ATLANTA, Georgia, August 9 – Steve Williams, the caddie fired last month by Tiger Woods after carrying his clubs in 13 major triumphs, has been roundly criticised for his remarks after caddying for Australian Adam Scott in his victory at the World Golf Championships Bridgestone Invitational.
Scott’s win on Sunday was one of the biggest triumphs of his career in one of his first events with 47-year-old New Zealander Williams as his caddie.
“That’s the best week of my life. I have been caddying for 33 years, 145 wins, and that’s the best win I’ve ever had,” said Williams, who also called it his “most satisfying win” and added “I sort of believe in destiny sometimes”.
The subtle digs at Woods, the former World No. 1 now ranked 30th who won 13 of his 14 major titles with Williams as caddie, brought swift rebuke on Twitter posts.
Paul Azinger, the 2008 US Ryder Cup captain, was stunned Williams would rebuke Woods as he did, posting, “Wow! Really? In yo face TW?”
“Steve Williams breaks the unwritten caddy rule, by talking to the press. Most don’t, a few do at times when appropriate,” Azinger posted later.
US tennis star Andy Roddick was stunned as well.
“Am I missing something? Was steve the one actually playing?” Roddick pondered in one posting, later noting, “the guy was just happy for his new employer! So happy for him that he almost mentioned his name”.
And Roddick was far from alone in feeling that Williams stole the spotlight from Scott.
“Steve surely doesn’t seem bitter at all,” tweeted US LPGA player Christina Kim. “Greatest week of my life. Good job congratulating Adam, who hit the shots, you knob.”
English golfer Oliver Wilson posted: “Cannot believe they have interviewed Steve Williams. Nice of him to take away from Scotty’s win. Says it all…”
Woods had said he fired Williams in person on July 3 at the PGA National event near Philadelphia, but Williams said the dismissal came in a telephone conversation after the caddie asked to work for Scott on a temporary basis while Woods was recovering from left leg injuries suffered at the Masters.
“He called me up when I asked him to go and caddie for Adam and he didn’t agree with it and thought it was time to take a break,” Williams said. “In caddie lingo, that means you’re fired.”
Williams was cheered by spectators as he walked up the 18th green alongside Scott, who cracked, “I had no idea how popular a New Zealander can be, coming from Australia. Surprising.”
But Scott also gave serious praise to Williams’ effort, saying, “Obviously he’s a popular guy around here having won now eight times. They appreciate him a lot and he’s a bit of a character. It was fun to get support, whether it’s for me or him, I don’t care. It’s the right team.”
Scott said he wants no part of bitterness between Woods and Williams, although many golf fans can hardly wait to see how tense the situation is when Woods and Scott are next paired together.
“That’s between those guys. I’m not involved in it at all and they know that,” Scott said. “I’m just out here to do my job. They’ll figure that out themselves. They’re both men.”
Williams said he and Scott were friends off the course and that has helped them blend well quickly.
“Just because you’re a good caddie doesn’t mean that you’re the one who can put a good player over the top,” Williams said. “You’ve got to gel. Adam was a friend of mine off the course, so I was fairly confident we’d get along pretty good. It’s obviously like a dream come true.”