Robert MacIntyre revealed he was ravaged by self-doubt in the weeks leading up to his dramatic Italian Open victory.
Scotland’s top-ranked male golfer had endured a tough season until that stunning Sunday in Rome, when he saw off US Open champion Matt Fitzpatrick in a playoff.
His struggles had led to the Oban native making changes on and off the course, recruiting top coach Simon Shanks to get his game back on track.
But as results continued to plateau, the 26-year-old admitted it led him to the depths of self-doubt.
“I knew how much work and effort I was putting in and getting absolutely nothing out of it,” MacIntyre said ahead of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.
“I wasn’t performing at the top end of golf that I feel like my game should have been. I felt like I was playing alright but the results were mediocre at best.
“Obviously when you’re not seeing the results, you’re not positive. It’s another 40th place, another 30th place. It’s not bad but it’s not where I want to be.
“In Denmark I was doubting the changes I had made, changing coach.
“I was playing better but my results had not changed. It’s hard to stick to something I’m not seeing a result. And then I saw the trend in my stats and whatnot, it was one good putting week away from something good, and that something good was at the right time.”
MacIntyre made radical transformations at home in a bid to turn his fortunes round – and is now reaping the benefits physically and mentally.
“I built a gym and everything at home, a simulator, all the works, back at home,” he said.
“It’s a habit you’ve got to change, and I can’t change it on the road without changing it at home.
“I started doing gym work at home, and then just try to do it twice a week on the road. It’s something that it’s more to pass time.
“I mean, I’m the laziest, sitting on your backside at home, you eat sweets and do that kind of stuff. But it’s an hour out of my day that I can go and do some gym work and just clear my head.”
With his season firmly back on track, MacIntyre is again eyeing a spot at the Masters, where he has impressed over the last two years.
But he remained coy on his chances of making it back to Augusta, even though his recent success has propelled him to within touching distance of the world’s top 50 once more.
“It’s probably going to take another win probably by the end of the year to jump into that top 50, or something close to a win,” he added.
“But again, I can just go and play golf and shoot as low a number as I can. If that top 50 happens by the end of the year, it happens. If not, I’ve got another couple of months to climb the rankings.”