You’ve probably already noticed that yours truly is not on the back page of this sports supplement anymore.

Well, unless you’re reading this online, of course, where it doesn’t make the foggiest bit of difference where these haverings are plonked.

Rather like shifting some mooing cattle to a new pasture – some say we should’ve been hastily herded to the abattoir - this fine organ’s daily collection of columnists have all been moved from the, ahem, rear end and brought into the body of the kirk as it were to continue our preachings and pontifications. New pulpit, same old twaddle, though. So on we go.

In the largely joyless world that we now live in, I noticed the other day that some hand-wringing, health-conscious, you-are-what-you-eat zealot is wanting to ban the “mindless” devouring of various snacky things on public transport.

In an age of remorseless, tut-tutting, finger-wagging and snooty, goading piety, it won’t be long before the simple act of waddling down the High Street while cheerfully chomping down a poke of Worcester Sauce crisps will generate the same kind of appalled, disgusted glower you’d get if Greta Thunberg clapped eyes on President Trump at the diesel pump.

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It’s all food for thought. And in the world of golf, Oban’s Robert MacIntyre continues to give us plenty of sustenance.

A share of fourth in the Italian Open on Sunday launched the Oban left-hander into the top-10 of the European Tour’s Race to Dubai for the first time and also led to him metaphorically snatching the saltire from Russell Knox and assuming the role of Scotland’s standard bearer on the world rankings.

MacIntyre is now 86th on the global pecking order, two places above his compatriot Knox. A year ago he was 507th. His rapid rise has been so startling, the climate activists will be heading to Oban to check what’s fuelling his upward trajectory.

READ MORE: MacIntyre rises to world No 86

Most of us who have followed his career, of course, have a decent idea of what’s behind his success. He has talent, he has the drive, he has a terrific team around him, he has strong, supportive family ties and he has a wholesome, grounded nature that’s as down to earth as a packet of Granny Sookers.

In the exacting, unforgiving business of professional golf, with all its complex demands, you need more than talent alone to prosper amid the abundant, varied rigours of this mind-mangling and fickle pursuit. MacIntyre is dealing with it all wonderfully well.

Scotland has not had a winner of the European Tour’s rookie of the year award since Marc Warren in 2006. The highest finish on the order of merit by a new Scottish recruit to the circuit, meanwhile, was seventh and that was by the late Gordon Brand Jnr in 1982. MacIntyre is currently seventh with a raft of big money outings to come.

One of the exciting aspects of MacIntyre’s surge to prominence is that we are now expecting him to be at the sharp end of leaderboards on a weekly basis. He does too.

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And when he does finish, say, 28th, he’s not particularly happy. That’s exactly where he finished on his debut in the BMW PGA Championship, the tour’s flagship event, last month but he was quietly brassed off with that result. His standards are high and he expects a lot of himself. That’s the spirit.

And dare we mention the Ryder Cup? It can be easy to get carried away by an eye-catching emergence, particularly in this current age of social media-driven hoopla and trumpet-blowing which could make a fleeting star out of a bale of hay.

But MacIntyre continues to prove that he is a man and a golfer of real substance. The year-long European qualifying scramble for the Ryder Cup is in its infancy and MacIntyre is 10th on the points list.

READ MORE: Montgomerie on wins, work and Old Course worries

He has events of huge points-earning potential to come and he’s not a million miles away from the promised land of the top-50 in the world where shimmering doors of vast opportunity are just about held open by men in white gloves as they usher you inside.

This time last year we probably wouldn’t have predicted that a shinty-playing Oban lad who was in his rookie season on the second-tier Challenge Tour would, 12 months later, have finished sixth in The Open, have three runners-up finishes on the main tour and be seventh on the European rankings.

It’s the kind of instant impact that’s often made by young players from other countries … but not little old Scotland, right?

But here we are, revelling in the sprightly endeavours of the young Scottish player we have craved for a long time. So let’s continue to enjoy the ride. You just never know where MacIntyre will take us.

And another thing...

It’s always hard to say who will make it in this pursuit of fine margins and fluctuating fortunes.

We have witnessed so many exciting young Scottish amateurs down the years who we thought would be at the vanguard of a new wave on the tour but have struggled to establish a foothold. Bradley Neil was one of them.

After a sterling amateur career, illuminated by victory in the Amateur Championship at Portrush in 2014, Neil earned his stripes on the Challenge Tour and had one trying season on the main circuit in 2018 before enduring the kind of plummet that would’ve made Icarus wince.

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The Blairgowrie youngster was in grave danger of losing his Challenge Tour card this year after another dispiriting season of toil but a fourth place finish in Ireland at the weekend when he needed it most has, at last, hinted at better things.

Neil, like the aforementioned MacIntyre, is just 23 and has time on his side.

He has already endured plenty of sobering golfing experiences over the past couple of seasons.

While MacIntyre has been going up and up, Neil has being going in the other direction.

Professional golf is a tough school of hard knocks. How they deal with those harsh lessons tells you a lot about the player and the person.