Father, son, grandson cherish life working together at Pinehurst - Local news, weather, sports Savannah | WSAV On Your Side

Father, son, grandson cherish life working together at Pinehurst

Posted: Updated:
Willie McRae has caddied for presidents and superstars in his seven decades at North Carolina's famous Pinehurst Resort. (NBC News) Willie McRae has caddied for presidents and superstars in his seven decades at North Carolina's famous Pinehurst Resort. (NBC News)
PINEHURST, N.C. -

This Father's Day weekend, a lot of dads and sons will spend time on a golf course or watching the U.S. Open.

But for a man who has been a part of some of the greatest championships in golf, Father's Day isn't just a tradition, it's a way of life. Legendary golf caddy Willie Lee McRae gets to spend almost every day on the course with his son and grandson.

Willie has worked at Pinehurst for 70 years now. Since he was 10 years old, Willie has carried the bags of presidents, legends of the game, celebrities and some of the greatest athletes outside golf.

"It's a way of life," Willie said. "It's a job, but it's a good job.

"I caddied for Michael Jordan, Julius Erving, Peyton Manning."

Willie says it doesn't matter who he is with, they're all stars to him.

"Everybody is somebody, and that's the way you have to look at it," Willie said. "Treat everybody just a like. ... You have to enjoy it for them to enjoy it."

Which is one reason, maybe, why he's roamed the legendary fairways for so long.

"I've probably walked every blade of that, backwards and forwards," Willie said.

Although he doesn't walk quite as much anymore, Willie is the only caddy who has ever been allowed to take a cart onto the fairways of the famed Number 2 course at Pinehurst, a nod to the aches and pains that come with age and decades on the bag.

But just as much, it's a reminder of what this icon means to the course and his craft.

There is no statue of Willie at Pinehurst -- at least not yet -- but there is no question how important he is to the game and the golf course. Still, perhaps more enduring than his legendary career is McRae's legacy here.

The lead instructor at the Pinehurst Golf Academy is Paul McRae, Willie's son. Willie's grandson, Darick McRae, literally followed in his grandfather's footsteps and is a caddy at the golf course.

"Coming here every day with my dad and seeing the people he touched in his life is so great," Paul explained.

Paul's dad introduced him to the game and the course -- lessons that focuse4d a little on gold and a lot more on life.

"I got that same attitude from my dad," Paul said. "You need to treat everybody as special, so I try to treat everybody the same."

With his son, grandson, and a place and game that he loves, Willie says it can't get much better.

"It just feels my heart with joy," Willie said.

"Eighty years old and he's still out here -- that's sweet," Darick said. "To hear about three generations here in one spot -- been here for the longest -- what could be better?"

Willie caddied in the 1951 Ryder Cup at Pinehurst as well as recent U.S. Opens held there. The Open returns to Pinehurst next, and Willie says that if they let him ride, he'll do it again.

  • Local NewsMore>>

  • Family of Sampson Co. house fire victims pay respects

    Family of Sampson Co. house fire victims pay respects

    Monday, September 1 2014 5:36 AM EDT2014-09-01 09:36:18 GMT
    Six people, representing three different families, died in a house fire over the weekend.Six people, representing three different families, died in a house fire over the weekend.

    Family and friends of six people who died in a house fire paid their respects Sunday evening. Flames ripped through a mobile home on Gibbs Road just outside the town of Garland in Sampson County early Saturday morning.

    Family and friends of six people who died in a house fire paid their respects Sunday evening. Flames ripped through a mobile home on Gibbs Road just outside the town of Garland in Sampson County early Saturday morning.

  • Dr. Campbell: Managing Peanut Allergies in School

    Dr. Campbell: Managing Peanut Allergies in School

    Monday, September 1 2014 5:00 AM EDT2014-09-01 09:00:16 GMT
    Food allergies are a growing food safety and public health concern that affect an estimated four to six percent of children in the United States.
    Food allergies are a growing food safety and public health concern that affect an estimated four to six percent of children in the United States.
  • Duke University to hold Michael Brown forum Monday night

    Duke University to hold Michael Brown forum Monday night

    Monday, September 1 2014 4:59 AM EDT2014-09-01 08:59:24 GMT
    Lesley McSpadden, right, the mother of 18-year-old Michael Brown, watches as Brown's father, Michael Brown Sr., holds up a family pictureduring a news conference Aug. 11, 2014, in Ferguson, Mo. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)Lesley McSpadden, right, the mother of 18-year-old Michael Brown, watches as Brown's father, Michael Brown Sr., holds up a family pictureduring a news conference Aug. 11, 2014, in Ferguson, Mo. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
    The issues surrounding the deadly police shooting in Ferguson, Mo. will be discussed in the Triangle Monday night when Duke University will hold a town hall forum.
    The issues surrounding the deadly police shooting in Ferguson, Mo. will be discussed in the Triangle Monday night when Duke University will hold a town hall forum.
Powered by WorldNow

1430 East Victory Drive
Savannah, GA 31404

Telephone: 912.651.0300
Fax: 912.651.0320
Email: newsemailalert@wsav.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.