Pinehurst loses a legend with the passing of caddie Willie McRae
Sadly, Pinehurst Resort lost an absolute legend over the weekend.
On Sunday, Willie McRae, who caddied for nearly 75 years, passed at the age of 85.
According to Pinehurst.com, McRae carried bags for U.S. presidents, superstar athletes and celebrities and also for anyone who asked.
“To me,” McRae often said, “everybody’s a celebrity.”
What more do you want from a caddie than that?
Pinehurst.com reported that McRae officially retired from day-to-day caddying at Pinehurst in 2017 but would return to take special requests. Along with the great Jackie Burke Jr., McRae was one of the last two remaining men alive to have been a part of the 1951 Ryder Cup at famed Pinehurst No. 2.
McRae first began caddying at age 10 on May 19, 1943, when his father – also a Pinehurst looper – asked his young son if he was ready to caddie at Pinehurst.
Among McRae’s who’s who list of loops was that of Donald Ross – the renowned course architect who designed Pinehurst No. 2.
McRae is enshrined in three different Halls of Fame. Check this out from Pinehurst.com:
McRae caddied in several of golf’s greatest championships, ranging from that Ryder Cup to multiple U.S. Opens and U.S Women’s Opens. A great player in his own time – McRae won the annual caddie tournament at Pinehurst three times – in the 1950s the U.S. Army stationed McRae at Fort Dix instead of shipping him overseas, installing him as the captain of the golf team. There he would often team with Earl Woods, Tiger’s father, winning local tournaments.
“Caddies possess an extraordinary knowledge of the game and its players, and by word of mouth, each caddie develops his own reputation,” wrote World Golf Hall-of-Famer and two-time Masters Champion Ben Crenshaw. “In this sense, Willie was always highly sought after by so many fine players who played Pinehurst and returned there. Great players such as Jack Burke Jr., Tommy Bolt, Gene Sarazen and Julius Boros – just to name a few – specifically asked for Willie’s expertise. That these wonderful players sought out Willie is high praise indeed.”
To learn more about McRae, watch this video feature ESPN put together during the 2014 U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2.:
I was fortunate to be a member at Pinehurst and played #2 with Willie and the gentleman from Sports Illustrated the day he wrote the SI article highlighting Willie’s magnificent career. What a magical round it was, a day I will never forget! We have lost a great man and good friend. Tom Willis