May marks the 75th anniversary of Willie McRae's debut as a caddie at Pinehurst No. 2. He has caddied for tour pros, celebrities, four U.S. presidents and thousands of everyday golfers. Now just shy of 85, he cut back his work schedule last October, but he remains a Pinehurst legend. We recently talked with McRae about his days in the sandhills.

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HOW DID YOU GET STARTED?
My daddy talked to the caddie-master and said, "What about my son? He knows a lot about the game and plays a little bit, too." And in my first few days, I caddied for Donald Ross and Richard Tufts [whose family owned Pinehurst]. It was just a lot of fun. It was kind of like love at first sight.

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WHAT'S THE MOST SATISFYING THING ABOUT CADDIEING?
Well, it makes you feel like you're somebody. That's one of the greatest things. You meet so many nice people. You would never meet the people if you were on a [regular] job.

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WHAT IS THE THING MOST GOLFERS GET WRONG ABOUT PINEHURST NO. 2?
It all depends where the pin is. You've got to know what part of the greens to hit to. A lot of them holes, you're better off hitting short of the green and chipping up. I love hearing people say, "Oh, Donald Ross got me." Well, Donald Ross didn't get you. He's been dead for years. It's you that did it.

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EVER USE A RANGE FINDER?
I did for a little while, but somebody took it, and I'm not going to spend $375 for no range finder. If I don't know it by now, I'm not going to know it.

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WHAT WAS IT LIKE TO CADDIE FOR DONALD ROSS?
Donald was a nice guy, good golfer. He always was right down the middle of the fairways. Had a light bag, which I appreciated. Now they put everything in the bag but the kitchen sink.

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HOW ABOUT BEN HOGAN?
The greatest ball-striker in the world. They say he hit it left to right. He hit it, and it moved about that far [barely separates his fingers]. Down the middle of the fairway every time.

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JOHNNY MILLER?
He's one of the greatest ball-strikers, and a nice man. I've always been impressed with how he stayed calm on the course. That served him well.

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ARNOLD PALMER?
The greatest. When he died, I felt like I was mourning one of my brothers. I caddied for him when he was at Wake Forest. We used to have a lot of fun. You could say about anything you wanted to him, and he'd say anything to you.

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ANY PLAYER YOU WISH YOU HAD A CHANCE TO CADDIE FOR?
A whole lot of players. Tiger Woods is probably the biggest name. A lot of them I believe I could have helped.

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YOU'VE CADDIED FOR PRESIDENTS TRUMAN, EISENHOWER, NIXON AND FORD. EVER INTIMIDATED BY ANY OF THEM?
No. You see, the only thing about caddieing, you've got to remember he's got to get in his clothes like you do. He doesn't hang them up and jump in them. If you think about it like that, you'll never worry about nothing.

● ● ● WHO WAS THE BEST PLAYER OF THE PRESIDENTS?
Probably Ford. But you know, the guy nobody liked, Nixon, he was really pretty nice, actually.

RELATED: Ranking The Best Golfing Presidents

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ARE YOU REALLY RETIRING?
Well, I'm just retiring in name. I'm still going to caddie for some people who are asking for me. A guy I've caddied for for 30 years said to me, "I don't want to play golf here unless you're on my bag." I said, "That's good. I just hope I keep living so you can keep playing."

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