Seconds after tapping in for her one-shot victory in the AIG Women’s Open at Carnoustie on Sunday, Nordqvist was warmly embraced by McAlpine, her Scottish husband, on the 18th green.
The 2006 Scottish Amateur champion had been joined by his dad Hamish, a legendary Dundee United goalkeeper, and other family members and friends from Alyth, less than 30 miles away, in a band of fans following the 34-year-old in the final round.
Nordqvist admitted after Saturday’s third circuit that she’d enjoyed feeling the “local support” at the Angus venue and McAlpine echoed that view in assessing how she’d managed to come out on top in a thrilling last-day title battle in the final major of the season.
“It’s great,” he said of backing that wasn’t far behind that for Scottish duo Louise Duncan and Kelsey Macdonald over the weekend. “I don’t think people realise how much that helps. I don’t know how many people we had here, but she knows them all, too.
McAlpine, now a professional caddie who currently works for fellow Scot Martin Laird on the PGA Tour, “randomly met” Nordqvist around four years ago when he was working for Lexi Thompson on the LPGA circuit.
In the 2017 Solheim Cup in Des Moines, Nordqvist and Thompson played against each other in the last-day singles, creating a situation McAlpine didn’t enjoy as he found himself with a foot in both camps, so to speak.
“That was one of the worst days of my life, but this is one of the best,” he declared, smiling. “I’ll admit that I don’t like watching. I think it’s down to the fact I’ve played myself, not in that position admittedly, but it’s a similar feeling.
“It’s hard to win at any level, it really is, never mind at this level. But Anna showed her class towards the end, she really did. She played the last four holes really well all week and to make par on the last at Carnoustie to win was superb.”
It was Nordqvist’s third major victory but her first win full stop in just over four years, having battled glandular fever for a spell and admitting there were times she feared that successes like this one might never come around again.
“She deserves this,” said McAlpine, who was equally pleased for his friend and fellow Scot Paul Cormack, who caddies for Nordqvist, having headed across the Atlantic around the same time as McAlpine with dreams of a playing career before becoming a looper.
“She’s one of the nicest human beings I’ve met in my life. I've brought her out of her shell a little. She had been reserved, golf’s been her whole thing, and I know what that’s like.
“You can get caught up in that and it’s just golf, golf, golf, but there’s more to life than that. I think she realises that; I realised that a long time ago.”
Any chance that McAlpine might be on Nordqvist’s bag in a future AIG Women’s Open? “I’m not sure we’d stay married if I caddied for her,” he joked.