ST. ANDREWS, Scotland – Rolex world No. 2 Lexi Thompson will have special insight from the man helping her around Kingsbarns this week for the Ricoh Women’s British Open.
Her Scottish caddie, Kevin McAlpine, worked four summers toting bags at Kingsbarns.
McAlpine is also a proven player on links courses. He is a Scottish Amateur champion who holds the amateur scoring record at the St. Andrews Old Course. He shot a 10-under-par 62 in a qualifying round for the Scottish Amateur Championship back in 2004.
“Kevin is like my best friend,” Thompson said. “He's always there to hear me out and hear me vent on the golf course, and we laugh so much on the golf course. I've never been so relaxed out there. He’s definitely been a good change. He knows my game very well. He's a player, too, so it's good to have him on the bag. I'm very grateful.”
McAlpine, who is the son of a former Dundee United goalkeeper, began working with Thompson in March, the month before her controversial loss at the ANA Inspiration, where she was hit with a four-shot penalty in the final round for improperly returning her ball to its mark in the third round.
“Kevin McAlpine is one of maybe a few more than a dozen guys who I like to refer to as major championship caddies,” said Golf Channel on-course reporter Jerry Foltz, who was covering the ANA when Thompson was hit with the penalty.
“He's very good. The way he handled her on the 13th tee at ANA on Sunday, I'll never forget it
as long as I live. He was able to be the exact person she needed at that time. He was able
to interfere with us trying to get the close-up emotional shots of her shedding tears and what have you.
“He was able to say just the right thing at the right time. Anybody can add numbers, anybody can point you in the right direction, but not everybody knows what to say at the right time. I think he does that as good as anybody.”
McAlpine is relishing his return this week.
“I have seen a lot of this course, believe me,” he told the Scotsman. “It was only two years ago that I stopped working here as I was trying to play myself then on the PGA EuroPro Tour. It’s surreal, really, to be back here now carrying Lexi’s bag in the British Open.”