Kevin McAlpine swaps LPGA for PGA Tour to work for Martin Laird
Kevin McAlpine, a former Scottish Amateur champion and the son of former Dundee United goalkeeper Hamish, became Laird’s full-time caddie at the start of this year.
Until now, McAlpine has worked predominantly on the LPGA Tour, where he tasted success with both Lexi Thompson and Amy Yang, but he has picked up Laird’s bag at a good time.
The 38-year-old returned to winning ways after a seven-year drought with his victory in the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in Las Vegas and has two WGCs and a Masters return coming up over the next few weeks.
“I did one week last season at the Sanderson Farms Championship to fill in as his caddie was about to become a dad,” said McAlpine, who landed his Scottish title triumph at Nairn in 2006 before adding the stroke-play crown at Royal Dornoch the following year.
“We finished in the top 30 and it was the following week when he won in Las Vegas. I couldn’t work for him there as the LPGA had a major that week, so he had a mutual friend on the bag.
“About a month later, though, I got a call asking if I wanted to work with Martin full-time and we started at the Tournament of Champions in Hawaii.
“I have watched him play enough to know his game and I guess, after four years on the LPGA, he decided to give me a shot.”
Laird and McAlpine go back a long way, having competed against each other in a Scottish Youths’ Championship at Crail before becoming team-mates at Colorado State University around 20 years ago.
“He helped me get my scholarship there and we played together for two years,” said McAlpine. “His game improved dramatically in that time, though he did lose the odd five bucks to me!
“He’s had some amazing wins since turning pro, including the latest one in Las Vegas, and is clearly a veteran after 12-13 years on the PGA Tour.
"I’m not going to tell him anything he doesn’t already know, but I feel like it’s a good partnership. Hopefully his good golf continues and I can bring something to add to that.
“The Masters will be exciting. I always refused to go watch as I always wanted to play my way to the event, so I guess caddying is as close as it gets. We are heading there for a practice day after The Players’ Championship next month.”
McAlpine, who started his caddying career at Old Collier in Florida, had a successful spell with Thompson before also helping Yang taste success during a two-year stint.
He is engaged to Anna Nordqvist, the Swede who has recorded eight LPGA wins and played in six Solheim Cups, but the Scots says that is unlikely to become an on-course partnership as well.
“I think Anna and I know it isn’t a great idea to have a working relationship,” said McAlpine. “Not that it wouldn’t work, more that our personal relationship is more important and takes priority. If she was stuck and I wasn’t working, I would be more than happy to ‘fill in’.”
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