Lake Norman & Mooresville

Golf takes Huntersville’s Alistair McLean around the world

For Alistair McLean, Monday is always laundry day.

“Yep, I’m just packing up for the next event,” McLean said. “Getting the old dirty wash out, and the clean wash in. I’m off to the next stop in the morning.”

Such is the life of a professional caddie, a career that has taken McLean – a native of Scotland now living in Huntersville – to some of golf’s greatest courses: Augusta, St. Andrews, Pinehurst, Royal Troon and Pebble Beach.

The 58-year-old McLean, a pro caddie since 1992, has been “on the bag” for some of the world’s best golfers: England’s Lee Westwood and Simon Dyson, 2013 Masters champion Adam Scott of Australia, Sweden’s Robert Karlsson (who now lives in Charlotte) and Spain’s Alvaro Quiros, among others.

McLean is on his third stint as caddie for fellow Scotsman Colin Montgomerie, a 2013 World Golf Hall of Fame inductee, who is currently playing on the PGA’s Champions Tour for players 50 and older.

McLean’s been carrying Montgomerie’s clubs during his most successful periods on the pro tours: most of “Monty’s” 31 career European Tour victories (including all eight of his Orders of Merit, which goes to the tour’s top player) and all eight of his Ryder Cup appearances, where he’s undefeated in singles play.

“It’s like an old married couple, isn’t it?” McLean said, adding a laugh.

Since McLean’s return on the bag, Montgomerie has won two of the 50-and-over tour’s “majors” – the Senior PGA Championship and U.S. Senior Open – and currently is second in points behind Bernhard Langer heading into the season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship in Scottsdale, Ariz.

But how did a Scottish caddie like McLean wind up in Huntersville?

It started back in the early 2000s, when McLean began dating his wife, Suzanne, who was attending UNC Charlotte.

“She had an apartment in the area,” McLean said. “She loves Charlotte and the area. She just decided to stay, and never went home. … I was caddying for Robert Karlsson at the time. I had my green card and what not, and I was going back and forth between Europe and the United States.”

While living most of the time in Huntersville, within sight of Lake Norman, McLean also maintained a residence in Glasgow, Scotland, until last year. That coincided with his third run as Montgomerie’s caddie midway through the 2013 season.

“I had a fantastic flat, right in the center of Glasgow, but I never used it,” McLean said. “I’d be over there five weeks a year, six at most, so it was sitting empty. So we decided to sell it and put the money back into where we’re living now.

“We can’t afford to live on the lake, but we’re right across the road from it. It’s considerably cheaper, but we’ve got access to docks. We’ve got a couple of Jet Skis, so we can have a fantastic time on the lake.”

McLean, a longtime European soccer fan – the Raith Rovers of the Scottish Professional Football League are his current favorites – has also become taken with American football, catching the Carolina Panthers’ home games whenever his schedule permits.

“I’ve been to quite a few games,” McLean said. “It really is a good day out.”

Now, he’s trying to turn Montgomerie into a Panthers fan as well.

Montgomerie was sporting a Carolina Panthers head cover on one of his clubs during the Greater Hickory Kia Classic, held Oct. 13-19 on Rock Barn Golf and Spa’s Champions Course in Conover.

“I was around his house (before the tournament began) … and he gave it to me,” Montgomerie said. “We’ve been to a Houston Rockets playoff game, and a couple of baseball games last year – one of the (New York) Yankees’ games, and one of Houston (Astros) games – but I haven’t been to a football match yet. I guess I’ll have to go and see and game with him.”

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