Margot and Greg McMillan were anxious last September as they shopped for their first house. Not only were they rookie home buyers, they were also moving across the country, from the Seattle area to St. Augustine, Fla. They were thrilled when, in only two days, they found their dream house, a fixer-upper right on the Atlantic. Two months later Margot, 32, and Greg, 36, were still looking forward to their first night in the house. Such is life for the only married caddie couple on the Senior tour.
The McMillans, natives of South Africa, are in the midst of their fourth tour of duty on the Senior circuit. Greg enlisted in January 1996 when one of his friends, Rick Acton, became eligible for the tour and needed a caddie. The money came in handy. Greg had proposed to Margot over the Christmas holidays, and while most couples shop around until they find the right ring, Greg and Margot had gone store to store until they found a place that would approve their credit.
Although they grew up in the same suburb of Johannesburg, Greg and Margot didn't meet until 1994. He was taking the winter off from his job as a club pro in Puyallup, Wash., to play the South African tour, and she was on holiday in Cape Town, visiting from London, where she worked as an accountant. They were introduced by a friend. Four months later Margot joined Greg in Puyallup. "Every day I sat on the range and watched him teach," she says. "I was bored, but I learned a lot about golf."
When Greg began caddying for Acton, Margot thought she could do the job too, so she began hustling amateurs' bags during the pro-ams. "You should have seen her," Greg says, "a bag on each shoulder, giving yardage, raking traps, reading putts. The amateurs loved Margot." The pros were also impressed. One of them, Don Massengale, finally hired her in February 1997. The following year Margot went to work for Tom Shaw, who played 36 weeks in a row. Hugh Baiocchi, who hired Greg after he had split with Acton, entered 35 tournaments. Margot took off only one week that year, to attend her brother's wedding. Greg spent his few off-weeks caddying for other players, including countryman Gary Player at the Masters.
Typically Margot and Greg take one day off a week, Monday. What little free time they have is spent either playing golf or on other outdoor activities. Margot has been taking notes for the memoir she hopes to write and collecting their caddie badges, bibs and other keepsakes. At least once a week the McMillans treat themselves to a gourmet dinner.
Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays are practice and pro-am days. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays are tournament days, and each morning Greg walks the course and shares his yardages with Margot. During the round they wave to each other as they pass on the fairways and they keep an eye on the leader boards to see how the other's player is faring. The McMillans' golfers have been paired together four times, but Greg and Margot find being in the same group so nerve-racking that "we hardly even talk to each other," she says.
Their biggest inconvenience, Margot says, is not being able to go to church most Sundays. Mail is forwarded every other week, and they bank by phone. (Caddies typically earn a minimum of $500 a week, plus 5% to 7% of their player's earnings, or 10% for a win.) Margot logs their expenses in a tattered notebook. She figures it costs $60,000 a year for them to live on tour. The best weeks, by far, are spent in their 26-foot camper, which they hitch to their truck whenever the Senior tour stops less than 750 miles from the previous tournament.
Margot and Greg are already making plans to build their dream house on the site of their fixer-upper. Unrolling the architect's blueprints, she jots a note: "There's no walk-in closet." There is, however, plenty of room for the family they hope to start. And there, beside the pool, is the bar they plan to decorate with all the memorabilia they've collected during their big adventure on the Senior tour.