Father, son, grandson cherish life working together at Pinehurst - WSLS 10 NBC in Roanoke/Lynchburg Va

Father, son, grandson cherish life working together at Pinehurst

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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.

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