? Simply to make the golfers yet more wealthy?

Whichever side you are on, with a few exceptions, these privileged “superstars” are cashing cheques that their popularity and celebrity cannot fund and unless the warring parties come together then there will be a time of reckoning. The entire circus is unsustainable as well as grossly unseemly and if they are to stop the bleed, the wounds of the split must be healed.

Blame the Saudis, blame the Tour, blame the players, blame who you want, but it does not matter. Because nobody believes they should be held accountable and they just carry on giving out the same codswallop of growing the game and of leaving the professional scene in a better place for the generations to follow.

And during this shameless charade, Jimmy Dunne, the businessman who first met with Al-Rumayyan in the attempt to engineer a settlement, has quit the Tour’s board declaring that there has been “no meaningful progress” and another executive in Mark Flaherty has also bailed. Yet still they pull the cashmere over our eyes, painting themselves as heroic pioneers for the future. Just so long as they get their cut, naturally.

It is a mess of entitlement and it is little wonder that RBC is deciding whether to extend its sponsorship of two PGA Tour events. We can only pray that the bank was impressed with MacIntyre winning its national open and not just with the performance that has seen the 27-year-old break into the world’s top 40 for the first time and earned him spots in next week’s US Open and next year’s Masters, but with the resonance of the backstory.

Humility resounded from Hamilton Golf Club as Dougie MacIntyre wept and labelled himself a “grass cutter” who, as a greenkeeper in Oban, had no place in such celebrations. However, Dougie was fully deserving of that spotlight, because he instilled in Bob the proper ethics of chasing ambition. There was no guaranteed money in the MacIntyre household, but there was the determination and drive to realise a fantasy. It remains an ideal for which it is worth fighting.