Kevin McAlpine has caddied for major champion Lexi Thompson. He’s also carried the tools of PGA Tour winner Martin Laird. So what about doing the duties for his wife and newly crowned AIG Women’s Open champion Anna Nordqvist?
“I don’t think we’d stay married if I did,” chuckled the Scot.
McAlpine and Nordqvist may have tied the knot but, when it comes to golf, they will continue to go their separate ways it seems.
Nordqvist’s thrilling victory at Carnoustie on Sunday night was hard earned and richly deserved as she stood firm on a tense, turbulent final day and eventually won by a single shot. It was the Swede’s third major title and her most cherished.
With a sizeable local support urging her on, this was a special win for an adopted Scot. When Nordqvist holed out on the 18th green to put the tin lid on her narrow victory, McAlpine’s well-kent dad, Hamish, probably produced the kind of joyous leap not seen since he was between the sticks of Dundee United’s title-winning fitba team of 1983.
“I don’t know how many girls, apart from Louise Duncan and maybe Kelsey MacDonald, would have had this many people backing her,” said Kevin of the massed ranks of family and friends who made the short trip to Carnoustie from Alyth. “I don’t think people realise how much that helps. She knows them all too. It’s a great thing.”
McAlpine, a winner of both the Scottish matchplay and strokeplay titles during a glory-laden stint in the amateur scene, struggled to replicate those successes in the professional game but his knowledge and experience has helped him become a valued caddie.
In the Solheim Cup of 2017 at Des Moines, McAlpine carried the bag of the aforementioned Thompson when she went head-to-head with Nordqvist in the Sunday singles.
An epic showdown between the pair ended all-square, which was probably just as well for McAlpine in terms of preserving a relationship with his wife to be.
The emotions on Sunday were a bit different. “That Sunday at the Solheim Cup was one of the worst days of my life but this is one of the best,” added McAlpine of his wife’s major moment which was achieved with another Scottish caddie, Paul Cormack, by her side.
“I’ll admit that I don’t like watching. I think it’s down to the fact I’ve played myself, not in that position admittedly, but it’s a similar feeling. It’s hard to win at any level, it really is, never mind at this level.”
Having suffered the lingering effects of glandular fever, Nordqvist’s first win since 2017 – it was also a major title – completed her recovery. “She deserves this,” said McAlpine. “Just to see the hard work she has put in being rewarded is fantastic.”
As for this golfing love story? Cue the dreamy, romantic harp music. “We met randomly four-and-a-half years ago when I was on the tour caddying and we just hit it off,” reflected McAlpine. “We’ve hardly been apart for the last four years. I’m still working for Martin but Anna’s the most important thing for me. Whatever she wants is what we’ll do. She’s one of the nicest human beings I’ve met in my life. I’ve brought her out of her shell a little. She had been reserved. Golf’s been her whole thing, and I know what that’s like. You can get caught up in that and it’s just golf, golf, golf. But there’s more to life than that. I think she realises that now. I realised that a long time ago.”