Legendary Pinehurst caddie Willie McRae was enshrined in the Carolinas Golf Hall of Fame over the weekend, celebrating McRae’s rich life and over seven decades of caddying in Pinehurst.
With more than 40 friends and family looking on, McRae spoke at the CGA’s Annual Meeting, regaling the audience and those around him that evening with several of the stories that have made McRae one of Pinehurst’s lasting figures. The CGA also produced the video above, featuring some of Willie’s best stories while noting his historic legacy at Pinehurst.
McRae’s legendary time at Pinehurst traces much of the area’s rise in the annals of American golf. He has caddied for five presidents, for celebrities from Mickey Mantle to Michael Jordan and many of golf’s greatest figures, including Donald Ross, Bobby Jones, Gene Sarazen and Sam Snead.
“I’ve always been thankful to be able to work at a place like Pinehurst,” McRae said. “Everybody’s always been so nice to me. They’ve always made me think I was the important person.”
McRae is one of just two living participants of the 1951 Ryder Cup, which was contested at Pinehurst. He has caddied in several of golf’s greatest championships, ranging from the Ryder Cup to multiple U.S. Opens and U.S Women’s Opens. A great player in his own time, 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.
“Willie always says that everybody is somebody, that everyone has a right to be treated well,” said Pinehurst President Tom Pashley. “But what we all know is that Willie has always been one of the most important people at Pinehurst.”
“It’s a very proud moment for the Carolinas Golf Association,” said G. Jackson Hughes Jr., the chairman of the CGA Hall of Fame selection committee. “Willie McRae has meant so much to so many people for so many years here at Pinehurst. It’s a well-deserved award.”
“It’s nice to know that with his enshrinement into the Carolinas Golf Hall of Fame, Willie’s picture will be on the Hall of Fame wall in The Carolina Hotel forever,” Pashley said. “To know that his family will always be able to walk by that photo and see how much Willie has meant to the game of golf is really special.”