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  • Alistair Tait

Edinburgh Jimmy’s like won't be seen again

Updated: Feb 23, 2020

Edinburgh Jimmy Rae never said anything nice to me, but I loved his company just the same.

“Hey Ali, I’ve seen better legs eating a chicken dinner than those pins you’ve got.”
“Hey Ali, do you know any good golf journalists? The ones I know are F***ing rubbish.”
“Hey Ali, how can you write aboot golf when you canny even break a hundred?”

And so it went the times I spent in Edinburgh Jimmy’s company. I never felt singled out. Edinburgh Jimmy was rude to everyone: even players he caddied for.

Edinburgh Jimmy Rae passed away 4 January 2020. He was 64. His funeral took place today in Tranent parish church, near Prestonpans, East Lothian.

His gruff manner was a front. He had a heart of gold, was faultlessly loyal, knew the game inside out, didn’t suffer fools gladly, is sadly missed and we probably won't see his like again.

He wasn’t a yes man. No way. He told it like it was. If he disagreed with his player on a club, he said so. If he thought his player needed to hear something others wouldn’t say, he said it.

I heard him tell Mark Roe off many times when they worked together. Roey needed it. This innately talented athlete had/has an over active brain that needed slowing down. Edinburgh Jimmy did that brilliantly.

Edinburgh Jimmy wasn’t slow in speaking his mind to Ian Poulter when he caddied for him at the start of Poult’s professional career either. Ian has a big, strong personality and isn’t a player many caddies would stand up to. Jimmy had no problem doing that.

That was Jimmy’s way. In age when so many are deferential to tour pros, Jimmy called it as he saw it. If that didn’t sit well with a player then that was fine with Jimmy. There were plenty of other bags out there, and Jimmy was always sure of work. And he worked for a lot of players: Paul McGinley, Roger Chapman, Peter Teravainen, Robert Lee and many others besides Roe and Poulter.

"I have lost not just my long-time caddie but a great friend too,” McGinley wrote on twitter. “He started to work for me in 1992 and never once did he ever turn up unshaven, not freshly clothed or in bad humour. Above all I witnessed the trait of eternal loyalty from him – always in your corner even if he would never admit it! He had a wisecrack for everybody and was an important part of our player/caddy dynamic inside the team room at the Ryder Cup in Gleneagles, as he kept the mood light and fun for all of us.”
Poulter tweeted: "You have to like your caddie, and I liked Jimmy. He was on the bag for my first three years on the European Tour and he is probably the most generous, kind-hearted person I have ever met. He'd give you his last ten pounds. That's why people love him."

Spot on both.

Oh, and Jimmy, I never took any of your insults seriously. I saw them as tokens of affection. I hope they continue one day when I join you up in that great clubhouse in the sky. RIP Edinburgh Jimmy.

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