Ryder Cup-winning captain Paul McGinley has led a chorus of tributes to legendary caddie “Edinburgh Jimmy” Rae, who has died suddenly. He was 66.
Rae, a well-kent face in European golf, ended his career with McGinley, having also worked for Europe’s Ryder Cup talisman, Ian Poulter, at one point.
“Very sad news to start the new year in that my longtime friend and caddy Edinburgh Jimmy passed away today – I’m so sad and will miss him terribly,” wrote McGinley in a post on Twitter.
McGinley told The Scotsman: “Jimmy started working with me in 1992 and overall for about 18 years.
“We won a few tournaments together but his role when I was Ryder Cup captain was important. Jimmy was the caddymaster and also the entertainment officer!
“He kept the mood light with the players and the caddies. They loved the craic with him and he loved the one liners.”
McGinley was shocked by the suddenness of Rae’s death.
“Jimmy was on medication for various ailments but I saw him on Christmas Eve and he was in good form,”
Also reacting on social media, Poulter described Rae as one of the European Tour’s “characters”.
The Englishman, who revealed that Rae called him “Heavy Head”, added: “What a gentle giant. His bark was louder than his bite. One of the kindest caddies I have ever met.”
Rae, who was from Tranent, was a member of McGinley’s backroom team during the 2014 Ryder Cup at Gleneagles and was on his bag for last year’s Senior Open at Royal Lytham.
“So sad to hear,” said Stephen Gallacher, who played on McGinley’s triumphant team in Perthshire and had known Rae for a long time before that. “I was with him in London mid-December.
Former Masters champion Trevor Immelman echoed Poulter’s comment about Rae being one of the “great characters” while fellow major winner Shaun Micheel also paid a warm tribute.
“I loved being around him even though I only understood about half of what he said,” said the American. “Made me want to spend more time with him.”
Edinburgh man Andrew Oldcorn, a three-time European Tour winner, said of Rae: “They broke the mould with Jimmy. Always had me in stitches.”
Former Scottish Seniors Open champion Paul Eales added: “What a part of the European Tour family he was. Will miss his banter and laugh.”
Other players to react with sadness to Rae’s passing included former Dunhill Links champion Oliver Wilson, as well as fellow European Tour winners Eddie Pepperell, Andrew Murray and Paul Dunne.
Tributes also flooded in from Rae’s caddying colleagues. “A true legend and a great caddie,” said Gullane-based Damian Moore, Stephen Gallacher’s former bagman. “Will miss him abusing
Julian “the Ferret” Philips said he had “great memories working with this legend at Gleneagles Ryder Cup”.
Vicky Drysdale, who caddies for her husband David on the European Tour, said she was “very upset to hear this sad news”.