Pinehurst Golf News Archive

Words of wisdom from longtime caddie Willie McRae

Willie McRae Our State 2

Famous Pinehurst caddie Willie McRae appears in the January issue of Our State.

Willie McRae isn’t a know-it-all. 

But, the longtime caddie pretty much knows it all when it comes to Pinehurst No. 2.

How can it be? Time is the ultimate teacher and McRae has had plenty of time to learn. He’s been working at Pinehurst for more than 70 years.

McRae, a charter member of the Pinehurst Caddie Hall of Fame, has been a caddie since he turned 10 in 1943.

At 81, McRae imagines he’s the “oldest caddie in the world,” yet he shows no signs of slowing down.

Writer Tommy Tomlinson recently visited Pinehurst to glean some words of wisdom from the well-known greens reader. His story appears in the January issue of Our State. 

Willie McRae Our State

A sage piece of advice from Pinehurst caddie Willie McRae appears on the cover of the January issue of Our State.

Over the years, McRae has caddied for everybody from Presidents Eisenhower, Nixon and Ford to U.S. Open champion Justin Rose. He even carried bags for Donald Ross, the famous architect of Pinehurst No. 2, and Richard Tufts, the grandson of Pinehurst founder James Walker Tufts.

“Everybody’s famous. Everybody’s somebody,” McRae told Tomlinson. “I don’t try to classify one person over another.”

Here’s a look at some of the wisdom McRae shares in the article. Read the entire piece over at ourstate.com. 

“The first thing that you gotta do, you gotta be nice to people. If they say something you don’t like, let it go in this ear and out that ear.”

“Ain’t no use in throwing a club. The club ain’t done nothing to you. You’re the one who hit the ball.”

“I’m not too worried about the swing, as long as they get it back in the right channel. You got a lot of crazy-looking swings, but that ain’t got nothing to do with it, as long as you keep that arm stretched out.”

“I had some ladies on the 1st tee one time. One of them looked at me and said, ‘Willie?’ I said, ‘Ma’am?’ ‘What’s wrong with my game?’ I said, ‘Miss, I’m going to tell you. You’re too close to the ball after you hit it.’”

“As long as you feel good and in your right mind, you might as well go ahead and work. You’ll die when your time comes.”

I had [pro golfers] Justin Rose and [Hunter] Mahan just before the U.S. Open, and I taught them how to read the green. They asked me, “Willie, which way does the grain go?” I said, “The grain goes from east to west. The grass has got to be going toward the sun when it comes up. If it don’t, it’ll burn the root out. And if you notice, when they cut the cup in the morning, the east [edge] is rough. And the rest of the cup around there is sort of smooth. Most of it’s common sense.”

One of them said, “There ain’t no other caddies out here on the [PGA] tour that told me nothing like that.” I said, “Well, they don’t know. They can’t tell you what they don’t know.”

If you can’t be a drawing card — if people don’t want you the next day — you’re in bad shape.

Sometimes when I’m down and out, I like to sing.

Your grace and mercy
Brought me through
I’m living this moment
Because of You

That sounds pretty good, huh?

Want more? Check out this video of McRae and pal Eddie Mac discussing Pinehurst No. 2.

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Golfers we’re watching in 2015

Now that 2014 has officially come to a close, it’s time to start thinking about what’s in store this year.

Here we take a look a few of the golfers we’re planning to watch in 2015.

Michelle Wie

Obviously, we’re going to be paying attention to the reigning U.S. Women’s Open Champion. She won the Lotte Championship in April before claiming her first major win here in June. Wie’s Open victory seems to have given the golfer a new energy. We’re excited to see how she’ll use it in 2015.

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Your favorite Pinehurst memories of 2014

2014 Memory Brian Cook

Brian Cook traveled to Pinehurst three times in 2014, but his favorite memory was sharing the U.S. Women’s Open with his oldest daughter, pictured here in front of the Payne Stewart statue.

We know, 2014 is SO yesterday. But you have to admit it was a great year.

When we asked our followers to share their favorite Pinehurst memories, they proved us right. In fact, we were flooded with awesome stories. We’ve compiled a few of the best ones for you to enjoy.

Cheers to another year of family, friends, food and GOLF.

From Facebook

“I was there 3 times this year. Celebrated New Year’s Eve at the Carolina Hotel, played golf on No. 2 New Year’s Day, came down in October with the family. But my favorite trip was bringing my oldest daughter down for the Women’s Open. Great memories for her and me.”
 Brian Cook

“Had dinner at the Carolina Dining Room with my daughters, Melissa Pocock and Sarah Lyn Patterson, just before Christmas…perfect!”
 Betsy Homa  

“First off, carrying my own bag one week after the Women’s Open on No. 2. The spirit of golf as they say was surely alive that day. Incredible memory. #payne
— Robert Carpenter 

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Most popular Instagram posts of 2014

We’ve had a busy year on Instagram, adding so many followers we lost count. Thanks, guys.

Below, we pored over our posts from the past year to bring you the top 10 most popular photos. You probably won’t be surprised to find almost all of them come from the historic back-to-back U.S. Opens. That’s OK, we know it was a great two weeks.

Enjoy a brief trip down memory lane and feel free to follow us in 2015.

10.

Good morning from Pinehurst and the #USWomensOpen

A photo posted by Pinehurst Resort (@pinehurstresort) on

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 Martin makes history at Pinehurst, wins record 3rd Donald Ross Junior

Donald Ross Jr Winner Josh Martin 2014

Pinehurst native Josh Martin won the Donald Ross Junior Championship for the third time in four years Monday, becoming the first player in the 67-year history of the event to do so.

FINAL RESULTS

Walter Hagen. Sam Snead. Ben Hogan.

Each won three championships at Pinehurst.

So, too, after a birdie in the dark, has Josh Martin.

One of the top junior golfers in the nation, the Pinehurst native won the Donald Ross Junior Championship for the third time in four years Monday, becoming the first player in the 67-year history of the event to do so. Martin also won the tournament in 2011 and 2012, and nearly captured a third title in 2013, but lost a playoff after the tournament was shortened due to rain.

Martin prevailed this time in the playoff, which lasted just one hole – the 1st on Pinehurst No. 4 – as darkness fell. Play was delayed by an hour to start the day after morning rain, but Martin snuck in his birdie to clip Stephen Cerbara, of Langhorne, Pennsylvania, and Alex Smalley, of Wake Forest, North Carolina.

“I don’t get to play in the dark very often,” said a smiling Martin, clutching his third Putter Boy trophy.

Donald Ross Junior Josh Martin tees off 2014

Josh Martin tees off during the playoff round Monday as darkness begins to fall.

But he does win often. Martin because the youngest North Carolina Amateur champion in June, and then fired rounds of 69 and 68 on courses No. 5 and No. 4 to prevail at Pinehurst again, putting himself into elite company. Hagen, Snead and Hogan won the North & South Open on Pinehurst No. 2 three times each.

“It’s hard to really think about being mentioned in the same breath as those guys,” Martin said. “That’s pretty awesome.”

A.J. Beechler, also of Pinehurst, perhaps stole the show on Monday, though. A U.S. Kids world champion by age 11 a few years ago, Beechler added to his growing junior resume with a brilliant performance in winning the 12-to-14-year-old division of the Donald Ross Junior. Beechler shot 69 in the first round on Sunday and then came back with scintillating 7-under 63 on Pinehurst No. 1 on Monday to win by four shots over Joseph Pagdin, of Orlando, Florida.

Donald Ross Junior winner AJ Beechler 2014

A.J. Beechler of Pinehurst poses with his trophy after scoring a 63 on Pinehurst No. 1 during the final round of the tournament Monday.

“I actually thought it was a three-day tournament, so I guess that’s why I was pretty calm,” said Beechler, who had six birdies, an eagle and a bogey. “I knew the greens were going to be soft with all the rain, so I was just throwing them up a couple of feet short of the pins.”

Jackson Van Paris, of Lake Forest, Illinois, shot rounds of 71-74 for a total of 145 to win the 11-and-under division by one shot over Darren Choi, of Toronto.

IMG_1213

Jackson Van Paris of Lake Forest, Illinois clinched the 11-and-under division by one shot over Darren Choi of Toronto.

In Sunday’s first round, Brandon Whitley, of Huntersville, North Carolina, made a hole-in-one on the 9th hole of No. 1, using an 8 iron from 130 yards in the 12-to-14 division.

Here are a few photos from the final round of play Monday.

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