Lawrie and Drummond pay respects to one of Scotland’s most successful caddies of all time
FORMER Open champion Paul Lawrie led the tributes to Willie Aitchison, one of Scotland’s greatest caddies of all time, who passed away early in the New Year at the age of 85.
Glasgow man Aitchison steered Lee Trevino to successive Open Championship victories in 1971 and 1972 and was also on the bag of Argentine golfer Roberto De Vicenzo when he triumphed in the game’s oldest professional tournament at Royal Liverpool in 1967.
During almost half a century as a caddie, he also caddied for the likes of Sam Snead, Gary Player, Tony Lema, Tom Watson and Colin Montgomerie before injury forced him to retire from the game in 1995. Even so, he continued to stay involved in the sport as the European Tour’s caddiemaster until 2002.
He was inducted into the Caddie Hall of Fame in 2000 - having caddied at every St Andrews Open since 1960 - and passed away peacefully at home shortly after New Year.
Writing on Twitter, two-time Ryder Cup player Lawrie wrote: “Sad to hear of the passing of caddie Willie Aitchison. Great character who worked for some of the best.”
Former Volvo PGA champion Scott Drummond, meanwhile, described him a ‘great man and top caddy in his time’.
Aitchison’s last outing on the tour came during the 2007 Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, where he was coaxed out of retirement to take the bag of Scotland’s Jamie McLeary for the final few holes at St Andrews after Spain’s Ignacio Garrido dropped out with injury.
Afterwards, he admitted: “It was a great feeling for me to get the bag on my shoulder again. I’m not frightened to admit that there was a wee rush of adrenalin when I put it over my shoulder and started walking down the fairway again.”
Appropriately, McLeary finished his round at the Old Course with a birdie at the last.
“I suppose I can say I have finished my caddying career with a birdie,” added Aitchison. “I’m happy to go out on a high.”